Speaking Engagements

Report Back: Jesus Camp Nantucket Retreat (and 30th Anniversary Jaunt!)

It brought me such joy, recently, to share with a great group of ladies at the Jesus Camp, Nantucket Women’s Retreat on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts. Conferences are super for reaching out to women in your community and surrounding areas, but retreats provide an intimate atmosphere for that’s conducive to both formal instruction and informal, one on one discipleship. And we had plenty of time and space for both! Many thanks to Darcy Creech Marelli for opening up her lovely homes and hosting this biannual time of refreshing for women from all over the country.

I love the way Darcy decorates her homes with these varied and striking maps of Nantucket!

My husband doesn’t often get to come with me to speaking engagements, but since we’ll be celebrating our 30th anniversary in December, we decided to make this a “working second honeymoon,” driving up to the retreat together, exploring Nantucket, and visiting any sites that caught our fancy on the drive home. (In case you’re wondering, it’s about a 24 hour drive from our home in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to Hyannis, Massachusetts, where we caught the ferry to Nantucket Island.)

Our view from the ferry as we docked in Nantucket.

Darcy and her friend Sheree graciously picked us up at the ferry and whisked us out to the High Point, the Jesus Camp property, a lovely home and guest house perfect for hosting retreats and other getaways. (Ladies if you enjoy admiring beautifully appointed homes, be sure to check out the slideshow and video of High Point here. You love the nautical and local island themes!)

Things got off to a cozy start Wednesday night with the arrival of all the retreat attendees. We shared a delicious dinner, then had the opportunity to hear everyone’s testimonies. Our backgrounds varied from those of us who were born and raised in church and came to know Christ at an early age to those who had survived abuse, or walked on the wild side, or were involved in heretical church backgrounds before coming to Christ later in life. There is no such thing as a “boring” testimony. Every new birth in Jesus is a miracle of His mercy and grace.

Thursday’s teaching started with God’s Word, Our Foundation, discussing the necessity, authority and sufficiency of God’s Word. We rounded out our instructional time with Teach What Is Good: Discipling Women in the 21st Century, examining biblical and practical discipleship and women’s ministry. Each session was followed by a time of Q&A and discussion groups.

Friday, session 1 was Hooked on a Feeling: Living By God’s Word Instead of Our Emotions. As Christians, our feelings don’t get to lead us around by the nose, we submit to the authority of Scripture instead. Our second session was Discernment 101. Both teaching sessions were again followed by Q&A and discussion groups. Many of the ladies were new to discernment and were disappointed to learn that some of their favorite ministries, authors, and teachers are false teachers. But they were all very gracious and receptive, and I had several fruitful conversations with women who were eager to learn.

During free time, the ladies enjoyed chatting around the dinner table, relaxing in the pool and hot tub, and trips into town and to the beach.

Retreat swag! Darcy kindly provided these resources and gifts for retreat attendees, and gave me a special treat of honey from High Point’s hive!

Ana, a retreat attendee who is originally from Guatemala but now resides in Ohio, brought me these lovely gifts. Homemade buckeyes and Guatemalan gifts and coffee. The sale of this coffee supports the orphanage and foster care home Ana and her husband still operate in Guatemala.

All too soon, it was time to say goodbye. It was a wonderful time of fellowship in the Lord, and I’m looking forward to going back next year! Many thanks to Darcy and her assistant, Otilia, who worked so hard to host a great retreat, took care of all my needs, and made my husband and me feel so welcome.


If your church or organization is ever in need of a speaker for a women’s event, I’d love to come share with your ladies as well. Click here for more information.


When the retreat was over, my husband, Scott, and I had the opportunity to explore the island a bit. We went out to Great Point, the farthest point on the island, and had a wonderful time seeing the seals and the Great Point lighthouse. The shops downtown were charming, and we enjoyed an authentic Nantucket dinner at The SeaGrille.

The next day, we boarded the ferry and headed back to the mainland. Since Plymouth, Massachusetts, was only 30 minutes away, we decided to make that our first sightseeing stop.

