Girls and their leaders learn a holy obsession is OK
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Many teenage girls are obsessed with something - Justin Bieber and fashion come to mind - but Christian young ladies should only be obsessed about one thing: God.
Hayley DiMarco, an author of more than 30 books, most aimed at girls, was a keynote speaker in February at the Girls' Ministry Conference, sponsored by LifeWay Christian Resources. About 400 girls and their leaders from churches coast to coast attended the event.
"To be obsessed is to think of something all the time," DiMarco said. "You will do anything to get it. You will put all your energy into it."
Leonardo DiVinci's obsession with invention and discovery drove him to success, she said. He couldn't stop figuring things out or creating.
"And then there was Noah," DiMarco said. "Noah was obsessed with obeying God and building that boat. Probably, his obsession looked like insanity to lots of people around him.
"Most obsessions are over things we love because it makes us feel good," she said. "First we love it, then we crave it. This leads us to worship our obsession. After that comes sacrifice. The obsession demands it. Then, we look for fellowship - people who understand and share the obsession who we can talk to about our obsession. Then, we become evangelists about our obsession. We want to tell everyone we see about it so they can share in our obsession. Finally, we become controlled by our obsession and become a slave to it.
"Loving God with everything you are and with everything you do, now that is a true obsession," DiMarco said, quoting Mark 12:30.
Miss Black USA Ocielia Gibson spoke to the girls about the importance of using whatever platform God gives them to be a voice for Him.
"I have been given such a wonderful opportunity to be able to speak truth to people because of my position as Miss Black USA," Gibson said. "That's a responsibility I don't take for granted."
Gibson, founder of More Than a Pretty Face Ministry and a student at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, told the girls she has seen God work miracles in her life. She reminded them, "Being faithful in whatever position God has given you will lead to more opportunities to be a witness for Him."
Jaime Jamgochian was the event's worship leader. Jamgochian is a top-selling Christian musical artist in addition to being a worship leader at her church. She spoke of her journey to becoming a believer in Christ.
"I was a student at the Berklee College of Music in Boston when I was saved," she said. "I didn't grow up in a Christian home, didn't go to church. But I knew that I believed in God. I just didn't know about Jesus."
When another student at Berklee shared the gospel with her, Jamgochian said she felt free like she had never felt before.
"All I wanted to do then, and now, is worship," she said.
Jamgochian is the founder of the ministry Modest is Hottest.
Sixteen-year-old high school junior Rachel Chan spoke to her peers before singing.
"I had a time in my life when I was really all wrapped up in what people thought of me," she said. "But after I came to the realization I was the King's daughter, it made all the difference."
Chan, whose father is pastor and author Francis Chan, has just released her first CD, "Go." She co-wrote all the tracks on the CD.
Next year's Girls' Ministry Conference will be Feb. 22-23, 2013, at LifeWay in Nashville. Information is forthcoming at LifeWay.com/Girls.
Rachel Chan, daughter of author and preacher Francis Chan, shares two songs at the LifeWay Girls Conference 2012.
Ocielia Gibson, current Miss Black USA, shares with girls during a plenary session at the LifeWay Girls Conference 2012.
Erin Davis, author and speaker, shares during the final plenary session at the LifeWay Girls Conference 2012.
Liz Gregory, girls minister at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano Texas, leads a breakout session.
A group of girls and their leaders from Central Baptist Church in Crossville, Tenn. in between sessions at the LifeWay Girls Conference 2012.