Who: Jennifer and Phil Rothschild, Jennifer Rothschild Ministries
When the Rothschilds held their first Fresh Grounded Faith event in 2008 (a sellout with 1,400 attendees at Columbus Avenue Baptist Church in Waco, Texas), the catalyst for starting the conference was more of an insistent nudge than a calling. “Jen and I are a team in everything we do, and this was a matter of both interest and necessity,” says Phil. It was a matter of interest in that Jennifer, who founded her ministry back in 1986, had long been speaking about Christ to women at other events. She wanted to create something unique to her own feelings about women and Christ, designed to accommodate her “minister mom” lifestyle. And it was a matter of necessity, in that Jen is blind and relies on Phil as her main support.
The result of their effort has been a series of 13 annual events nationwide for eight years. Each is hosted by a local church, aided by about 125 volunteers who learn about and execute the Rothschilds’ management plan in the six-month runup to the event. The host church provides a venue for up to 2,000 people living within a relatively short commute of the event location, a key factor in the conferences’ ongoing success. “It builds up the local church, brings together the surrounding participating churches and promotes unity among all the faith-based groups in that area,” explains Jennifer. “We think that’s important.”
What keeps the conferences fresh is the sense of genuine fellowship the Rothschilds continually infuse in them. Roughly a third of attendees are first-timers. “We make sure these women are reaching out into their community to other women who don’t typically, or consistently, attend church,” says Jennifer. In effect, a friend, not a stranger, invites and brings women to Fresh Grounded Faith, making the experience more accessible and less intimidating. “If they have a Venti-size cup of faith, a leaky cup of faith or just a drop of faith, they’re all welcome here,” says Phil.