Named & Known: Can We Hear Your Voice?

Mar 1, 2019

There’s a line in Hamilton: The Musical that says, “Look around, look around, how lucky we are to be alive right now!” Is it luck? Absolutely not, but it is definitely an interesting time to be alive. And for women in church planting leadership, there seems to be some especially God-ordained opportunities. Our identity as women and what we will be known for is in prominent focus.

I had been on staff with Stadia for less than a month when Debbie Jones, Senior Director of Bloom with Stadia, asked me to organize and edit Bloom’s fifth book project. I had barely received a Stadia email address when she made her initial ask. This book, titled Named + Known, launches at Exponential East—March 4-7, 2019. It highlights the voices of women who are launching churches this year, who are pastoring and leading in church plants throughout the US, and who are seasoned veterans who planted churches over a decade ago. These voices matter.

We are seeing women in the church being given a louder voice and more opportunities for leadership advancement now more than ever before. Previously-held ideas about what a woman in ministry looks like are being shattered.

Consequently, we need to hear these stories of identity development. What does it look like to be a woman in church planting in 2019? What experiences do these women have? What do they have in common? How are they unique?

As our team initially planned this project, four themes began to emerge as we brainstormed how we could organize and prompt our gifted writers.

  • There are stories of UNKNOWN IDENTITY, where women share stories of learning new things about themselves in deeply formative seasons of their Lives.
  • There are stories of MISTAKEN IDENTITY, where women share stories of comparison, correction, and even crisis.
  • There are stories of UNEXPECTED IDENTITY, where women share surprises along their journeys and the impact of these unexpected experiences.
  • There are stories of SECURE IDENTITY, where women share stories of learning and freedom as it relates to who they uniquely are.

I frequently say that church planting is the adventure of my life up to this point. I also say that my job as Associate Director of Bloom is my dream job. The opportunity to help women maximize their roles in church planting is an absolute gift. Yet the opportunity to write a book to highlight these amazing women initially petrified me.

There’s something to be said about going scared. Even the phrase “going scared” is incredibly popular right now in the self-help and spiritual development genre. Yet when do we need to stop going scared and just go? Is this even possible?

I’m trying to go less scared. And I want to bring other women along with me.

In the process of getting each piece of writing edited, I frequently had the same conversation with each woman who was turning her first drafts. She would ask: Is it good enough? Is this story valuable? Will it even work for this book?

My answer was always yes! These women are going scared too—and what they have given as they have shared pieces of their lives is beautiful.

As we prepare for the release of this book, I encourage you to be praying for this project. There are also two ways to be on the lookout for more information about Named+Known:

1.    If you haven’t done so already—JOIN BLOOM! You will receive a monthly newsletter that will keep you up to date on the book release as well as everything else that Bloom has to offer! We will be talking about identity throughout this year through our Learning Communities, Intensives, Podcast, and Retreat!

2.    Be thinking of and praying for a woman in your life who could use some encouragement or even just a nudge to explore her own identity and voice. When Named+Known releases on Amazon at the beginning of March, consider purchasing this book to help her maximize her role in starting churches!

Just as we need more and better churches that intentionally care for children, we need more women who fearlessly pursue God’s mission for them. In the marketplace, in the church, at home, and in our communities. It all matters.