We've teamed up with Sparrow Conference and are so excited to be apart of their annual conference this April. To get you the low down on all things Sparrow, we interviewed founder, Rachel Joy today on the blog.
Rachel Joy is a wife and mom of three. She has lead and taught Bible studies for over ten years and her heart beat is to see young women, specifically 18-20 something’s, come to the powerful, saving grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. In 2010, after hosting a college women’s Bible study, the Lord began to put feet to some of her passions to see women on a large scale, gather together in unity to hear the Truth of the Bible, experience freedom from sin, have a fixed identity in Christ and be on mission with new purpose. And thus, Sparrow Conference was birthed in Denton, Texas in the Fall of 2012. Rachel discusses the heartbeat and purpose behind this amazing conference you don't want to miss. We hope you enjoy!
WAU: Rachel, we have had such a blast working with you and your team and have been blown away by all the synergy and similarities in our ministries. Before we dive in, tell our readers a bit about Sparrow. What is the conference?
Well, Sparrow Conference is a catalytic gathering of a diverse group of millennial women who desire to be unified in a whole-hearted pursuit Jesus Christ. We have seen that in today’s society, there are so many lines drawn in the sand separating us; whether that be by what we look like, the color of our skin, our socio-economic status, the churches we attend, our jobs, our positions, the list goes on and on. Well what if we as a group of women gathered in one room, under the Word, worshipping and calling upon the name of the Lord to move in our generation for God’s glory? Walls of division would no longer exist, because we are unified under the banner of Christ. The Gospel levels the playing field- we are all in need of Jesus and His saving grace. We can look one another in the eyes, respecting and rejoicing in each other’s differences, as we allow the scriptures to shape us. We can be encouraged and inspired by all that God is doing in one another and worship together. United, we can understand the TRUTH of the scriptures, experience FREEDOM from sin and bondage, discover our true IDENTITY in Jesus, and have an unwavering PURPOSE. And in light of this truth is how Sparrow developed.
WAU: We love it, Tell us more about the beginning of Sparrow Conference, how did it start?
Sparrow Conference began as a small gathering in my home for young college, millennial women. I would never have imagined such a diverse, lively, eclectic group of women would come together. As we studied God’s word, He began to do what He does best, crush walls of defense and coping mechanisms, remove the lines we didn’t even know were between us, and break the chains of lies women had carried for years. Through tears, anger, and sometimes nervous laughter, these brave, beautiful women shared stories of regret, hurt, co-dependency, homosexuality, rape, pregnancy, addiction, anxiety, eating disorders, abuse, perfectionism and comparison. As we shared and allowed the scriptures to read us, God began to heal and set these women free. He granted strength, joy, and unity. God began to redefine their identity- their significance and worth was to be found in Him alone. They no longer had to chase love and approval from this world, but they were fulfilled in the affections of the perfect Father. It was in this vulnerable place we began to see the beauty God was creating from ashes. We began to dream. What if women from all walks of life, backgrounds, ethnicities could be unified under one roof, study God’s word, worship together and experience the kind of freedom we had experienced? Thus Sparrow Conference was born. The name Sparrow comes from the idea of significance in God alone. Sparrows were considered to be bothersome creatures, but the gospel of Luke states, “Not one of them is forgotten before God.” If God is concerned about the sparrow and knows its fate, how much greater must His concern be for us. It is interesting God chose the most common of birds to teach a profound truth: in God’s eyes no one is insignificant.
WAU: In DFW area there are SO many conferences that we could attend. Our options are limitless. We love that your conference is specifically catered to the millennial community. Tell us, why is that?
Simply put, we want to declare the goodness of our God to the next generation. Psalm 145:4 says, “One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.” Our hope and desire at Sparrow is to call the next generation into a life of whole-hearted pursuit of our great God.
The millennial generation, specifically women, is an incredibly unique and beautiful generation characterized by creativity, depth, critical thinking, passion, justice and tolerance. They are the most socially networked group and have grown up under the mantra, “Follow your Dreams”. Therefore, they have been given tools for influence but I’ve found often waver in their purpose. At Sparrow, we point to the ultimate anchor that gives purpose. Our hope is to help these women align their dreams with the will of their Creator God and to operate in the gifting that He gave them. This gifting can be used to build up and encourage other women and the Church as a whole. More than that, our desire is to push these women toward rootedness in Christ and away from the fleeting passions of this world. Sparrow seeks to train the creative artist while inspire the contemplative thinker toward something much greater than themselves.
Our conference is different from other conferences in that it is not only geared toward millennial women but it is for all ethnicities, socio-economic groups, and walks of life. We want to call on ALL millennial women and ask them to be united with other sisters that do not look like them, talk like them, or worship like them and who have very different stories and realities from one another. Our conference line-up reflects our desire to promote diversity. It is here in this place, of being united under the banner of Christ, we can link arms and run toward our God-given purposes while we reflect God’s beautiful design.
WAU: Your theme for the conference this year is 'Rooted.' Tell us a bit about that theme and what we can expect?
At Sparrow 2016, we will be studying the entire book of Colossians in one weekend. This seems like a tall order, however, we want to train women wherever they are in their walks with God to study the fullness of scripture. In Colossians, Paul calls us back to our first love, Jesus. He does this by reminding us what we are to be rooted, built up and established in Christ. (Colossians 2:6-7).
No matter your age, ethnicity, job, position, or gender, we can be rooted in and carried away by so many things in this world and forget our first love and passion. We get caught up in things that don’t bring life; they only leave us with a feeling of being stuck or in bondage. We must put off the things of our past or the things that bring destruction and put on the things that bring life and freedom. We are going to discuss, study, sing and learn what it means to live in Christ and experience true freedom.
WAU: What do you hope people take away from their experience this year at Sparrow?
Our hope at Sparrow 2016 is to see women come to saving faith in Jesus Christ, experience freedom from their pasts, be rooted and anchored in the person and work of Jesus Christ and to discover their God-given purpose.