2013 WORKSHOP DESCRIPTIONS & SPEAKER/LEADERSHIP BIOS
“Followship”: The Art of Being a Good Follower – Dora Pearch
We are natural born followers and follow many things; our dreams, our goals, twitter, facebook, current events, politics, fashions, trends, maybe even Jesus. Sometimes we follow the wrong things or people with a tenacity that defies imagination, or we become very fickle on who or what we follow, changing our direction like the wind. Followers tend to fall into two categories, those who lack discernment and those who lack faithfulness. We need to have both, discernment and faithfulness, to be a good follower. Who or what should I follow? Why? When should I stop following something or someone? How do I know? How do I stay faithful to what I know I should be following. We will be going through some basic principles on how to discern what and who to follow as well as how to cultivate faithfulness in your following.
Renewing Your Mind in a Mindless World – Alane Kovach
Is our way of life a religious extension of our mindless Christianity? Renewing our minds with the truths of God is to be used to lead us to a higher worship, greater faith, deeper holiness, better service, and more intimate relationship with our Savior. Both the setting of the mind to understand and self humbling before God are tokens of a mans hunger for divine truth. Prov 2:1. In this workshop we will examine the vibrant truths of our Lord and the testing of that faith which will lead us to fix our minds on the things above in our daily walk.
Intimacy Ignited – Celebrating Passionate Oneness – Janis Shank
Wives have the privilege of cultivating true intimacy with their husbands and celebrating passionate oneness as a part of God’s design for marriage. That sounds all well and good until the demands of children start adding up, the aging process changes things, and the various trials of life leave us weary. What happened to that passionate flame? In His goodness of God speaks through His Word to all areas of life including love and romance and encourages wives to intoxicate their husbands with love! (Proverbs 5:19) Come and let the Bible ignite fresh love for your husband in the midst of everyday life!
The Discipleship & Mentoring Mandate – True Equipping for a Gospel-Transformed Heart- Chris Evans
The equipping of the saints is no small matter. It is a mandate. And on the Evangelical landscape, many “systems” of discipleship exist. Our desire to follow, grow and be mature can often lead us to formulas, which can dangerously move us away from the simplicity of the gospel message. In this workshop you will see how the gospel is able to transform us through equipping believers to guard their hearts with the Word of God and to seek Him whole heartedly.
If you desire to help lead another believer through spiritual discipline or want to learn yourself how to grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord, this workshop is for you.
We are HIS workmanship, created for good works in Christ. Eph 2:10
Wide My World, Narrow My Bed – Finding Purpose & Usefulness in Singleness – Elizabeth McMenamy (Student/Single)
Drawing from jobs, relationship status, emotions and culture, our identity seems to change rapidly. Join me as we discuss where our identity is firmly rooted outside of boyfriends, trends, fashions and Facebook updates. Discover the identity secured for you outside of cultural cliches and social timelines. That is an identity rooted in the cross and cultivated by Christ.
Give Them Grace – Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus – Jessica Thompson
In this workshop Jessica will explore what makes Christian parenting Christian. She will discuss the difference between moralistic rule keeping and gospel centered parenting. She will also give practical every day examples on who to make sure that in your parenting you “determine to know nothing but Christ and His crucified.”
“The Gospel According to Esther: More than a Pretty Face” – Eylse Fitzpatrick
How should Christian women think about Esther’s story? Is she a woman we should emulate? Is Esther, after all, the point of the book of Esther? Rather than being a morality-play about Esther and her beauty, Esther is a beautiful exposition of the gospel and how a Sovereign God works through the lives of imperfect women and men–all for the glory of the gospel.
Shame and the Healing Power of the Gospel – Janet Gustafson
“Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.” PS 34:5, NIV
Scripture declares that those who look to Christ are never covered with shame. If that is so, then why do so many of us still experience true debilitating shame? What does that say about us? Is there something wrong with us, with our identity in Christ? Do other Christians know a special secret that we are missing? Is there a path to freedom, freedom from labels, freedom from feelings of failure, freedom from insecurity and doubt?
