In٠spire(verb): fill(someone) with the urge or ability to do or feel something; create (a feeling, especially a positive one) in a person; give rise to.

More than2800 single disciples traveled from over 40 countries to worship, learn, and be inspired together over the Labor Day Weekend holiday, August 30 – September 2,2018, in Phoenix, Arizona.

Trying to sum up the INSPIRE conference in one sentence, one paragraph, or one article is a struggle. This conference was REAL. It was real deep, real convicting, full of real conversations, and real relationships were formed.

We hadreal discussions about how to use our singleness to glorify God and change theworld. Real conversations took place about the importance of being single inGod’s Kingdom and how we need to be proud of this season of life because we arenot lacking anything being unmarried.

Rudy Peña of Chicago said, “I have been to conferences before, and they are always wonderful. But it felt like there was something in the air in Arizona, that wasn’t felt at other conferences. Maybe it was because I was surrounded by amajority of my peers or maybe it was the fact that a good majority of the leaders, speakers, coordinators, and teachers were singles just like me! I feltat home.”

“Before I went, I really wasn’t looking forward to going. I’ve been to a bunch of singles conferences before and I just wasn’t feeling it,” said Jacqueline Guthrie of Atlanta. “But this one is probably the best one I’ve been to! I really just enjoyed the whole thing. Especially the fellowship.”

Fellowship was a big draw for many of those who attended. “My favorite part was the fellowship with various brothers and sisters from all over, and the opportunity for deeper talks, and the comfort and encouragement of knowing you’re not alone in the fight,” said Matt Hoes of Dallas.

Katey Tanguay of Atlanta said, “INSPIRE meant a time of connections with new faces, new names, and new stories that I will forever carry with me. The women’s lesson reminded us that “only God can validate us” and that we need to shift our perspective from “if only” to “even if.”

A number of single women shared the gospel, their stories and convictions with the crowd. Along with Logan Kreider, Ashley Darling helped us all see we need to listen to our Father’s voice and make that jump. Sherie Gayle and Marielos Castro helped the women identify the voice of our Father, and Jeanette Noiles powerfully shared during communion all that God has done for her.

“I was so inspired by the passionately deep women who spoke at the conference. In both class sessions and main keynotes, it was so refreshing for me to hear deep insights and authentic stories of passion and perseverance from a feminine voice,” said Tim Priestly of Los Angeles.

The men also brought it, and with fire! Logan Kreider helped us see that we need to embrace Jesus as our Lord and follow him wholeheartedly. Larry Reed pointed us to Moses and how he met with God and urged us to do the same. Not to just have times that are quiet (aka “quiet times”) but to really seek to meet with God like a friend. In their session, the men engaged in an epic battle of rock, paper, scissors, and grasped just what it is like to be cheered on by a great crowd of witnesses. And then Floyd Grossett closed us out on Sunday morning with a sermon outlining how we can in fact change our world.

“The highlight for me, besides the glorious fellowship of over two thousand disciples from all around the world, was Floyd’s message on Sunday about the fact that the world is trending single right now.” said Dunni O’koya from the London Church of Christ. “The statistics of the number of singles in our society is quite alarming. My determination since the conference has been: if God brings marriage my way, AMEN, but if not, there is so much I can be getting on with for God to make an impact in my life TODAY.”

“For me, getting a better understanding of what our culture is in our fellowship of churches – and where we’re going — was both insightful and encouraging,” said Tim. “I believe we are growing as a family of churches in our depth and freedom and inclusiveness, and that for me matches the arc of the New Testament church.”

The most impactful part of the conference for Tosen Nwadei of Atlanta was the church builders workshop. “It was inspiring to see that men and women around the world are doing the exact same thing I’m investigating and doing in Atlanta – building a dynamic singles ministry. It was equally inspiring to see that many of the single men and women in the room were responsible for leading their respective ministries back home.”

Many are looking forward to taking the inspiration they received and spreading it in their home churches.

“My biggest takeaway was something that wasn’t necessarily highlighted but was an undercurrent in different people’s testimonies. The importance of making sure that your walk with God is your own and that you have to want it more than anything. It will see you through the different roller coasters of life. It was so much fun, encouraging, uplifting, and special to be around brothers and sisters from all over the world trying to glorify God as single people.” said Victor Bitatule from Dallas.

The INSPIRE Conference was about being renewed and refreshed in God. We were reminded that we need to know Jesus, know God, know yourself, and know your enemy. We need to be intentionally inspired through worship, gratitude, and growth. Do not forget God’s promises and most importantly stay his!

Thanks to the Phoenix Church of Christ for an incredible conference!