Listen: Bobbie Houston chats to Hope 103.2’s Laura about her book, ‘The Sisterhood’.
When Hope Media’s Laura Bennett heard Bobbie Houston had released her new book, The Sisterhood, she asked the Hillsong pastor if they could chat about it—over a drive-through coffee.
“Because true sisters go out and get coffee,” Laura reasoned.
Bobbie thoroughly agreed that it’s always time for coffee, and so the pair set off in style (in the Hope 103.2 car) for a chat about all things girl-power.
The book tells the story of the “Colour” conference, formerly known as “Colour Your World”, and the women’s movement called The Sisterhood, birthed 20 years ago by the Hillsong pastor.
The book’s descriptive subtitle – How the Power of the Feminine Heart Can Become a Catalyst for Change and Make the World a Better Place – sums up Bobbie’s driving motivation: nurturing and empowering women to change their world.
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An End To Old-Fashioned Women’s Ministry
In her chat with Laura, Bobbie said The Sisterhood represented a new era for Christian women that was far removed from the more introspective “women’s ministries” of previous generations.
“We love the church and the potential of the church and I really respect what is historically known as “women’s ministry”,” she said, “but the Bible talks about wineskins that serve one generation perfectly, but maybe not the next. So the truth of who God is doesn’t change, but sometimes how we do it does change.
“The Sisterhood has just put new language and parameters around [women’s ministry]. It’s crossed some lines that I think were generational, where young women would perhaps not see themselves as part of traditional “women’s ministry”.
“I think all those barriers have been beautifully broken down. The Sisterhood represents a really wide, gorgeous demographic of girls.”
The other era that is now relegated to the history books, said Bobbie, is the days when women were not allowed to use their gifts and talents.
“I think for many, that day when women couldn’t have a place and couldn’t be front and centre and couldn’t bring what’s on their life,” Bobbie said. “I think that’s well and truly passed.”
The Secret To Colour’s Success
One of the secrets behind Colour Conference’s broad appeal, and the growth of The Sisterhood social action movement, is that it’s not an advertisement for Hillsong Church – but a gathering to encourage women from all denominations and backgrounds to do what only they can do in their hometown.
“Obviously we’re a local church, but part of the anointing on our church is to throw wide the door and champion the cause of local church everywhere,” Bobbie explained.
“Over the years many women, pastors and leaders, have come from all around the world and I think they trust me that we’re only going to encourage them to love the Lord Jesus Christ more, and fall more in love with their own church, community, and what they’re called to do.
“I carry that carefully.
“So when we gather I’m mindful of that. We’ve got women coming from all denominations, from every walk of life, and I want to send them back to where they’re planted.”
Encouraging Women To Put Their Faith Into Action
If, like the Bible says, “faith without works is dead”, then Colour Conference and The Sisterhood work to keep women’s faith well and truly alive. The movement encourages women to be complete in Christ, and active in caring for people in their local communities and in the world at large. It’s kept humming along year-round primarily via social media and women’s own local initiatives.
“I don’t do Colour Conference because I want to host a big, flashy, fabulous, gorgeous conference. I do it because of what lies beyond that.”
It’s sparked initiatives like “A21”, rescuing women from sex trafficking, as well as “Be The Change” and “The 500 Project” encouraging women to bring social change with local initiatives. The Sisterhood also supports Watoto, a Christian orphan care organisation in Uganda.
“We all have a local to be responsible for, but there’s a global world also,” Bobbie said. “So when girls get that revelation, they put their hand to local needs, and when we come together, we can put our strength into global problems.
“No-one on their own can solve poverty or human trafficking, but together we can join our strengths, resources, prayer and heart, and begin to make a difference,” Bobbie said. “And that has been the fruit of the Sisterhood.
“I don’t do Sisterhood and Colour Conference because I want to host a big, flashy, fabulous, gorgeous conference. I do it because of what lies beyond that. I think every woman with faith needs to be praying for our nation, for breakthrough, and really believing that the Church can be who she needs to be for humanity.”