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Changing the Conversation about Holiness

Jess Connolly on calling, co-leading a church, and challenging people to be more in awe of God

Mostly it’s just living life. It’s just being honest, being real. I have a personal passion for encouraging them in their own gifts, encouraging them in what God’s called them to. So I would say it’s 80 percent just living in front of them and letting them see me need Jesus. The other 20 percent is just telling them how mighty he is in them, and reminding them how much he loves them, and telling them that they’re the girl for the job.

How do you help women feel like they’re the girl for the job when it comes to ministry? How do you help them prepare to speak or lead at your church?

I love that passage, the woman at the well. It just says, “Let me tell you about a man who knows everything I ever did.” I think it’s just helping women do that. Just giving them permission—they don’t need permission from us—but giving them the permission still because so many women don’t feel it. Then giving them the tools.

We are building what women in leadership looks like at our church. We have women teach and share in various ways on Sundays or at other events. I met with a few of them the other day and just talked. Like, “Here’s what I do before I go talk about God. Here’s how I stretch my body out and let my voice get louder so that I can feel the freedom to take up space and say real things about him. Here’s how I try to smile when I talk because it just helps people to see what you’re saying a little bit better, and feel free to talk with your hands and don’t put your hands in your pocket. You’re not here to hide.” So let me give you the tools to help you tell everybody about the man who knows everything you ever did and loved you anyway.

What prompted you to write your new book, Dance, Stand, Run?

It really was a very personal start. There is an embarrassing story in the very beginning of the book, and I can’t talk about the book without talking about it. Our church is about four years old, so we’re in that volatile point where we can have an amazing Sunday or we can have an off Sunday. We had been praying for Easter 2016 for months, really expectant and hopeful that God wanted to do some fun stuff in our church. That day came and went, and it was a pretty rough Sunday. Nobody seemed to be very engaged. Dance, Stand, Run came from me getting with the Lord and asking him, “What part do I play in this? How have I contributed to this?” I really felt like he said, “You’ve forgotten about holiness.” I didn’t expect it to be my fault. I didn’t think that was coming. And not that it was all my fault, but I didn’t expect to be complicit in it, and I absolutely was.

October24, 2017 at 8:00 AM

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