Minutes after the lights dimmed in the sanctuary of Nashville's Mount Zion Baptist Church on the evening of Friday, Aug. 27, the room erupted in praise.
Led by worship leader Jordan Welch, 1,200 women stood from rows of wooden pews and raised their hands. Their voices rang out and filled the room as they sang, "We will praise the name of Jesus, that great name."
This was the first night of Glory, Lifeway Women's brand-new event featuring Bible teacher Jackie Hill Perry. Over two days, Hill Perry led these women in a study of the doctrine of God focused on His holiness.
Drawing themes from her latest book, Holier Than Thou, Hill Perry said this topic is critical for women to engage, especially in a moment in history like this.
"There's too much happening for us to not have some substance to cling to, to anchor our faith," Hill Perry said. Her book, Holier Than Thou, debuted on the USA Today's Best-Selling Books list, coming in at No. 37.
She opened the event by sharing a classic quote from A.W. Tozer's 1961 book, The Knowledge of the Holy: "What comes to our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us."
Hill Perry spent the weekend unpacking this idea, showing women the connection between what we believe about God and how we live our lives. In doing so, she encouraged women to get down to the core of what they really believe.
"At the root of all sin is unbelief in the Word and worth of God," Hill Perry said. "And that, my friends, is why it is so hard for us to be holy sometimes—because we keep trying to modify our external behavior without dealing with the belief systems way at the bottom of them."
Pointing to God's holiness, Hill Perry reminded the room they should instead prioritize heart and mind renewal, which will ultimately lead believers to desire God more than anything else.
"Desiring God above all things is the soil from which holiness is grown," Hill Perry said. "We are already empowered through the Spirit to flee sin, and we will want and choose to put to death what is earthly in us when we believe that God is infinitely better than everything we are tempted to leave Him for."
Friends Ally Johnson and Katrina Reed came to the event together, and they both said they felt its uniqueness.
"It was so good," Johnson said. "It wasn't like any other women's conference I think I've ever been to."
In addition to in-depth biblical teaching from Hill Perry, the Glory event also featured powerful, extended times of worship led by Welch. For Hill Perry, this approach to worship was intentional as well.
"If you know me, you know I love music—a lot—and that's why I really wanted Glory to have a significant amount of time for worship," she said. "Because I think it's just as important as the Scriptures, to be honest. I think it helps us to engage our emotions and to praise God and confess."
Both the teaching and the worship connected deeply with Nina Straub, who attended Glory with a friend from her church.
"God knew—God knew what words to say [through Hill Perry and Welch]," Straub said. "It was just perfect. We were meant to be here for a kairos moment."
As Glory concluded, Hill Perry challenged women to continue to grow in sanctification and holiness by drawing close to God through His Word. However, she also recognized this challenge may intimidate some.
"As women, there might be the temptation to believe you are too incompetent to understand the Scriptures," Hill Perry said.
She pushed back against this belief. Made in the image of God and equipped with the Holy Spirit, Hill Perry reminded women they have everything they need to engage God's Word.
"You can get in the Bible and understand it," Hill Perry said. "You don't have to be a theologian. But you can be a faithful woman."
Ultimately, it is through the Scriptures that women will begin to behold and become more like our Holy God, Hill Perry argued.
"Everything is fighting for our affections, but we have a choice," Hill Perry said. "Either God is worth that much, or He isn't, and I can promise you that He is. The Bible tells us if you read it, you will see that He is the glory in all of it."
Lifeway has two more Glory events scheduled this fall: Sept. 10-11 in Washington, D.C., and Oct. 1-2 in Atlanta, Georgia. Learn more at Lifeway.com/glory.
Helen Hummel is a freelance writer in Nashville, Tennessee.
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