It’s 4:30 in the morning and I can’t sleep. I’m way too excited!
Today I head to the Fort Worth Convention Center for Pink Impact.
I’ve been asked to stay home up until now to rest. Usually I would already be there helping to set up, train volunteers and prepare for the event. This year I’ve watched from social media, worked from my computer and just about drove my team crazy asking for photos and updates via text.
You could say I get pretty jazzed about this gathering.
Pink Impact (the annual women’s conference of Gateway Church) has been a big part of my life for 10 years.
I remember attending my very first Pink Impact in 2006…
I was brand new to the DFW area and had just begun to attend Gateway Church. I attended the conference as a helper to one of the conference speakers, Devi Titus. I remember meeting Christine Caine (who had a brand new baby at the time). I remember Debbie Morris teaching on mirrors. I remember a beautiful pale pink and brown decor and I remember a giant, beautiful, sparkling chandelier hanging from the stage.
I guess I was caught up in the vision of the conference because by 2007 I was working as an intern on the Pink team (which wasn’t yet called the Pink team) and helping behind the scenes at the conference. I was learning the ropes for sure. Pink Impact was the vehicle God used to introduce me to so many amazing women.
By 2008 I was working as an event coordinator. This was a life changing year for me as Pastor Debbie Morris stepped back into her leadership role as the Pastor of Women. She was and is such a huge influence in my life. I remember this was our first year to sell out at 1700 seats.
By 2009 we were selling out of our main location and opening a second venue at North Richland Hills. I remember speakers, guests and worship teams (and my partner in crime – Elisa Haake) running between venues and I remember the strange sensation of our team being split up. Little did I know this would be our pattern for years to come.
By 2010 I was working full-time as an associate pastor and we were hosting back to back conferences to accommodate the growing number of ladies. We hosted 3,400 ladies that year and it was my first time to speak at a conference. (I preached practically bald – I was in recovery and my hair was slowly returning.)
In 2011 we made the big leap to our new building at Southlake and I remember looking over the entire auditorium, caught up in the beauty of worshiping with 4,000 ladies in one location.
In 2012 we continued our gathering at Southlake and added the Frisco campus as a video experience to help make room for more ladies. This was also the year we began simulcasting the conference, reaching out to many churches across the nation to share the experience.
In 2013 we were hosting two full conferences at the Southlake campus while still simulcasting to outside churches, stretching our capacity to 8,000 ladies.
In 2014 we hosted back to back weekends at the Southlake campus and returned once again to Frisco to increase our capacity.
In 2015 we hosted back to back conferences at our main campus and added two additional live locations at Frisco and North Fort Worth. We stretched our teams, venues and ladies to the limits by providing an “all live at all locations” experience. We hosted 9,500 ladies through four gatherings at three locations over two weekends.
And in just a few days, Pink Impact 2016 will begin.
Almost 10,000 women from across all six Gateway campuses and from all over the United States will gather at one location and at one time. We’ll be joined by approximately another 10,000 ladies via simulcast through over 90 host churches.
And when it is all said and done, I will be changed.
I had no idea all those years ago that this conference would become so woven into my own life story, but I am so grateful it has. Pink Impact is the vehicle God has used to consistently bless my life. Year after year it has set me up to experience His presence and love in an intimate and personal manner. It’s caused me to put down deep roots in the local church and to open my heart to many, many friendships. I’ve sat under the teaching of the world’s best and I’ve gotten to invest my life in creating a safe and beautiful place for us to gather.
This year – more than ever before – I’ve had to fight to get to this gathering. Sickness and struggle have tried to hold me back and keep me from fully investing. I’ve missed a lot of days at work, planning meetings and my normal opportunities to direct the conference and as a result I’ve had less influence over its direction than ever before. Others have carried the weight and as a result I’ve seen leadership gifts and capacity grow and multiply across every avenue of our gathering.
We have new a new location, new ministry partners, a new conference structure, a different approach to execution and planning, a greater base of volunteers, a broader support from the church and I believe with all my heart a greater reach and influence for the purpose of making God famous.
That’s why I can’t sleep.
I simply can’t wait to experience this gathering with my friends and family.
I’ll walk the venue with the most important woman in attendance, my daughter Ashley.
I’ll sit right next to my faithful ministry partner, Hannah Etsebeth and I’ll watch her do her amazing thing. (I can’t believe she’s birthed two beautiful sons in the midst of all this work.)
I’ll lean toward my pastor and friend Debbie Morris and share a laugh or two.
I’ll turn around and take in a giant venue filled with the beautiful faces of women I’ve been praying for…
and I will be changed again.