At Plimoth Patuxet we saw recreations of a Patuxet home site and 17th century English village. We enjoyed seeing Wampanoag (Indian) boats, dwellings, and a cooking demonstration. The Wampanoag word for the succotash stew (turkey, beans, corn, celery, onions, etc.) our guide was making means “throw it in”. (There’s a running joke in Louisiana that that’s pretty much what “gumbo” means, too.) They would just throw in whatever they had and keep adding to it. We sampled some at the visitors’ center, and it was pretty good – basically a turkey and vegetable soup. We also saw the English village, made up of several Pilgrim homes and a fort.

We loved the beautiful fall foliage and scenery in the Plymouth area.

Our next stop in Plymouth was Jenney family grist mill. It was situated in a lovely little area, on, of course, a running stream. It still operates several times a week.

From the mill, we walked over to Plymouth Rock. It sits ensconced in a little pavilion on the side of the road. No velvet ropes or admission fees, no big hoopla. It’s just there. Along the way we saw some other Pilgrim points of interest including the Scrooby Leyden Church / Mayflower Meetinghouse and the Church of the Pilgrimage, along with monuments to Governor William Bradford and Elder William Brewster.

Our final stop in Plymouth was the Mayflower II, a replica of the original Mayflower. It was much smaller than I expected, and very spare in its appointments.

My husband is a JFK buff, so the next day we drove the half hour to Boston and visited the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum on the campus of the University of Massachusetts. (If you’d like to hear the “My Daddy Is President” song, click here.)

I had wanted to visit New York City on our way home, but, unfortunately, we didn’t have time. This is as close as we got.

After Boston, we headed for Hershey, Pennsylvania, and spent most of the day at Chocolate World. We went on a ride that explained how chocolate is made, designed our own candy bars, went to a chocolate tasting, and took a trolley tour of the town.

And one last stop on our way home from Alabama. I finally got a chance to go to Buc-ee’s!


Photo Credits

All photos marked with a white star were taken by Ana Morales.

Photo of The SeaGrille courtesy of The SeaGrille.

All other photos by Michelle Lesley

Speaking Engagements

Report Back: Women Thriving God’s Way Retreat

What a joy it was, last weekend, to share with my sisters from Highland Bible Church of Woodland Park, Colorado at their fall retreat: Women Thriving God’s Way! Conferences are great for reaching out to women in your community and surrounding areas, but sometimes you need an event where it’s just family. Retreats provide an intimate atmosphere for the women of a local church to bond together as sisters in Christ. It was an honor to speak into HBC women’s family time.

I grew up in southern New Mexico, but I had never crossed our northern border into Colorado before, so it was exciting to touch down at the Colorado Springs airport.

First on the agenda was dinner with Pastor Jeff and his wife, Sharon (who kindly picked me up at the airport), and Adriana (who organized the retreat) and her husband Asa. In the body of Christ, you never meet a stranger, only extended family, and we had a wonderful time of fellowship together.

After dinner, Adriana and Asa checked me into the delightfully rustic Golden Bell Camp and Conference Center:

On Friday morning, Adriana and her daughter Jenny Lynn were so kind to take me around and show me some of the sights. The Colorado Springs area is home to a number of notable sites, including the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Center, the United States Air Force Academy, Pike’s Peak, Focus on the Family, The Navigators, and their striking conference center, Glen Eyrie Castle.

Since our time was limited, we focused on two other sites I was particularly interested in, The Garden of the Gods, and Charis Bible College.

The Garden of the Gods is a beautiful area just outside of town, with huge sandstone rock formations set against Pike’s Peak as a majestic backdrop. It’s easy to ignore the evolutionary fairy tales about how the rocks and mountains were formed, because it’s more than obvious that God’s awesome creative hand was at work here!

After a great lunch at a local deli, we did a quick drive through tour of Charis Bible College. I know, kind of a weird choice for sightseeing if you know anything about the school. Or me.

