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The Influence Blog

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    My first year attending the Influence Conference in 2012 was, as cliché as it sounds, an experience of a lifetime. I flew to Indiana to spend the weekend with over 200 strangers – sounds crazy, I know. But, when you know the Lord’s in it, you just do it. I knew a handful of these women from blogs and Twitter, had been fortunate enough to email and Google Chat with a few prior to the conference, but truly, knew very few of these women before we met face-to-face at InfluenceConf 2012. It was a brave, nerve-wracking move for me, as an introvert, to step outside my comfort zone and spend the weekend with these women. A brave move I’m forever grateful for. That weekend, over 200 strangers formed a community that has been called to use the internet for good, to stand behind each other, to connect and grow with one another, and learn how to use our mediums, online and offline, to spread the Gospel.

    With the launch of The Influence Network after the first conference, a community of gospel-centered women has quickly grown and blossomed into something the Lord has used for so much good. Bloggers, entrepreneurs, song-writers, mothers, church-planters, military-wives, photographers, writers, business owners, and students have all come together for one purpose – to make much of Jesus with their voice, with their hands, and with the platform the Lord has given them. We’re grateful to now have the resources to engage outside of our annual conference in order to connect, collaborate, learn and grow together. This community has created a space for new relationships to form and flourish, friendships to strengthen, and prayers and advice offered to turn an idea into a reality. The Influence Network is essentially the conference-year-round, minus the hotel roommates.

    If you’re coming to the Influence Conference, plan ahead and find your people. They are out there. Whether it’s through the InfluenceNet forums, community groups, connecting beforehand at a local InfluenceNet meet-up, or even bringing a group of your “offline friends” – we’ve created resources for all of you to connect with other women just like you NOW. Seek out the women you feel called to meet. The women with similar interests, similar stories, or the women you’d love to learn from. Don’t wait until the conference to introduce yourself. We want you entering Thursday night’s Mocha Club party knowing that there are a handful of women waiting to embrace you with the warmest hug (or firm handshake, if you’re not a hugger, like me) and are super excited to finally experience the conference with you. The time to connect is now and the Influence Conference is the time to celebrate the Gospel. And we’d love to celebrate with you.

    Please join the Influence Conference Community Leaders today as they share their stories of finding community at the Influence Conference in years past. You can share your own story on your blog and link up here or share your story on your Instagram or Facebook (adding the #influenceconf hashtag at the end). We are excited to connect and encourage other women, through our stories, to step out in faith and join us this September at the Influence Conference!

    We’re working on getting the linkup posted here, so for now, linkup through a community leader‘s blog post. We’re excited to read your stories!


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    Ashley here. Y’all honestly, this year we have some amazing community leaders. They have just the biggest heart for all of you and the conference this year. Over the last few months they have been brainstorming an idea to share their hearts and facilitate community within the network. I’d love to let them tell you in their own words. 


    The Beauty of Community {AKA, Why We Need YOU at the Influence Conference}

    Jess Wolstenholm here. I love telling other women how one September day back in 2012 I put my big girl pants on and finally went to a faith-based blogging conference. I’d seen several promoted online but I was always afraid to go.

    Would they like me? Am I “big” enough? What if they don’t think I’m cool? What if I wear the wrong thing?

    These thoughts plagued my mind. But I kept sensing a leading to go and for some reason, I felt deep in my heart that this one would be different.

    And it was different. Turns out it wasn’t a blogging conference at all. Sure, they talked about blogging and I networked with other bloggers but more so, they spoke of influence and purpose, faith and creativity. I was surrounded by hundreds of amazing women who were beautifully creative; all expressing their gift in different mediums.

    I left that weekend with a renewed sense of Christian community. I thought online connection was fabricated and forced. . .safe and secure with a screen to hide our flaws. But what I experienced at the very first Influence Conference that year was as real as it gets. It was beautiful.

    We all need community. Whether we write or paint or make clothes or craft jewelry or work a 9-5 or take care of our children during our waking hours, we need each other. We need each other’s stories and perspectives. We need each other’s creativity to inspire our own. We need each other’s faith to draw us deeper, together.

    There is so much beauty when we link arms across states and continents and callings and join together to make much of Him. Our deep need for like-minded sisters is a beautiful example of how God created us and what he wants for us.

    Our need is as beautiful as the community that awaits us.

    Community is the great reward of those who are brave enough to admit their need, who find the vulnerability to be real with others and the courage to go and join. And it’s the reward of others who will benefit from having known us. We benefit from knowing one another.

    We need YOU at the Influence Conference. We need your story, your perspective, your inspiration and your journey of faith. We need to learn from you and your beautiful uniqueness. Our weekend will not be the same if you aren’t there. If you feel a prompting in your heart to go but you are scared or unsure. . .take it from a girl who finally found the courage to put herself out there with other women who were waiting with open arms to accept me and love on me. . .it will be totally worth it.

    Please join the Influence Conference Community Leaders on Tuesday, July 29 as they share their stories of finding community at the Influence Conference. These women are so excited to meet you and their stories are probably a lot different than you might think. They’ve all been scared and nervous and vulnerable and they’ve all found beautiful community. On Tuesday, July 29, share your story of community on your blog and come back to link up here. And if you don’t have a blog, we want you to come back, read, and be encouraged.

    Read more stories about The Beauty of Community and link up your own this week. Please join the Influence Conference Community Leaders on Tuesday, July 29 as they share their stories of finding community at the Influence Conference. These women are so excited to meet you and their stories are probably a lot different than you might think. They’ve all been scared and nervous and vulnerable and they’ve all found beautiful community. On Tuesday, July 29, share your story of community on your blog and come back to link up here. And if you don’t have a blog, we want you to come back, read, and be encouraged. 

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    A few weeks ago we felt a stirring. 

    We’d had a twisty few days amongst the network and conference leadership and we had thumping hearts and questions in our mind about where we were headed. Do you have twisty days? Days where you sure hope you’re headed in the right direction, but you’re not 100% positive. We’ve learned to listen to the Lord on those days and lean into the suspicion that something might not be quite right. Our team committed to pray for 48 hours and then we’d have our weekly conference meeting and see what He might be up to.

    The main problem we kept coming up against was this: Do women think that they have to be bloggers or super well known bloggers to have an impact in this life? Have we helped promote that massive misunderstanding? Since the inception of Influence we have whole heartedly believed that YOU have influence right where you are – and we want to equip you right there. But sometimes that is an easier message to nod your head to and a harder one to swallow whole when comparing your personal ministry to someone else’s. But we needed to find a way to shout a little louder to everyone – You don’t have to have a blog, You don’t have to be famous online, You don’t have to be an author or a speaker on the Christian circuit – you have to walk in the life God has given you, sharing the message of the Good News RIGHT THERE.

    We need a revival. We need to be able to refresh women in the message.

    We’ve added a completely new portion to The Influence Conference schedule based on this prompting from the Lord. Friday afternoon we’ll now be having a handful of Message Revivals and you get to pick which one you’d most like to go to. These will be quick gatherings to reignite your heart for the place the message of the Good News goes forth the most in your life. We’ll spend time praying together in groups and doing some equipping and empowering as we gather together. If your home is your main #1 place of ministry, if you’re in full time ministry, if you work full time, if you’re learning to use your words, if the idea of social justice keeps you up at night, if you love sharing Gospel-centered images on instagram, or even if you just need some revival in the way you do community – we want to meet you right where you are.

    Come back on Wednesday for more information about our Message Revival groups, including topics + leaders. And grab your Influence Conference ticket before they’re sold out.

    We’re ready for revival of this community and this generation.
    We’d love to have you there with us.