Yes, shame still controls far too many of us. What are your personal names for shame? Worthless, inferior, rejected, weak, humiliated, failure … it all adds up to wishing that you could get away from others and hide. The Bible understands your shame. The Bible is about shame from start to finish. God’s Word shines light into your isolation and the gospel can set you free from the prison of shame. In Christ Jesus we are covered, adopted, cleansed, and eternally healed. Please join us as we look to the healing power of Christ to find a lasting freedom from the shackles of shame.
Spiritual Disciplines for the Overwhelmed: Cultivating a Deep Devotional Life in the Midst of Life’s Chaos – Sue Southern
Overwhelmed?! Deluged with challenging responsibilities, relationships, changes, or loss? In the midst of life’s chaos we readily ask: “Who will help us through this?” Spiritual disciplines are not rules to be followed so that Jesus will instantly restore our immersed souls. Rather they are practices that help make space in our engulfed lives for God to become very real to us. Come and rest with us in the goodness and simplicity of cultivating a life of ongoing devotion to the Prince of Peace.
Kissing Frogs in Search of a Prince – What Makes a Godly Man – April Van Dyke (Student/Single)
How will you know when you have found the man of your dreams? Does Prince Charming really exist, or has literature lied to us all of these years? What does the Bible have to say about romance and dating? Let’s explore together the truths of Scripture and lies of society in our search for the man of our dreams. Perhaps we truly will be able to find that Prince among frogs!
Effective Bible Teaching- Bringing Meaning & Method to Studying Scripture – Annie Kingry
…..since all scripture is God-breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness…then God means for us to study His Word for His truths and for application in daily life. No time spent in God’s word is ever wasted….how many of your time choices can that be said of… Learn how to study and engage with God’s Word, first for your own transformed mind and heart, then to make an eternal difference in the lives of others.
Doing a 180 – How Radical Repentance Brings Radical Joy – Linda Huffman
Would you describe yourself as joyful? Do you often feel heavy-hearted, irritable, have strained relationships? Has a bad habit become a besetting sin? Does worship often feel stagnant for you? Are your eyes dry? The answers to these questions may reveal a heart that has forgotten the importance of genuine repentance. Repentance isn’t something that simply occurs when we come to a saving knowledge of faith in Christ. It is a commandment & one we must cling to if we want to follow our Savior with whole-hearted devotion.
In this workshop we will examine how God’s almighty grace opens the door to repentance, and how He loves a contrite & broken heart! (Rev. 3; Ps 32). We will also look at the counterfeit of repentance — penance, which is man centered and leads to guilt, self-pity, and “sin management”. Because God loves fellowship with us, He will faithfully and in kindness bring us to a place of brokenness and repentance (Rom 2). He wants us to agree with Him and radically turn from sin so that inwardly and outwardly, we are filled with radical joy!!
“Come let us reason together…though your sins were as scarlet, they will be as white as snow;” Isaiah 1:18
Where Does a Mother Go to Resign? – Watering the Soul of a Withered Mom – Lori Porter
As we focus on Jesus, we hear His living words of patience, comfort, hope, and peace – “come to Me you who are weary; come to Me with your heavy burdens and I will give you rest”.
We will take a panoramic view of the amazing promise stated in various ways throughout God’s Word to grasp the sure hope that is ours when our feelings are shouting: “I can’t” or “I won’t”! We will begin to understand the heart of our God to make our own heart a well-watered garden.
What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger – Straight Talk on Trial & Suffering – Gina Sharpe
We all suffer. And sometimes the pain seems unbearable and pointless. Many attempts have been made to answer the “why” of human suffering. C. S. Lewis, in the introduction to his book, The Problem of Pain, issues a sort of disclaimer about treatises that propose to give all the answers to questions of human suffering. He says, “When pain is to be borne, a little courage helps more than much knowledge, a little human sympathy more than much courage, and the least tincture of the love of God more than all.” In this class, we will examine Scripture and discuss the courage to be found in the character of God and His purposes in suffering, the comfort and sympathy God provides and we can provide for each other and thehope we can experience as we rest in His love.
