Our campus IF: College hosted a group of 25 last Saturday. We watched the majority of sessions 1-3 as a group of women college aged-60s. As the organizer of our IF:Local gathering and one of the few women who knew what the day would look like I battled staying engaged and making sure everyone else was comfortable. Still, I took away pages of notes that have me thinking about ministry and my view of God a week later with no end in sight.
I’ve watched all three IF: Gatherings and loved them all, but I wasn’t sure how others would receive the day. Still, I knew that my role was simply to create a space for others to sit and listen.
Each session included a time where small group discussion occurred. The tables were a mix of college students and women from the community and as the first session’s questions were asked and answered a beautiful thing happened. Strangers became friends. By the time lunch and the second session’s conversation cards began the tables were so deeply engaged with each other we ended up starting the next video segment before people were done. (They could have chatted all night!)
As speakers including Jo Saxton, Jennie Allen, Bianca Olthoff, Lauren Chandler, Eugene Cho, Jen Hatmaker, and others spoke the women were all struck differently. Reviewing Facebook posts later I found many of the same quotes I’d written down had struck our students as well. Additionally, they highlighted words I had missed when the details of the day took my focus.
At the end of our time together I the responses from our group were united. Each woman walked away feeling refreshed, inspired, and encouraged. Driving home near dinner time, the words of the day rolling through my mind I was surprised to see a rainbow in the sky. February in the mountains is usually gray, but on February 6th is was blue with a wide rainbow in full view. The icing on the cake of a beautiful day.
Leading up to this event I was certain I wouldn’t ever host another IF: Gathering. The anticipation was overwhelming. After hearing the women ask about next year as they left for the day I couldn’t help but admit every bit of energy was worth the chance to see such joy on the faces of our group. I’m thankful I won’t have to think about it for awhile. Next year’s IF: Gathering is set for February 3-4. For now, I’ll focus on the questions presented this year and work to apply this new knowledge to my personal faith and relationship with Jesus.