Charis “Bible” College was founded by Andrew Wommack, a key figure in the New Apostolic Reformation / Word of Faith movement. If you’re at all familiar with Bethel’s School of Supernatural Ministry, Charis is kind of like that but with more of a “real” college atmosphere and approach. Still, students are required to take courses with titles like “Healing,” “Holy Spirit I & II,” “Establishing a Prosperous Soul,” and “Operating in God’s Best”. And yet the code of student conduct has the audacity to admonish:

“Spreading false doctrine is not allowed…it is not appropriate to…teach against the doctrines in Charis’ statement of faith.”

The campus is gorgeous and the surroundings enchanting.

I was intrigued by this unique speed limit sign (below). No explanation was posted, and I searched Charis’ website and the internet extensively to no avail. At first I thought it was a reference for a Bible verse, but I looked at every chapter 22 in the Bible, and the only 22:53 references I found were:

1 Kings 22:53: He served Baal and worshiped him and provoked the Lord, the God of Israel, to anger in every way that his father had done.

Luke 22:53: When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.

Pretty appropriate if you ask me, but I doubt Andrew Wommack would have chosen either of those verses.

The only other thing I found is that 22.53 km/hr is roughly equivalent to 14 mph, so…maybe that’s it? I don’t know. If you know, comment below. Curiosity is about to kill me! :0)

Not long ago, my friend Justin Peters was preaching at HBC, and he and Pastor Jeff took the time to visit a class. Needless to say, their questions weren’t welcome, and they were Kicked Out of Charis. I didn’t have time to do anything that would get me kicked out. :0) (You can see more of the opulent insides of the buildings in this video, too.)

We arrived back at Golden Bell in plenty of time to rest up for a fun and delicious dinner and “getting to know each other better” time of fellowship, followed by our first teaching session on biblical womanhood: Rock Your Role at Home and at Church.

Participant gift bags. Thanks, ladies! I really needed a new journal!

Saturday after breakfast, we got right down to business with our second session: Holy Mothers (and Others) of God’s Word, one of my favorites. We strolled through the Bible and took a brief look at the lives of several of our Old and New Testament sisters, and their examples of holiness to us.

Between teaching sessions and other activities, the ladies had the opportunity to craft these cute Christmas ornaments. They kindly gave me a couple to take home. What a treat!

Session 3, Practical Holiness, a look at practical ways to pursue holiness in our daily lives, came right after lunch. And after a fun afternoon of rest and recreation, capped off by a mouth-watering supper, we ended the day with teaching session 4, God’s Word: Our Foundation, addressing the necessity, authority, and sufficiency of Scripture.

I had to get up at 4 a.m. to catch my flight home the next morning, but it was worth it to be able to be with my own church family Sunday night. Flying on 9/11 was an interesting experience. The Colorado Springs airport asked us to observe a moment of silence in remembrance, and everyone respectfully complied.


Many thanks to Pastor Jeff, Sharon, Adriana, Jenny Lynn, Russ, Ely, and all of the HBC ladies who worked so hard to host a great retreat, took care of all my needs, and made me feel so welcome. If you’re ever in the Woodland Park area, be sure to stop in to Highland Bible Church for a visit!


If your church or organization is ever in need of a speaker for a women’s event, I’d love to come share with your ladies as well. Click here for more information.


Photo Credits

All photos marked with a white star were taken by retreat attendees.

All other photos by Michelle Lesley

Speaking Engagements

Upcoming Events: Schedule One or Attend One!

Looking for a super, doctrinally sound women’s event to attend? Here are some I’ve got coming up in 2023. Can’t find one close by? Schedule your own 2023 event!

Can’t wait that long? I’ve still got space on my 2022 calendar for a few events!

Schedule an Event

Want to plan an event for the ladies of your church or Christian organization that will encourage, edify, and equip? It’s easier than you think, and I’d love to come speak to them! Read through all the info on my Speaking Engagements page, then, let’s find a date and make it happen!