The Power of Words – Gaining Respect for the Weapon We Wield – Sandy Bacon
God has gifted human beings with a unique and extremely valuable tool through words as a means of communication. We want to learn to be intentional, and also have some fun, with this rare implement He has placed at our command. This will be an interactive workshop where we hope to gain a deeper appreciation for all He has entrusted to us in the power of words.
Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild – Sheri Finlayson & Kristen McLaren (Student/Single)
You don’t have to look far to see that girls have gone wild! The Wild Thing could be your neighbor or friend — she may even be you! With wisdom from Proverbs and Mary Kassian’s award-winning book as a foundation, this class will challenge and encourage girls of all ages regarding God’s design for each of us as we strive to be wise women in a wild world.
Sandy Bacon – Workshop Speaker
Sandy Bacon has utilized her biblical counseling degree as a guidance counselor in discipling women, and in counseling through the church. She is presently continuing coursework through CCEF as she invests in people through ministry with her husband of 23 years. They have a daughter (senior) and son (freshman) who both attend ASU.
Chris Evans –Leadership Team/Workshop Speaker
Chris has been married to her husband Ken for 32 years. They have three grown children. Their family has grown this year. Her daughter was married in June and her son and daughter-in-law are expecting their first granddaughter in early March! Chris was saved in 1975 and began Bible School shortly after. She has a passion for God’s Word and for teaching other women His Word through Women’s Bible Studies, retreats and conferences. She has a special passion for mentoring/discipling young women and heads up the mentoring ministry at Grace Bible Church.
Sheri Finlayson – Workshop Speaker
Sheri is a 3rd-generation native Arizonan and now resides in Gilbert, AZ with her husband Alan and their three daughters, Taylor, Emma and Sarah. She has a B.S. in Biblical Studies from Moody Bible Institute. Sheri previously served in Youth Ministries, Children’s Ministry, and in Women’s Ministry as a mentor, teacher and leadership. Sheri’s heart is to know the Word and encourage other women to live their lives through the lense of scripture. Sheri is currently serves as the President of the Moody Bible Institute Alumni Board of Directors as well as Director of Women’s Ministry at Christchurch in Mesa, Arizona.
Janet Gustafson-Workshop Speaker
Janet has been married to her husband Darrell for 45 years. They have 2 daughters, 1 son, and 9 grandchildren. Janet has taught and counseled women for over 30 years. She is a graduate of the Center for Biblical Training and has taken many seminary courses over the years. She also received training at the Institute for Biblical Counseling/Discipleship, the Biblical Counseling Foundation, and NANC (The National Association of Nouthetic Counselors, www.nanc.org). Since 1992, Janet has served as the co-director (with her husband Pastor Darrell) of the Grace Covenant Church Counseling Center. She has counseled hundreds of women throughout the years and has enjoyed the opportunity to speak and teach at women’s Bible studies, retreats, and conferences. Janet continues to actively serve in the counseling ministry and delights to witness God’s gracious work in the lives of the women she teaches and counsels. In 2001, Janet received the honor of becoming the first woman in the state of Arizona to become a NANC certified counselor. She currently serves as a Board Member, Instructor, and Director of Women’s Instruction for BCTCofAZ (the Biblical Counseling Training Center of Arizona, www.bctcofaz.net). The Biblical Counseling Training Center of Arizona is a nationally certified training center.
Beth Hancock – Leadership Team/Conference Director
Beth is doing one of her favorite things through this conference! Growing together with women!! She loves to see women come to an understanding of the Gospel and fall in love with the Word of God! She had the privilege of serving as Director of Women’s Ministries for 11 years at East Valley Bible (Redemption) Church in Gilbert. She also served for 10 years on Phoenix Seminary’s Women with Vision Conference committee, and for 15 years as a board member and program coordinator for Christian Business Women’s Association. She is a graduate of Center for Biblical Training, Mesa, AZ and has been a sporadic enrichment student at Phoenix Seminary where she also served in their mentoring program. She has also completed course work through the Biblical Counseling Training Center of AZ. In addition to people, Beth loves books, films, music, and is a foodie. Beth’s husband, John, is her favorite theologian and partner in culinary crime! They have been married for 24 years and reside in Gilbert — with one, rather chubby Maine Coon cat named, Fiona, who eats and sheds for five.
