Rarely are the terms hilarious storyteller and theological scholar used in the same sentence, much less used to describe the same person but then again, Lisa Harper is anything but stereotypical! She’s been lauded as a gifted communicator, whose writing and speaking overflow with colorful pop culture references that connect the dots between the Bible era and modern life. Her style combines sound scriptural exposition with easy-to-relate to anecdotes and comedic wit.
Best-selling author and pastor Max Lucado calls Lisa one of the “best Bible tour guides around,” and author/actress Priscilla Evans Shirer adds, “Her God-given ability to not merely teach the Word but package it in a way that stirs the heart and calls to action is incomparable. When she speaks, ears perk up!”
Her vocational resume includes five years in full-time youth ministry, six years as the director of Focus on the Family’s national women’s ministry where she created the popular Renewing the Heart conferences attended by almost 200,000 women, followed by seven years as the women’s ministry director at a large church in Nashville. Her academic resume includes a Masters of Theological Studies with honors from Covenant Seminary in St. Louis. Now a sought-after Bible teacher and speaker, she’s been featured on numerous television and radio programs, spoken at hundreds of national and international women’s events, as well as in churches around the world. But she’s also very invested locally and has been leading a weekly neighborhood Bible study for many years and co-teaches a community study in her home church.
And if you can’t find Lisa studying, teaching or riding a 4-wheeler with her daughter, she’s probably typing on a keyboard somewhere because she’s had eleven books published including A Perfect Mess: Why You Don’t Have To Worry About Being Good Enough For God and Believing Jesus: Are You Willing To Risk Everything?. Her twelfth book, The Sacrament of Happy: What a Smiling God Brings to a Wounded World, will be released in June ’17. Additionally, she’s authored three best-selling video-based Bible study curriculums with LifeWay: Malachi: A Love That Never Lets Go, Hebrews: The Nearness of King Jesus, and Mark: The Jesus We're Aching For.
Yet when asked about her credentials, the most noticeable thing about Lisa Harper is her authenticity. During a recent interview she said, “I’m so grateful for the opportunities God’s given me but don’t forget, He often uses donkeys and rocks!” She went on to describe her greatest accomplishment to date as getting to be Missy’s mama. Because in April 2014, after a difficult two-year journey and several adoption losses, she finally got to bring her little girl home from Haiti and she’s been smiling ever since.
Ryan DeLange is a husband, worship pastor, and songwriter/artist from Houston, Texas. Apart from serving on staff at Bayou City Fellowship, Ryan also leads at various retreats, camps, and conferences throughout the country. He is passionate about corporate singing, songwriting for the church, and shepherding the people that God has entrusted to his care.
Ashley Rush is married to her husband of 13 years and is the mother of three beautiful kids. She is lovely in every way, has an awesome sense of humor, carries quiet strength, operates with great restraint, and has a tremendous voice. Ashley is a trustworthy and anointed worship leader because she is constantly seeking the face and heart of God and pursuing holiness. She is committed to serving Bayou City Fellowship and loves ministering to women in worship.
Over the years, God has provided many opportunities for Natalie to share her personal story and a life changing message of how God can turn a great mess into greatness! Having suffered abuse, the guilt and shame of an abortion, the loss of a child, failed relationships, homelessness, as well as dealing with the daily struggles of life, Natalie discovered freedom in Christ by unlocking the most painful parts of her life story.
Natalie is indeed an overcomer, and she is passionate about sharing real-life experiences, which do not always come in a pretty package. You will always get her loving, funny, honest self, along with the relevant and practical things she is learning from God. As single mom, Natalie has loved and guided her sweet, talented daughter, Jada, to her senior year of high school. With a courageous authenticity that is brave and inspiring, Natalie uses her gift of words to bless and help us see more clearly how God deeply loves us. Natalie loves pound cake, beauty, color, laughter, friends and a good pair of converse sneakers!
BREAK OUT SESSION SPEAKERS
Dr. Alicia Snow received her PH.D. from Texas A&M University following her internship at Baylor College of Medicine. Since 1998, she has been a practicing psychologist in private practice. Dr. Snow has a specialty in Medical Psychology and works with physicians to help clients make lifestyle changes that improve overall health and help combat chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes.
Not only does she have professional experience with heartache and hardship, but Alicia was raised in a dysfunctional alcoholic family plagued with physical abuse and mental illness. Her first child was born premature and due to doctor error her daughter experienced massive head trauma. As a result, Dr. Snow is well acquainted with the grieving process in families with special needs children.
For a number of years, Dr. Snow was involved in Motherwise Ministries, combining her education and personal experience to speak on the topic of Enduring Difficult Times in a Way That Glorifies God. At that time, she had no idea the greatest trial was yet to come. In 2007, after 15 years of marriage, her husband died suddenly from a pulmonary embolism when their children were only 5, 7 and 9 years old. She has been a widow and single mother for almost 10 years now. It is her passion to inspire women to believe the promise of Jeremiah 29:11, leaving the past behind and embracing all that God has in the future.
Alisha heart's desire is to love people back to life. When you meet Alisha, formerly from Lafayette, Louisiana, you'll hear, "Hello, beautiful!", a greeting that flows from a restored heart able to see the beauty of the Lord in His children. Through a ministry she created called Glory Girls, Alisha began teaching etiquette and image building for middle school girls. Alisha later founded the outreach Girlz-N-The-Hood, based on 1 Peter 2:9, reaching single women in low income areas affirming them through the word of God with the message that they are daughters of the of The King. Currently, Alisha is working on her book, "Am I Suitable for Him?", where she hopes to expand on an article that first appeared at Beautifully Said Online Magazine, http://beautifullysmagazine.com/am-i-suitable-for-him/
Under her mentor and friend, Mobilization Pastor Jerrell Altic, Alisha serves as a Mission Associate at Houston’s First Baptist Church where she and husband attend the Loop campus. Alisha is married to Torrance Wilson and they have a beautiful blended family of 6 children ages ranging from 27 to 5 years old. You can read more about the journey to marriage for Alisha and Torrence at http://houstonsfirst.org/news-stories/all-things-new .