2022

If you’re good at putting events together quickly, the following dates are still available for 2022, but you must contact us right away to book:

August: Any weekend
September: 23-24
(Sept. 30 – Oct.1)
October: 7-8
November: 4-5, 11-12 (last date for 2022)


2023

Need a little longer to get your ducks in a row? Try one of these 2023 dates on for size (February is booked):

January: 13-14, 20-21
March: 10-11, 17-18
April: 14-15
Any weekend from May 12-13 through November 10-11
(except June 9-10, 16-17)


Planning an event is not as difficult as it sounds – especially if you keep things simple – and my events coordinator (and husband!) Scott, and I make things as easy as we possibly can on our end. Plus, I’ve got some great resources that can help! These, plus much more helpful information, are all at the Speaking Engagements tab in the blue menu bar at the top of this page whenever you need them:

Conference schedule, teaching topics – where do we start? Right here, with my Speaking Engagement Packages worksheet. Choose from a variety of topics. Pick your format, add in registration time, worship, breaks, lunch, or whatever you like, and – voilà! – your event is practically planned.

Stuck for theme or decoration ideas? There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Take a look at a few of my previous conferences and get some inspiration from your sister event planners.

Is your church new to hosting conferences, retreats, etc., and you need a little help with the details? Check out these articles:

Women’s Events on a Shoestring Budget and Other Practical Tips

Event Planner FAQs

2023 Events

The dates and locations of these events are set, but some details, such as exact times, have not yet been finalized. Teaching topics are also subject to change.

Nebraska

Nebraska, I’m headed your way February 3-4 for a women’s conference at Providence Bible Church in Gretna, Nebraska! We’ll get things kicked off with teaching sessions on Hooked on a Feeling: Living by God’s Word Instead of Our Feelings, Biblical Womanhood, Teach What is Good (Titus 2:3-5), and we’ll round out the conference with a fun Q&A session. This conference is open to women in the surrounding areas, but you must contact the church directly to register.

Oregon

On February 24 & 25, I’ll be speaking at Grace Bible Fellowship’s women’s conference in Tangent, Oregon. Friday at 6:00 p.m., we’ll start the ball rolling with Hooked on a Feeling: Living by God’s Word Instead of Our Feelings. Doors open at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday with How to study the Bible in Session 1, followed by brunch, and Discernment in Session 2.

This conference is open to women in the surrounding areas. Registration for those not members of GBF will open November 1, 2022 and close January 20, 2023, or when seating is at capacity. Cost: $15 – includes snacks on Friday and brunch on Saturday. You must contact the church directly to register.

Ohio

No foolin’! On April 1 I’ll be speaking at a one day women’s conference at The Ripley Church in Greenwich, Ohio. Join me for a buffet of topics that are sure to equip and encourage you in your walk with the Lord. We’ll tackle Discernment, Hooked on a Feeling: Living by God’s Word Instead of Our Feelings, and Managing Media, and we’ll close things out with a time of Q&A. Lunch will be served between sessions 2 and 3. This conference is open to women in the surrounding areas, but seating is limited, so you must contact the church directly to register.

Tennessee

I’ll (Tennes)see you April 28-29 for Mill Springs Baptist Church’s women’s conference in Jefferson City, Tennessee! It’ll be a jam-packed weekend with sessions on Biblical Womanhood, The Authority, Sufficiency, and Necessity of The Word, Discernment, Hooked on a Feeling: Living by God’s Word Instead of Our Emotions, and a super Q&A to wrap things up. This conference is open to women in the surrounding areas, but you must contact the church directly to register.

To keep an eye out for an event near you,
or to schedule me for your own event, check out my
calendar of events and booking information on my
Speaking Engagements page.

Hope to see you soon!

Speaking Engagements

Report Back: Denton, Texas, Conference

I had a such a wonderful time recently sharing with the ladies of The Church at Pecan Creek of Denton, Texas, at their spring women’s conference! Ladies from as far away as Louisiana and Oklahoma, as well as various areas of Texas, came out to fellowship with us.