Linda Huffman – Workshop Speaker
Linda Huffman has been on staff at The Summit Church in O’Fallon, MO for 13 years, serving for 10 years as Women’s Minister, and currently as Recovery/Counseling Minister, developing and implementing biblically based support group/discipleship/counseling ministry for those suffering from the consequences of their own sin, and those suffering the consequences of the sin of others, that want to learn to live in the freedom of gospel truth. She received her MAC from Covenant Seminary in 1997, and continues to be an avid reader of books on counseling, the Gospel, and Jane Austen. She lives in Lake St. Louis, MO with her husband Craig, who has been retired from medicine for 8 years, her two dogs Charger & Zoey (ask her for pictures), and 2 geriatric cats. She has 3 adult stepchildren who have given them 7 adorable grandchildren. She loves British movies, makes jewelry in her spare time and loves to have coffee and talk deeply with her friends and spiritual daughters.
Annie Kingry –Workshop Speaker
Lives in Gilbert and is the Teaching Leader for the Chandler day Bible Study Fellowship class. Annie has been a part of BSF International leadership since 1996 having served in Tucson, Omaha, NE and then teaching in Lincoln, NE and now Gilbert, AZ. She is a wife to Lauren for 32 years, the mother of 3 married sons and a forever student of God’s Word. Having grown up with 4 brothers (no sisters) and raising 3 sons, she was caught off guard by God’s sense of humor and stretching when she was called to serve, lead and teach women!
Alane Kovach – Leadership Team & Workshop Speaker
Alane has been a Bible Study Teacher and Precept Leader for 20 years. She is trained in Biblical Counseling through Biblical Counseling Training Center of Arizona (BCTC), and currently serves on the board of W4T. She and her husband Steve have thee adult children and two grandchildren, and Live in Chandler.
Kristen McLaren – Leadership Team/Workshop Speaker
Kristen McLaren lives in Gilbert, Arizona with her husband of nearly 20 years, Mike, and their two busy teens, Ryanne (16) and Seth (13). As the wife of a CPA, her favorite day of the year is April 15th! Kristen was raised in Tempe, Arizona and received Christ as her Savior at a young age. She graduated from Biola University in 1991 with a BA in English and minors in Biblical studies, communication, and education. She then earned a Master of Education degree from Northern Arizona University. Kristen spent several years teaching in the Gilbert Public Schools, but “retired” from her career as a high school teacher when she became a mother. In 2006, she returned to the education field part-time working with student teachers as a college supervisor for NAU and Rio Salado College. In addition to teaching and serving at her own church, Kristen leads Moms in Prayer groups for her children’s schools and enjoys ministering to women throughout the Phoenix area by sharing practical wisdom from the Word of God at Bible studies, women’s groups, conferences and retreats.
Elisabeth McMenamy – Workshop Speaker
A native of St. Louis, Elisabeth McMenamy moved to the Valley in 2007. Elisabeth is a member of Grace Bible Church in Chandler and currently resides in Gilbert. An avid fan of St. Louis Cardinals baseball and Missouri football, Elisabeth received a Bachelors of Journalism with an emphasis in Strategic Communication from the University of Missouri – Columbia and a Masters of Business Administration – Marketing from Grand Canyon University.
Dora Pearch – Leadership Team/Workshop Speaker
Dora Pearch lives in Mesa, Arizona with her husband Steve and their two children, Brianna and James. She was not raised in a Christian home, but for as long as she can remember, she was dragging her parents out of bed on Sunday morning to take her to church so she could learn about Jesus. She is a graduate of ASU, a student of God’s Word, and a continual learner. Her heart is to bring women closer to God through His Word. She has authored the book entitled Back to the Source, that identifies and strengthens the skills needed to do any type of Bible study. Dora has served on several women’s ministry teams as advisor, teacher, keynote speaker, workshop leader, and mentor. Besides how to study the Bible, Dora’s favorite topics are joy, contentment, and the God Who satisfies.
