Wondering how the BELONG Tour got started . . . and why? Here’s our story:
There’s the BELONG Team you’ll see on the stage at events: Patsy Clairmont, Angela Davis, Jen Hatmaker, Sharon Irving, Shauna Niequist, and Nichole Nordeman. Then there’s the BELONG Team you may never see: the women behind the scenes. So today your BELONG Staffers are pulling back the curtain to give you a peek at the people, the process, and the reasons behind it all.
The tour ringleader, Amy, calls the BELONG staff “a group of girls who have a message to share and truly believe women can make a difference in the world.” And by “girls” she means women of all different ages, sizes, backgrounds, and experiences. We’re single. Married. Divorced. Kids. No kids. Black. White. Hispanic. And we love having passionate conversations about the things that matter to you…and to us. You’ve told us you want help in understanding and living out your purpose, nurturing your relationships, being emotionally healthy, and discovering how faith can make a difference. We care about those things, too—and, like you, we’re often figuring things out as we go. Some days we’re a hot mess! (Can you relate?) But every day we’re learning more about the needs and hearts and concerns of women like you who are leading dynamic, constantly-changing lives.
Many of us worked together producing the country’s largest inspirational events for women. As that twenty-year tour began drawing to a close, we talked and prayed and pondered what might be next—and how to continue spreading the power of story, hope, and humor to an even broader audience. We’ve been steeped in a culture that is all about grace: not about following rules or trying to get everything right but about telling the honest truth about life—the struggles, the disappointments, and the heartaches. Reassuring people that in the pain of life, we are not alone. That we can laugh. Because, let’s face it, sometimes life is hilariously funny!
No one knows that more than the incomparable storyteller, Patsy Clairmont. As we looked to widen our circle, Jen Hatmaker made us laugh out loud…and pushed us to dig deeper, ask harder questions, and dive in to topics in a new way. Jen introduced us to her friend Shauna Niequist, and a conversation sprang up about a new kind of event. One that would invite other women into the conversation and take a message to a bigger world. That would reach out to women who feel alone, disenfranchised, unwanted, untethered and give them all a place to belong. A place for women and their friends to come together in what Shauna called “a wide and holy space” to laugh and cry, sing and dance, listen and learn, dare and dream. A place to connect with others and reconnect with the purpose planted in your DNA. A space where women of all kinds can share their stories without fear of rejection. An opportunity to learn other women’s stories. And, for those who need new stories, tools and encouragement to write them.
Shauna introduced us to her friend Sharon. We asked Nichole and Angela to join the party. And so the BELONG Tour was born: because every woman needs to know she belongs. We are on a mission to let every woman know she is not alone and that she matters; that embracing her story will make all the difference. Because we believe that a woman who understands who she is and what she is capable of can change the world.
If there was any doubt that our world needed changing, surely the events across our country last week have put those doubts to rest. In ancient times there lived a girl who won a beauty contest and became a queen. Her name was Esther. When violence threatened Esther’s people, there came a point when she had to step up and do something about it. As her adopted father told her, “Who knows? Maybe you were made queen for just such a time as this.” That’s how we feel about the BELONG Tour . . . that we are here, in this place, with these people, for such a time as this.
We hope you’ll join us at a BELONG Tour event. After all, you are here—in this place, at this time—too.
For our people. For our communities. For our world.
We want hearty exchanges with the people we love and safe places to fall.
We want to peel back the layers and offer the best of ourselves. Our best is rarely perfect, but that’s OK.
We’ll take real over perfect any day. And real happens here.
We’ve encountered faith, wrestled with it, embraced it and wrestled with it again.
We all have untapped power that can change the world.
There’s passion there, and fire, even if it’s just a spark. Let’s fan that flame and make things happen.
We can do this. We can laugh together. You are not alone.
We’ve readied a place for you to come in, to share and to heal and to dance . . .