The FAA’s mask mandate was dropped about ten days or so before my trip to Denton. I fly a lot, and – no joke – I haven’t been this excited to fly since I was a little kid.

Felicia (wife of TCPC’s pastor, Trey Talley) was my charming hostess for the weekend and greeted me with this awesome gift bag when she picked me up at the airport Friday afternoon. Boy, were my husband and sons jealous! They love them some Bucc-ee’s, and we don’t have one in Louisiana. (Don’t worry, I shared a little bit when I got home.)

Photo courtesy of The GreenHouse

Dinner at The GreenHouse that night was tasty, and I spent a lovely evening chatting about all things women’s discipleship with Felicia and the other two elders’ wives, Melodie and Carrie.

My dear friends, Beki (Mrs. Gabriel Hughes) and Jennifer (Mrs. Tom Buck), came all the way from First Baptist Church, Lindale, Texas, for the conference. Providentially, we discovered we were staying in the same hotel, so we got to catch up for a little while after dinner. (I was just the tiniest bit excited to see them. :0)

Beki, Michelle, Jennifer
Photo courtesy of Beki Hughes

Beki brought along Sonya, another sweet friend of ours, and they blessed me with these great gifts. Beki didn’t know it when she bought the mug, but “You Are My Sunshine” is Louisiana’s state song. They told me that the Lindale Candy Co. is just down the street from FBC Lindale, so both places are now, of course, on my bucket list of places to visit.

Saturday morning, it was conference time!

All of the ladies were greeted by these two handsome gents. Holding the door open for ladies will take you far in life, young men! :0)
Welcome and check in. It was such a great idea to invite conference guests to visit TCPC for worship the next day!
It was super helpful to have the schedule up on the screens throughout the church.

In our first session on Suffering, we explored Jesus as our hero in suffering, the hope in our suffering, and ways to biblically handle our suffering.

Session two was all about Managing Media – being wise and discerning with news, social media, movies and TV, and other media we consume.

Session three was Hooked on a Feeling: Living by God’s Word Instead of Our Emotions. We studied Jesus’ example of living by every word from the mouth of God and some practical ways to be led by God’s objective Word rather than our subjective feelings.

We finished up the day with a fun Q&A session. These ladies asked some sharp questions!

Keep an eye on TCPC’s website for soon to be posted conference video. In the mean time, my good friend Robin Self over at A Worthy Walk was also able to attend, and she has kindly shared her thoughts and notes on the conference with us in her article, A Day With Michelle Lesley.

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Buck
Photo courtesy of Robin Self
Photo courtesy of Morgan Lynn
Photo courtesy of Beki Hughes

For lunch, Felicia whisked me away to Rosa’s Cafe, and I am crushed that we don’t have one here at home. The food was delicious and the atmosphere was fun!

During and after the conference there was a little time for a few more pictures…

It was a full house!
You’re never too young to learn sound doctrine!
Photo courtesy of Morgan Lynn
FBC Lindale brought a group of 41 women to the conference!
Photo courtesy of Jennifer Buck
Beki, Jennifer, Michelle, Robin Self
I love these ladies!
Photo courtesy of Jennifer Buck

And all too soon, it was time to head home.


Many thanks to Felicia, Melodie, Carrie, the pastors, elders, and all of the other ladies and gentlemen of The Church at Pecan Creek who worked so hard to host a great conference, took care of all my needs, and made me feel so welcome. If you’re ever in the Denton area, be sure to stop in to TCPC for a visit!


If your church or organization is ever in need of a speaker for a women’s event, I’d love to come share with your ladies as well. Click here for more information.


Photo Credits

As marked.

All other photos by Michelle Lesley

Speaking Engagements

Report Back: Faithful Conference

I had a wonderful time last week sharing and fellowshipping with the ladies of Providence Bible Church (and the surrounding area) in lovely Culpeper, Virginia, at the Faithful conference!

I arrived in Culpeper on Thursday evening, so there was plenty of time to rest up and prepare before the conference.

