Event invites local women to seek God’s calling together

PHOTO PROVIDED A number of local women gather for the August 2016 IF: Table.

A local event seeks to give women of faith a safe place to find fellowship and courage together.

“There is a lot of hurt and a lot of heaviness that women have and we need to turn to God for our strength and comfort, not only for that eternal life, but there is also hope, courage and strength we find from God while living here on Earth,” said Melissa Lundy, an itinerant teacher for special needs students and host of IF: Lycoming County.

This will be IF: Lycoming County’s first year being hosted in the area, although there are often other IF: Local events, some public and others private.

IF: Lycoming County will be held from 7 to 10:30 p.m. Feb. 9 and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Feb. 10 at the Christian Life Center, 601 Market St. All proceeds raised will go to Lycoming County United Way.

A separate IF event, IF: Williamsport, hosted by Jenna Sebring, will held at 7 p.m. Feb. 9 and at 10 a.m. Feb. 10 at the City Alliance Church, 380 W. Fourth St.

What is IF?

IF: Gathering was created by Jennie Allen, author of “Restless” and “Nothing to Prove,” as a way for women to have a conversation about their faith in a safe space — to gather, equip and unleash women. It and raises the question, “IF God is real, THEN what? To disciple a generation,” Lundy said.

The two-day annual event brings together thousands of women from around the world, of different denominations, ages and cultures.

“Sisters in faith will connect with God, dream, experience the IF: Table and ‘live out their calling.’ They want to live like God is real,” Lundy said.

This year, IF will livestream its sold-out event, hosted in Austin, Texas. There will be more than 1,700 IF: Local events around the world tuning in, and IF: Lycoming County is one of them.

IF will be looking over Paul’s letters to Timothy and there will be “worship, teachings, testimonies from Christian women, music and fellowship,” Lundy said. “We are gathering as one — the body of Christ all around the globe to glorify, worship and honor God.”

The Heart of IF’s Mission

Through IF, “we gather with other Christians and other believers,” said Lundy. “We gather as the body of Christ.”

“If you want to hear from God, you need to be able to read His word and you need to be praying with Him. It’s an ongoing process to be equipped in His word. Study His word and realize what the scripture is saying and actually apply the scripture to your life.”

In “the unleashing, you hear the word and you believe it, but sometimes you have to take a leap of faith and act on it,” said Lundy. “You have to listen and live out your faith even if it is fearful, but you have to be bold sometimes.”

IF’s Personal Impact

“IF has changed my life since attending my first IF: Gathering,” Lundy said. “I first learned about IF two years ago when a friend of mine told me about the podcast, ‘The Happy Hour’ by Jamie Ivey.”

A few months later, Lundy saw a sign for an upcoming event, IF: Gathering, and decided to go with a friend.

“We were asked to answer questions about our faith. I was surprised by how calm and peaceful I felt,” Lundy said. “I was comfortable sharing with strangers. Surely the Holy Spirit was present that evening.”

IF is special to Lundy because “the most unexpected blessing is that [my children] see God, and the Holy Spirit is alive.”

“They are being raised in a Christian family, and our family is not perfect, but just to recognize that we are all sinners … and we need a savior. Who do we turn to for our strength? We turn to God.”

The IF: Table

The IF: Table is an event hosted monthly in a neighborhood and rotates throughout homes and hosts. A small group of friends come together for a meal and to answer questions to open their hearts and have a conversation with God and their community.

“We are also being fed spiritually by God’s word — with the teaching of scripture, the sharing and engaging conversations and praising God and praying together,” Lundy said.

IF on a Local Level

Since Lundy’s first IF: Gathering she has unleashed her faith by striving to be bold, starting a summer Bible Study in her neighborhood, hosting monthly IF: Tables since 2016 and feeling called to host IF: Lycoming County.

“I believe, to truly know what IF: Gathering is all about, you really just need to come and experience it, to share in those sacred unseen moments,” Lundy said.

“Different denominations will come together as one that will impact the community because we will be worshiping God as one.”

To register or for more information, visit www.register.ifgathering.com/event/iflycoming-county or join the Facebook IF Lycoming County group.