Recently I was in Sydney while Colour Conference was on and I was unlucky not to realise prior to booking my trip, so I didn’t get to go and enjoy it and I felt pretty silly, but on the positive side I did get to buy Bobbie’s amazing new book ‘The Sisterhood’ while I was there.
For me this book was almost an account of my life since I got serious about my relationship with Jesus back in 2001, so I was actually quite emotional while I was reading it. I found myself sitting in cafes and on the plane leaving Sydney with tears rolling down my cheeks as I realised just how grateful I was to be woven into ‘The Sisterhood’ so early.
The book starts with a lot of Bobbie’s early story, becoming a Christian in NZ in the 1970s and how God spoke to her very early on in ways she probably didn’t entirely understand at the time, but we can see clearly were preparing her for leading this army of women. I liked reading more of her early days, as I think it’s too easy to get caught up in gossip or just sit back and judge people without knowing of their struggles and insecurities. For me, Bobbie is always an encouragement that God can use me and my unique gifting, and I’m from an even more obscure place in NZ, one of the smallest and certainly most isolated countries in the world.
Bobbie talks a lot about the birthing of ‘The Sisterhood’ or Hillsong Women, which it was known as back when I first came on the scene. I went to my first Hillsong Women event in London in April 2002 and I remember sitting there in a room in a gym in North London with Pastor Cathy Clarke and about seven other woman where Cathy talked to us about all sorts of important things, but the stand out for me was encouragement that she didn’t get married until she was 34 (ancient in Australian Pentecostal circles in those days) and feeling like maybe, just maybe, I was in an environment that understood me. For me though, when the real ‘a-ha’ moment came, to borrow from Oprah, was when I moved to Sydney in August 2003 and was invited to attend Hillsong Women on Friday mornings as I was a shift worker and could actually go. I remember clearly that I pulled what is referred to as ‘the face’ at the thought of attending a daytime women’s ministry meeting. I thought I was the first person ever to be so rude, but I was quickly reassured ‘it wasn’t like that’ and so I gave it a go. Of course, I fell in love with Bobbie instantly and got on board, little knowing what that even meant. I think I thought I was learning how to be a good wife, if I’m quite honest, but what I got was so much more. I honestly don’t think I’d be the woman I am today without Bobbie and the movements across the world that she’s birthed.
It was particularly funny to read about younger women, like me, pulling ‘the face’ and the battle in the early years to get us on board – I wasn’t the only one! She also outlines the Proverbs 31 journey as it unfolded, which was also signature in my own life and if you weren’t around back then, well it’s a great way to get up to speed with the birthing of the movement that is now The Sisterhood. I also loved reading about how the Colour conference story unfolded as well, so many signature moments in my life have happened at Colour and it is lovely to remember those moments – the mirror gift Colour in Sydney 2004 really stands out for me and she tells the story of that gift being the trigger for more significant gifts in the future at Colour. How lovely is it that Bobbie chooses to give all delegates a gift each year? She also mentions the strategy behind the decorations and openers, all a very deliberate part of the overall message of each Colour and for me the chandelier in 2004 stood out, funnily enough I found a picture of that in my photo album recently, I must have loved it that much.
Bobbie writes with in a way that is very similar to her conversational style, though with the benefit of being able to edit she heads down the ‘rabbit-warrens’ less than when she speaks (I personally love the rabbit warrens, she’s usually hilarious). Though, don’t worry, there are definitely a few thrown in, which, if you love Bobbie feels only right. This book can be gifted with confidence to women in your world I feel, as it’s an easy read, but not overly girly as it has a simple cover and the style isn’t particularly feminine either. I really hope and pray that women who’ve been turned off (for whatever reasons) by Colour and The Sisterhood will read this and find their place in the story too.
It’s actually also a great book for the men in our lives as well, I’m sure they always wonder what really goes on at our conferences and it’s an easy way to get on the page, without the excessive oestrogen exposure of Colour. While I was outside a café reading it in Sydney a guy at the table next to me asked me what I was reading and was super excited to hear about it – I got to tell him about church and he was really keen to check Hillsong in Sydney out. I really believe this book will be a conversation opener and tool for so many of us.
I really can’t recommend this book more highly and I’ll personally be gifting this book to many women in my world, it will encourage and empower you to do what you’re called to do on this earth. This book is now released in the UK and can be bought here on Amazon, it’s soon to be released in the US.