The Influence Lab was thrilled to host an Influence Women’s Gathering at the National Religious Broadcasting Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. Women came united from national and global cities who work in diverse areas of media and entertainment with focused hearts on Jesus and to challenge cultural thinking. With the resurgence of women’s rights, and growing political and social dilemmas, IN Women want to do more than just use their skills and talents to bring solutions. They want to change the culture. As Christian professional women, they know the media’s powerful effect on the world both personally and globally. Media controls ears with ceaseless noise, eyes with indelible images and diverts thoughts to disrupt lives. Knowing this, IN Women are passionate to use media and entertainment to effectively bring positive and spiritual transformation to the world.
IN Women desire to be leaders with grace, clarity and wisdom, to speak the language of our media consumed culture and engage them with God’s redemptive remedy through media.
At the NRB IN Women’s Gathering, we were inspired to go forward relentlessly by two presenters and the life of a historic woman of influence. If you missed it, here are a few highlights:
Through the twists and turns of career journeys, Suzy Sammons, founder and brand and marketing strategist of the Hawkeye.Pro agency, Suzy is an editor at large for the Giving Company and a strategy consultant for 5X5 Productions. Susie’s diverse background with the Dove Foundation and Family Christian has taught her that wherever God places you He is preparing you for greater things. Her work and obedience brought those attending inspiration. When unexpected changes happen God never abandons us and just keeps directing our paths if we trust Him. He is in control and His ultimate plan for our life never fails to bring joy even when His plan brings challenges. We need to say yes and go.
Ann White, with Courage For Life, next brought her powerful life journey and reminded us to expect the unexpected and be willing to step into the mess of the world. She boldly walks into the lives of hurting women daily and brings the One Hope for our world – Jesus. Initially untrained but willing, Ann said yes to all God placed in front of her. Yes, to not knowing but to trusting. She shared her many roadblocks but how the Word of God was and still is her powerful remedy and guide. When a written Bible wasn’t fully communicating to the at-risk women and prisoners she worked with, Ann fearlessly produced an audio Bible. When a man’s voice was disrupting due to past trauma and injustice, she created an audio Bible voiced by women. An audio Bible that had never been created before. As a result, the CFL audio Bible is now being downloaded onto tens of thousands of devices and into the ears of female (and now male) prisoners and even their families. It is impacting the disruptive culture of poverty and injustice. The light of God’s Word is changing hurting and hopeless lives as never before. As the Bible teaches, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
Our lives that day at the NRB’s IN Gathering were encouraged and challenged by the obedience and action of both Suzy and Ann.
Finally, Kathleen Cooke, Co-founder of The Influence Lab and Founder of Influence Lab Women, mentored attendees with a historic woman of influence, Elaine Townsend. Elaine was the wife of the founder of Wycliffe Bible Translators, Cameron Townsend. Elaine’s life story resonates personally with Kathleen’s passion to see the culture discover and rediscover the life transforming power of the Bible. Kathleen’s own personal life journey of working side by side with her husband, media producer Phil Cooke, and their company, Cooke Media Group parallels Elaine and Cameron’s lives in many ways. They too work together in the mission fields of Hollywood and media, travel and speak to global communities and try to translate the language of today’s media culture so that God’s message of love can be heard. They, like the Townsend’s know the challenges of working where God’s light is dim and where His message is seldom understood.
Here are three points that those attending walked away with at the NRB Influence Women’s Gathering.
Elaine recognized her unique childhood. Elaine’s life was full of people and uncertainty as God prepared her for her life’s mission without knowing all the challenges to come. She taught us that God doesn’t always tell us how to do something but expects us to be available or on call and willing to go. She and Cameron were known to be creative, inventive, fearless and willing to walk into the difficult. God is always with us even in the unknown and our job is to trust and obey. It’s never easy, always challenging but the reward is great and often not seen immediately.
Elaine taught us that relationships matter. In our era of social media “friends” and increasing mistrust, media has provided us with the ability to connect but has increasingly caused the opposite. Our world is rapidly growing into a culture of depression, loneliness and isolation. Rapid communication has caused miscommunication and ultimately disconnection. The avalanche of media overwhelms our lives and suffocates us daily resulting in our inability to think with clarity and choose wisdom. It is exactly what our enemy, the deceiver – Satan wants to do because it causes separation and hostility. Trusted relationships are dwindling as the culture escapes into trusting only themselves. God instructs us to be in relationship with Him and with others and that is our ongoing challenge in our media distracted age.
Elaine taught us to be courageous. Her life challenges us to break through the ramparts with the light of God’s Word and the message that God can be trusted and relied on. The final years of her life were razor sharp. She cultivated curiosity and tirelessly continued her lifelong mission to know others and share God’s unconditionally love. She confronted everyone she met with this question, “tell me something that I can remember you by?” God knows the number of hairs on our head and when a sparrow falls to the ground and wants to know us intimately. But we have to choose to boldly serve and know Him and to make it a priority in our busy and over scheduled life. “Choose this day whom you will serve” Joshua 24:14-15.
Elaine died at the age of 91, in 2007. Wycliffe Bible Translators completed its first translation in 1951 and has gone on to translate the Bible in over five hundred languages. With two thousand languages yet to be translated, the Museum of the Bible has partnered alongside Wycliffe with the hope of reaching this goal by 2050 or sooner.
Today, I hope you will ponder the richness of wisdom from Suzy Sammons, Ann White and Elaine Townsend as women of influence. These are just three women who used and continue to use their talents and skills in media joined with their faith in God to inspire and change the culture.
Please help us share the Influence Lab with others.
If you know of a woman involved in media or entertainment who would like to join us to grow in faith, shared wisdom and challenge the culture send them a link to the bi-monthly free journal at influencelab.com/women. Encourage them to follow us on social media and engage in the conversation.
We are endlessly honored and blessed with your support and encouragement. Your heart to come alongside us with your donations of skills, talents and finances as a community of believers in God is priceless. We are always thrilled to hear from you and know how Influence Lab has been a blessing to you and can serve you more, so send us a note and stay connected.
See you at the next Influence Lab Women’s gathering in LA coming soon this Fall.