By guest blogger, Natasha Fish, NWM Board of Directors Secretary
Today I sat down with Naomi Wright, Executive Director of NWM, to find out the 8 things you need to know about NWM’s upcoming DE[LIVE]ERED: Live Free conference series. Click the link for the full schedule and mark your calendars: the second livestream session will air on YouTube on June 9 at 6PM EDT, and will conclude on July 7.
In the meantime, here’s the skinny:
Natasha: Why a conference?
Naomi: When my family and I were driving back from our January road trip to record season 1 of the podcast, I was talking to God as the scenery blurred by. I felt so heavily that these topics surrounding religious abuse needed to be more deeply discussed from various angles, not only supporting, but also equipping people. I had been waiting for opportunities to be asked to start this conversation in a public sphere, and I felt God saying, “I’m telling you that it’s time and I want you to move forward. You need to create it because I’ve already invited you to do it. You don’t need someone else’s permission.” I’ve been committed to the discussion about religious abuse, and how to support and equip people, getting out there, no matter what.
Natasha: How did you move forward with that goal when challenges arose?
Naomi: Many who have been following know there was a change in the format of the conference, but the NWM team and the presenters have all seen the positivity in that change. Even while it wasn’t the original plan, we have all felt God move through the transition from a full-day event to a conference series. I have held the final product of what the conference “should be” loosely. Even though I can get hung up on details and aesthetics, getting the information out there was what was most important. Minimally, people needed to know that they were seen, heard, thought of, and cared for, which drives us forward to make this conference happen despite it not looking how we first envisioned it.
Natasha: Why a conference series instead of a full-day event?
Naomi: We have had great feedback about the series format. Part of the benefit is that because religious abuse is a heavy topic, a full day can simply be too much for someone to absorb in a healthy way. The series format allows adequate space to sit with the information, which prayerfully leads to positive transformation as people are supported and equipped.
Natasha: Where does the name “DE[LIVE]ERED: Live Free” come from?
Naomi: I got DE[LIVE]ERED tattooed on my left wrist after a dramatic and significant shift in my personal life in 2015. For the first time, I saw and felt the power of God through his Spirit. The tattoo reminds me of the feeling of freedom that can come from his presence, despite the ridiculous number of obstacles that can try to get in the way. DE[LIVE]ERED is a reminder of that experience, a motto for moving forward in life, to keep my eyes on God and the work of Christ on the cross, and not on everything else that tries to bring me down. I will still have challenging days and seasons, and because of them, I will still need healing and support, but ultimately, God gives me the freedom to live in the deliverance that he has sacrificed to give me. My heart for this conference is that it will be a step in that same direction for those who attend it. I want people to regain their freedom to choose to follow Christ or to not. I don’t want their choice to be made for them by someone who treated them unjustly. I want them to live free. Prayerfully, I want them to come to know who Christ is and to live in the freedom only he provides.
Natasha: Why did you choose the topics, such as “Grieving Well”, “When Church and Community become Triggers”, and “Red Flags of Leadership”?
Naomi: I wanted to address the mind, the heart, and the soul of the person in discussing the topic of religious abuse. I have not seen anyone out there integrating caregiver support, grief support, apologetics, biblical studies, and prevention awareness into one conference. All of these areas need to be addressed in a cohesive presentation. So while we’re limited virtually this year in providing an environment that tends to all these areas, we can do that through this variety of topics, and are excited about our ideas for caring for the whole person in very tangible ways through future conferences.
Natasha: How did you choose these specific speakers?
Naomi: I chose the topics first. Then I thought of who I knew of or knew personally who would be best suited for the topic. I wanted to make sure that each speaker was well matched to the topic on which they were presenting. Having heard all of the pre-recorded presentations, I can attest to the presentations’ excellence. The fun surprise I didn’t expect is that each speaker took a different spin than I had envisioned when I chose the topic, and it’s incredible to see the results. Watching the videos has even served me; I wish there had been something like this for me 10 years ago. I know the pain and needs of experiencing religious abuse. Even though these topics are not exhaustive, I’m hoping this conference is a start for people, and that they feel their pain and their needs are being paid attention to.
Natasha: What do you envision the topics will provide for people?
Naomi: The topics are broad so that the conference provided a holistic approach, which is incredibly important. Yet, the topics needed to be interrelated enough so that attendees would feel they were getting a cohesive, not scattered, message. The conference series will by means provide an exhaustive experience on these topics. In the future, as we grow and host more conferences, we will continue to take a holistic approach with the content so that the whole person can be impacted, body, mind, and soul.
Natasha: Do you plan to host this conference on a regular basis?
Naomi: Yes, hopefully annually, potentially biannually, in two different formats or lengths. This first year is on the shorter side on purpose, since this is our first time. There is so much to be shared and to be offered for people out there and we’re just getting started.
Now you know. Share with others and join us for this unforgettable conference series this summer. Click here for announced dates and topics, and to register for free. All videos will be livestreamed and available indefinitely on the YouTube Channel,