My hosts for the weekend were the perky Miss Katie and her aptly named husband, Happy. They live in a beautiful home on the lake, and I loved hearing their testimony of coming to Christ, and to each other!

My view while working Friday morning
Some sweet hostess gifts were waiting in my room

Friday, Katie was kind enough to treat me to a delicious Italian lunch followed by a little sightseeing.

Culpeper is home to the Packard Campus of the Library of Congress’ National Audio-Visual Conservation Center, “where the Library of Congress acquires, preserves and provides access to the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of films, television programs, radio broadcasts, and sound recordings.”. On my trip to Faber, Virginia, last year, I learned that the local flavor is often captured in a LOVE (“Virginia is for lovers”) sculpture. Culpeper’s is made of film reels, paying tribute to the Conservation Center.

We also stopped by Culpeper National Cemetery. Originally established in 1867 as a burial ground for Union soldiers who were killed in the area during the Civil War, the cemetery is now the final resting place for over 7500 of our nation’s heroes.


Friday night, it was time to get down to the business of teaching and studying God’s Word. (Conference audio/video will be available on PBC’s website as soon as they’re able to get it processed and posted.)

After check in and worship…

Check out what was in the ladies’ “swag bags”! I really liked the little packet of memory verses (about faithfulness, of course!) with the wooden card holder. What a great idea!
These ladies did a wonderful job leading us in song and prayer

…we kicked things off with Faithful to the Word, a teaching session on the basics of how to study the Bible.

Next up was a hearty baked potato bar for dinner in the gym. Didn’t the planning committee do a fabulous job of decorating?

Don’t you love how all the flowers match the flower art on the Faithful materials (programs, PR materials, etc.)? I love continuity of theme, and these ladies did it spectacularly!

Isn’t this rough-hewn bench gorgeous? You can see it sitting under the arbor in the picture taking area in the photo above. Heather Edgecombe, wife of PBC’s pastor, Jarred, is the one who initially reached out to me last year to speak at the Faithful conference. A few months into planning, her cancer recurred, and, sadly, she was unable to attend the conference due to undergoing treatment for it. A husband and wife team created this masterpiece to raise money for Heather’s treatment. Y’all take a moment to pray for Heather, please.

Our last session for the evening was Faithful to Our Roles, discussing the beauty of the biblical role of women in the home and in the church. The ladies then broke into discussion groups to talk over the material.

Saturday morning started bright and early with Faithful Discernment. What is discernment, and how can you tell if what you’re being taught matches up with Scripture? Faithful in Suffering was our final teaching session. As Christians, there’s a hero for our suffering, there’s hope in our suffering, and, in Christ, there’s a way to handle our suffering.

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After teaching, the ladies rejoined their discussion groups to share what they had learned.

Our last gathering was a fun time of Q&A.

Ladies from all over Virginia and from as far away as Tennessee, Kentucky, New Jersey, Maryland, and North Carolina came out for Faithful! It was a great turn out!

Lunch and fellowship was a great way to end the day!

Just a bit more sightseeing before heading home – we passed by the Pentagon on the way to the airport. I was told this was the side of the building that the plane crashed into on 9/11. Sobering.


Many thanks to Heather, Julie, Lesley, Katie and Happy, Danielle and Rob, and all of the other ladies and gentlemen of Providence Bible Church who worked so hard to make Faithful a great conference, took care of all my needs, and made me feel so welcome. If you’re ever in the Culpeper area, be sure to stop in to PBC for a visit!


If your church or organization is ever in need of a speaker for a women’s event, I’d love to come share with your ladies as well. Click here for more information.


Photo Credits

Photo of Michelle in front of “LOVE” sculpture by Katie Hash.

Photos marked “1”- Photographer unknown (if it was you , let me know so I can credit you! :0)

Photo marked “2” by Melissa Morris

Photos marked “3” by Julie Smith

Photo marked “4” by Lesley Lezcano

All other photos by Michelle Lesley.