Lori Porter – Leadership Team/Workshop Speaker
Lori has consistently experienced God’s mercy for the past 60 years as she has served YAHWEH in His Kingdom assignments as a daughter, sister, friend, wife, teacher, mom foster mom, grandma, & leader. Through these assignments He has taught her to focus on His glory and experience the power of His living words of Truth. Her life verse has become Psalm 13:5-6 “I am trusting in your mercy. My heart will rejoice in your salvation. I will sing unto You, YAHWEH; because You have dealt bountifully with me.”
Janis Shank – Leadership Team/Workshop Speaker
Janis Shank takes great delight in loving and supporting Steve, her husband of almost 33 years. Their journey together has taken them on church plants to Ohio, Virginia, Colorado and they now live in Arizona, where they have been members of Sovereign Grace Church in Gilbert since 2003. Biblical womanhood has been one of her passions, and she has had the privilege of speaking on related topics in various churches through the years. Janis and Steve reside in Gilbert, Arizona. The children they treasure, all adults, include a son and a daughter in Phoenix, another son in Denver CO., and a married son and daughter-in-law in Falls Church Va. Kate and Grant, their four and two year old grandchildren have absolutely captured their hearts!
Gina Sharpe – Leadership Team/Workshop Speaker
I have been married for over 23 years to Dave and we have two daughters, one about to graduate ASU and the other a junior in high school. I was raised and educated in England and have traveled extensively around the world. I had the privilege of teaching and leading women for many years at East Valley Bible Church in a variety of topics including spiritual disciplines, worldview and church history and currently serve on the board of Women4Truth. I lead and serve at Mission Community Church in the hospitality ministry and run events for a golf ministry (FCA) as well as in my neighbourhood. I enjoy keeping busy but also consider it an honour to serve in many different areas.
Sue Southern – Workshop Speaker
Sue has been married to her high school sweetheart for over 46 years. She is the mother of two married daughters and relishes spending time with her seven grandchildren. Sue’s 30 plus years as a Bible teacher, combined with her time as a mentor for Phoenix Seminary and Pass It On Ministries have helped her learn how to apply the grace and truth of Jesus Christ for encouragement. She has been privileged to lead seminars for women around the US and overseas as God has opened doors. It is her delight to teach others how to live with joy and peace in our pressured world.
Jessica Thompson – Workshop Speaker
Jessica Thompson grew up in Southern California, the second child of Phil and Elyse Fitzpatrick. After graduation from high school, she completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology and married her sweetheart, Cody Thompson. The Lord has blessed Cody and Jessica with three children: Wesley, Hayden and Allie, whom she (joyfully?) homeschools. Together they serve at Westview Church, an Acts 29 church plant in north San Diego county. When not homeschooling, Jessica helps her mother with correspondence and scheduling conferences and speaks at women’s conferences and speaks at various conferences. In 2010, along with her mom, she collaborated on the book, “Give them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus” published by Crossway. She is currently developing material for a devotional for parents and children.
April A. VanDyke
I was born and raised here, in Phoenix, Arizona. After becoming a Christian at the age of thirteen, I slowly began to study Scripture and serve in leadership in my youth group. When I was nineteen years old and in college, I began volunteering in youth ministry, and serving there is where I met my husband. We married knowing that we would be in ministry together for life. It is a perfect fit, because I love teaching, mentoring, and building relationships with youth and college-aged ladies. I have been married for nine and a half years and have three amazing children, and one on the way!
Debbie Woodford – Leadership Team
Debbie attends Bridgeway Community Church in Phoenix and is presently serving as Director of Women’s Ministry. She has been married to Keith, her college sweetheart, for 20 years and they have 5 children. Debbie loves to study and teach God’s Word and is very passionate about helping women learn to study God’s Word for themselves.