2017 was our year of pivot to prepare us for 2018—change for good!
For all the more visible ministry milestones we spotlight below, there were hundreds of hours of invisible ministry that made them possible—the tedious but necessary tasks of administration, planning, data management, correspondence, paperwork, research, online design and programming, working with freelancers, contracting for services, and much more. Honestly, each very visible peak of ministry that you see sits atop a mountain of ministry that you don’t see. Here are some of the milestone peaks for 2017.
REnew my heart conference 2017
We took a final lap of conferences with a new event called Renew My Heart. We were in five states this year—Colorado, California, Texas, North Carolina, and Oregon—more than we've ever done in a single conference season. After the final year of Mom Heart Conferences in 2016, the new 2017 event was a fitting way to end our ongoing, annual conference ministry. The format for Renew My Heart was looser and much more interactional at the tables, and gave us an opportunity to work with our Mom Heart leaders one last time up close and personal. Although we may still offer an occasional conference in the years ahead, we are excited about the opportunities God is already creating to replace what we did for 21 years every winter and spring. In the midst of those five conferences, Sally also made a trip to the UK for the first-ever Mum Heart UK Conference in London. The event sold out with women coming from all over the UK and even the European continent. It was the "first fruits" of a larger ministry now being envisioned.
different, and The Lifegiving table
This was a two-book year for Sally with Tyndale. January saw the release of Different: The Story of an Outside the Box Kid and the Mom Who Loved Him. It is the deeply personal story of what it was like for Nathan to grow up in our family with ADD and OCD, and what it was like for Sally to be his mother. They even had the privilege of being on The Today Show with Hoda and Kathie Lee. Then in October, Sally's newest book released, The Lifegiving Table: Nurturing Faith Through Feasting. This is a book Sally has long wanted to write about the power of food and the table for faith and love in the family. It is the story of her traditions and recipes from 35 years of being a wife and mother. Of course, each of those books also had a companion group discussion and study guide that released as well—A Different Kind of Hero (written by Joel), and The Lifegiving Table Experience (written by Joel, Joy, and Sally). And, although it won't release until May 1, 2018, Clay spend the summer writing The Lifegiving Parent: Giving Your Child a Life Worth Living for Christ and The Lifegiving Parent Experience. We also released a revised and expanded version of an older Whole Heart book now titled 10 Gifts of Heart: What Your Child Needs to Take to Heart before Leaving Home. It has been a year of books in the Clarkson family.
Mom Heart Ministry and Mum heart ministry
Mom Heart Ministry continues to grow and mature, not just as a key ministry initiative of Whole Heart, but as a Spirit-led worldwide movement of small groups for Christian mothers. The MomHeart.com website is managed under the steady hand of Jennie Nelson to train and equip moms for ministry to other moms. The Mom Heart Groups Facebook Group page has about 2,600 moms on it who are involved in Mom Heart groups. Finally, Sally opened her Colorado home in June to about 30 national leaders for a Mom Heart Leader Intensive. It was three days of intense planning and envisioning that has already borne some fruit just coming to maturity. After the successful first Mum Heart UK conference in April, Sally continues to work with a new leadership team in the UK to help Mum Heart UK get started, and to plan a leadership intensive and up to three more conferences there in spring 2018. At the same time, Mum Heart Australia continues to grow with new events and groups. Mom Heart, and Mum Heart, are beating strongly.
At Home with Sally & Friends Podcast
One of Sally’s strongest gifts is speaking, and she loves to speak extemporaneously. When she discovered podcasting, it was a perfect fit for her. Her At Home with Sally and friends podcast continues to touch lives and find new friends. In its first two years, her podcasts have been downloaded over 1.6 million times, and her podcast ministry just keeps growing. She launched her podcast to give her an opportunity to reach more connected moms in the increasingly mobile world of the internet and social media. In her weekly podcast, listeners get to “listen in” on her thoughts and insights about motherhood, home life, living by faith, and the Christian life, as well as unscripted, natural and lively conversations with her guests. The podcast is available on her blog at SallyClarkson.com, and on iTunes.
Ministry Websites and Josh west
We have been in the process of a systematic makeover of our online presence. Our goal is simply to be more effective in serving parents over the internet. Part of that process has been moving many of our websites to the new-gen Squarespace hosted platform, known for its contemporary design and responsive website themes for easier viewing on mobile devices. SallyClarkson.com was first, then WholeHeart.org. This year we did a total design makeover on Squarespace for our books and reading website Storyformed.com. Sarah Clarkson brought the first website into existence in 2014, and now our friends Holly Packiam and Jaime Showmaker are shepherding the new site. Next on the list are MomHeart.com, MyFamilyFaith.com, and a revamped LifewithSally.com. And none of this would be happening without Josh West, our first full-time employee in our 23 years of ministry. As our Admin-Tech Assistant (see Staff below), Josh is a God-provided tech Ninja who finds ways to make all our intuitive and random digital visions come to life on the internet.
Life with sally online course & community
Sally's conference speaking for 25 years was an untapped treasure. But then, at the Mom Heart Leader Intensive in June, Gretchen Roberts and Jennie Nelson got together and presented a plan for curating all that treasure into online monthly courses for a subscription membership website originally called Cultivating Life with Sally. It was an idea we had talked about for months, but they planned it and would become the course curators for five topic categories—motherhood, home, discipleship, education, and leadership. Josh West, our admin-tech assistant, is the tech brains behind the site that keeps it running. The site launched in September and has grown steadily since then, and we've added more content creators and features, such as life streaming events. Soon, the site will become simply Life with Sally, and we'll expand the community features as well. Life with Sally will be a major component in the future of Whole Heart Ministries.