Epic Love: Shine Conference 2011

The Top 10 Things That I Loved About Shine

(of the MANY things that I loved… how did I EVER narrow it down, right?)

The Free Life Chapel staff ladies are seriously the most taken care of women that I know of right now – and NOT ONLY because we got to take a road trip to Jacksonville for the Shine conference at Celebration church.

BUT, we did get just get to take a road trip to Jacksonville for the Shine conference at Celebration church.

Pastor Kerri Weems and her fabulous team hosted an A-MA-ZING week of guests, speakers, creativity and attention to detail

(there was definitely a creative team who were meeting many times to pull this week off).

There were many times where we were so taken back, and in the mists of soaking in all of the excitement, would look at each other and say, “ok, see how they pulled that off.. we so need to remember that.. they were flawless there.. we are pretty good at that part..”

and were absolutely inspired and encouraged about everything that we learned, as well as everything that is taking place and developing at Free Life Chapel and in our own personal lives as women.

For my own sanity I had to gain some sort of focus and vision (..or else his people perish..just saying.:) )
for this post because mymind was all over the place with

all of my opinions and loves.

Thus, I have come up with my top 10 list – DEFINITELY not in order of importance because O, man… – of fabulous things from my time at Shine 2011.

1. THEME: Epic Love – The idea alone of this emense love that overtakes our world and identifies us as the main character in a love story that is greater than ourselves. It’s a thought that  overwhelms my heart and excites everything about my future! Whenever we walked through the enterence I immediately loved the energy that the Celebration team engulfed us in, walking in on the carpet, past the calm of the fairies and into the charged atmosphere of volunteers and women who have labored in work and prayer over the execution of these next few days. I felt immediately special and warm and welcomed and I turned to my pastor (Cindy Thomas, for those of you who don’t know her.. she’s kind of a big deal, check out my “My People” page to meet her) and said, “Ok, wow! We have to cheer like this at our ladies event, because I am feeling so fabulous right now!” I was so serious. Like I needed to flip my hair or something or wave. The energy was initially set for the entire weekend by this line of women who engaged every woman who entered.

The entire essence of the fairytale garden was perfectly captured without crossing into cheesy. Which is very easy to do.

2. MEN GOING CRAZY WHEN GIRLS GET MAD: There is nothing more courageous than the heroic men who stepped up to the plate to serve the 2000 women of Shine 2011. I have not been amongst that much estrogen in maybe all my life. Not only did these men add a charming and playful atmosphere to the golf carts and greeters and security, they also took on the challenge of soothing about 1500 of those women who sat outside in a line that wrapped around the building for hours in order to declare their favorite spot (no seriously, I’ve never seen anything like it. People would skip lunch to post up out front until the doors opened). And whenever the seats quickly filled up and majority of those 1500 didn’t get what they were after, those men, with smiles on their faces, and probably a bit of fear in their tender little hearts, were working hard to promote all the back row action – and smile along the way.

I’m telling you, ladies in conference mode can be fierce and spicy!

And a little scary.

Don’t mess with their saved seats.

3. SPEAKERS – I was so in awe of the speakers that Pastor Kerri truly outdid herself with by having them in for Shine (including herself). I have never heard any of them speak and I was so captured by what I got out of each. I connected withPastor Kerri’s “writer’s voice” as I call it. You know where someone can speak with so much passion and description, but you know that they are saying it exactly how they would write it. Like she is reading it all off the pages of her heart, bringing the emotions of a truly epic love story that we have with Christ and painting it into a vibrant and living masterpiece. Well… Pastor Kerri had that. A great “writer’s voice”.

Lisa Bevere – Lisa Bevere. O my. What to say about Lisa Bevere. Go find her on iTunes and download EVERYTHING she has. Brilliant. Not to mention, this woman really could be a stand up comedian. She had our entire group crying laughing within the first 20 minutes and Pastor Cindy repeatedly telling us, “Didn’t I tell you that I love her? I told you she is awesome, right?” I kept trying to tell the story after the conference, uncontrolably laughing just trying to repeat it, like “O my goodness, she was shaking her iPhone 4… O, it was funny… Steve Job’s wife?… O, geez… They didn’t know who she was… O, gosh I’m crying… But she was like, ‘That is not an option for me.’” (Those of you who were are Shine and are reading this are laughing right now, aren’t you? And you’re hearing it in Lisa’s voice.)