Amy is a single mother of four children who deeply loves the Lord and is wildly passionate about His people. Eleven years ago, her journey into single motherhood began, shortly after having twins and losing her father to cancer. Believing in the power of prayer, she looked to her savior each day for guidance on how to raise four children on her own and has seen God work powerfully in their lives. Hoping to encourage and inspire women in every season of life to be strong and courageous, Amy has served as a speaker and worship leader at women’s events and retreats. She actively serves at her home church Bayou City Fellowship and owns her own portrait photography business in Houston, TX.
You can visit Amy's website at www.amykiddphotography.com.
Brenda has an undergraduate degree in biology and a Master’s degree in educational leadership. She began her professional career in regulatory compliance at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM). After enjoying a 20 year career at BCM, she obtained her teaching credentials from Texas A&M University and has been teaching middle school science for the past 12 years. In addition to teaching, she is beginning her dissertation research in STEM education.
Brenda has been a single parent for over 25 years, blessed with two adult children and a wonderful daughter-in-law. Her greatest joy as a single mother has been to watch her own children grow in their love and relationship with Jesus. The salvation and well-being of children is one of her greatest passions and concerns.
Brenda is a small town girl at heart. She has a sincere heart for people and building the Kingdom of God. She is committed to applying biblical wisdom to everyday decisions and intercessory prayer. She will speak encouragement to your current situation, challenge you to extend your boundaries and encourage your faith from a mother to a mother. Her favorite things include enjoying times of laughter and celebrations with family and friends and traveling to new places.
Colleen Henneke is a Certified Public Accountant and current CFO of Kernan Consulting. She has over 30 years of financial consulting experience in a variety of industries. Her expertise includes financial advisory, management, leadership, merger & acquisition, developing strategic financial planning, and in-depth knowledge of manufacturing, construction, oil & gas and international markets. She is in the process of becoming a certified coach under Dave Ramsey’s Financial Coach Master Training, where the training features a Christian perspective on handling money.
Colleen was a single mom for over 12 years while raising her son. After her divorce in 1992 and living in California with mounting debt, she decided to make the move to Texas. With the love and support from her late parents, she became involved in church and slowly started rebuilding her life. Over a 7-year period, she bought a home and paid off all credit card debt. Now happily married to Jim Henneke, Colleen and her husband reside in Cypress, Texas and are active members of Bayou City Fellowship.
Crista graduated from Texas A&M with a degree in Wildlife Ecology, and there are few things that have shaped her faith as much as learning about God’s creation. Crista also has Master’s degree in Counseling from Sam Houston State University where studying people's’ thoughts, behaviors and emotions was divine preparation for being a mom and pastor.
Married to Brian, the “best high school principal ever”, Crista and Brian are parents to the seven most amazing kids on the planet. Some of them she birthed and some they adopted, but most of the time she doesn’t remember which are which. Crista serves those eight people second only to God Himself, and she says, “we don’t always get it all right, but there’s no question that our lives together are a gift”.
Currently, Crista serves as the Global Women’s Pastor of Bayou City Fellowship in Houston. Being a women’s pastor is her dream job – “helping women walk fully devoted to Jesus and in their identity as daughters of God”. She loves to teach the Word of God and the Redemption Story, encouraging women in their purpose and pouring into the community of the Church.
Melissa has been a Christian for 10 years and since then she has not stopped sharing what Jesus has saved her from. She is an energetic story teller that understands that Jesus can be intimidating IF you do not know him--her goal in life is to help woman (and men) know Jesus more and see that he even has a sweet sense of humor and loves us through all our highs and lows. She has been asked to speak at several different woman's events, she has been on Great Day Houston and won Houston's funniest! Melissa has been a single mom for 18 years and is an empty nester.
"Melissa Williams is my mom-she has raised me for 18 years...she makes me laugh and listens even when I don't want her to. She is strict but I'm ok with it. She understands me and always wants to know more....even if I would rather not share. My mom shares her testimony anytime someone hands her the microphone. She has a way with words. She loves telling people about our sweet Jesus. She will challenge you and then validate you...ALL in the same day!" - Kyleigh (Melissa's 18 year old daughter)
Michelle Lynn Senters
www.michellelynnsenters.com and www.seenministries.com
Michelle Lynn Senters has a message for single moms— one forged in her own journey and deepened through her years of ministry to single mothers. “You are not alone.” She is the Founder and Director of SEEN, a ministry designed to demonstrate the love of Christ to single mothers and equip churches to meet their spiritual needs.
As a former single mother, Michelle Lynn Senters understands you could use a little soul nourishment. In her book The Unseen Companion - God with the Single Mother, she explores the ten needs every single mother has and asks, “God, where are you in this?” Avoiding clichés and hurtful platitudes, Michelle offers true hope from God’s Word. Michelle is a sought-after speaker at women’s events, Bible studies, and writer’s conferences.
“Michelle has walked the journey and understands the hardships that many single mothers face. She now has the passion to use that experience to encourage single mothers to find their hope and strength in Christ. It can be done, and she wants to show you how. Single mom, allow the pages of The Unseen Companion to bless you! ~JENNIFER MAGGIO Founder/CEO,The Life of a Single Mom Ministries