Inspiration | Making a Difference with The Impact Movement

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This guest post is from Erin Burton, formerly with the Impact Movement and a previous Rejuvenate 40 Under 40 honoree. In my years of event planning, I have learned a great deal of patience and perseverance. Our major event, The Impact National Conference, takes place in December, which means our team plans from the beginning of the year until the end. Instant gratification is not a characteristic of my role. Even though I signed up for my job to change lives, I can grow weary at times and have become acquainted with thoughts like, “Is my work meaningful? Am I making a difference in anyone’s life? Is it all worth it?” And every time those questions creep out, there is an answer, and sometimes, a story that reminds me of the truth I know. One of my most recent reminders was a pillar of our national conference, The Day of Outreach. During that time, we partner with local churches in our host city to reach out to the communities where they send us. We mobilize our entire conference to hand out boxes of food. Throughout the week, conferees experience electrifying praise and worship, practical and relevant seminars, life-giving fellowship and stirring Bible teaching. The Day of Outreach is the culmination of all those things. It is a challenge to put footwork to faith and set the mission in action. In the morning, we train conferees to have spiritual conversations, they head out to the communities and when they return, we hear their stories. As a planner, I miss a lot of the conference, but this is one part I make sure to witness each year. I all but soared in the ballroom as I heard story after story of fears overcome, hope freely given, and young believers eager to take what they learned that day back to their own campuses and communities. Not only did we disperse 1,000 conferees back into the world to live out what they’d learned, we also impacted the city of New Orleans by meeting physical and spiritual needs. We distributed 24,600 pounds of food—that’s 12.3 tons—to families in need. We engaged in more than 500 spiritual conversations, the results of which we will never fully know. As I watched college students, high school students, church leaders and young adults light up as they gave the accounts of 126 people praying to know God personally, 466 being prayed for, and 220 people interested in being connected with a local church, I was able to answer my heart’s questions once again. Yes, our work is meaningful. Yes, we are making a difference. And, yes, it is all worth it.