The amazing part, however, is that while I was laughing she was confronting the greatest struggles that I have directly encountered in my young life. While continually attempting to overcome the controlling part of my personality and lack of vulnerability (and discovering where that comes from), Lisa had a way of speaking to who I will be and not to who I am. Not to my fear but to my promise, and allowed me to identify with that place of adventure that burns inside of my heart while still appreciating the men in my life and who they are or are not in my story.

4. A21 – I was so drawn to the initiatives that Shine 2011 took on. A21 was moving and raw and encouraging and there was so much information. People are so eager to help and provide, if they just know how. I loved that instead of creating a buzz for their gain, Shine created awareness and fool proof opportunity for those who want to but just “don’t know how”.

5. HUGE DRESS – Ok, seriously. Can we talk about the huge dress for a minute? So the opener hits at 7PM the first night and there is a choir of little fairies with a huge fairytale tower on the right side and a huge panoramic screen above the choir. While the girls are singing the scene has a video of a woman singing a song and a drumline of about 6 guys pounding together an intense rythym.

Alllll of the sudden, the tower  spins around and inside of it is the woman from the video on the screen in a dress that is like 85 feet tall (Ok, so you know how I am with exaggerations, but wow, it was like the tallest dress I’ve ever seen, no joke. True story.) Every woman in that room (again, that number may be off slightly) wanted to be standing in that dress.

Or maybe just me. Whichever.

Either way check it out in that video above.

6. WORSHIP – I loved that they switched the worship teams up and that each singer was a worship leader. There were no back up leaders, or head leaders. It was just a stage full of worship, all consumed, and all amped. Not to mention Kari Jobe. But ok, let’s mention Kari Jobe. I am still at a loss for words for and completely obsessed with “You are For Me” and listen to it at least 10 times a day (no exageration there, so legit.)

7. DETAIL – Something that I really enjoy in all arenas of life is attention to detail. I am an administrative  intern at Free Life Chapel and I am also on our creative team so I am stuck between the two worlds of creativity and details.

It’s like cretails.

Or detivity.

But in noticing all the little tiny creative details I was so much more grateful that the team at Celebration church took the time (small shout out to the team at Celebration) to change the decor of the bathroom, down to the light fixtures and the wall hangings, all the way to the graphics and elegance. They pulled off the tiny details of logos, down to the glitteries – and with class all the way, didn’t go cheesy at all. Which would have been so easy to go disney cartoon or the other extreme to spooky-ness and make believe.

8. SERVANTHOOD – I have to share about one worship leader, Lindsey I think her name was, who sang on the first night. Lindsey has an amazing voice and a pure heart for worship, which is easily portrayed in her singing. The second morning whenever we arrived to the Starbucks in Celebration’s Annex building, Lindsey was a barista behind the counter making our coffee before service started. I love her heart for serving, which is so imperative within the heartbeat of Free Life Chapel. We love to serve, in any and every capacity. No matter who I am on Sunday (I never know what my job will be) or any other day, doing whatever it takes to grow the kingdom of Christ, and I was so impressed by Lindsey who’s humble heart was so apparent and who was serving her purpose just by living her life with God in front of others. Kudos to you, Lindsey. (Countless others I’m sure, but Lindsey is just the one I happen to have a conversation with. Georgie too – the video announcements girl – who showed me to the restroom a million times. Thank you, Georgie.)

9. SHINE BOUTIQUE – I loved just walking through the Shine Boutique, just to walk through it (reference number 7), because of how detailed the decor was to the Epic Love theme. I was obsessed with learning how to make the huge flowers on the wall and in love with the diamonds and glitter and festives everywhere. There was not one spot that did not shine (no pun intended. Ok, maybe a slight pun intended, but for real, it was super fabulous in there.)

10. THE AFTER PARTY – The after party was a blast (even for a white girl) and I loved that there were dancers there to purely engage the crowd. I also loved about the dancers, that their make-up and hair was almost theatrical in order to stand out and ease the crowd. It was the perfect way to end such a great few days together.

The greatest part of all – ABOVE ANY TOP 10 LIST – was being able to enjoy time with the other women that I work with everyday, enjoying hilarious dinners together, and even more hilarious conversations (that we will never repeat) and the most random moments that only happen when 6 women are away from their husbands for longer than 24 hours.

I have officially returned home as the shiny lead role of the epic love story, called my life.

“If you are going to be a hero, you are going to have to let God have your words.” – Lisa Bevere, Shine 2011.

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2 thoughts on “Epic Love: Shine Conference 2011

  1. I am one of those behind the scene guys from Celebration Church. I just wanted to say that it was awesome to get to serve all of the amazing ladies (my wife being one) that came to Shine this year! We hope you guys will come back next year as well! Blessings, Kelly

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