The Pearl: Story
The Pearl Project was originally inspired by the birth of my daughter, Emery Dawson. It’s whole mission and purpose is to create discipleship-rich environments for women to flourish in as they grow deeper in their faiths and deeper in their relationships with others.
That mission represents what I hope to offer to Emery (3) and to her brother Daniel (1) over the course of my lifetime.
Since it’s inception The Pearl Project has become a multi-layered vision that I feel incredibly blessed to be stewarding. We know that life is all about relationships and character formation, and we need people along the way who love us enough to call out who they see us becoming in Christ.
I believe that our spiritual growth in these areas is done best in community. I also believe that God has specific plans for each and every woman (and man), and has designed each woman to contribute uniquely to the world. We need each other to contribute to a flourishing world. We need you! Yes, you!
When we as women are utilizing our gifts & talents, and living in our truest identity, it changes the way we relate to God, to others, to ourselves, and to the world around us for the better, and to the glory of God.
I cannot think of a more stunning, brave, and amazing thing than to gaze upon a woman who is living in freedom, walking in truth, and speaking life into every place she goes.
The love that we have for one another is supposed to be the indicator to an unbelieving world that we are genuine followers of Jesus. That means that we should take the quality of our relationships seriously. It is my hope that through the events of The Pearl Project, that women build a meaningful connection with God and with one another.
The Pearl Project has defined Discipleship as Relational Leadership.
Our apprenticeship to Jesus has all sorts of implications for how we relate to others, to ourselves, and to the world around us. As we take our apprenticeship to Jesus seriously, we begin to thrive and become more like Jesus- and in effect, more like our real true selves.
We want to offer the same relationship to others. We want to give God away, and we do that through the process of discipleship.
Although diverse in subject matter, The Pearl Project will be pointing to these 5 concepts that govern Relational Leadership, or Discipleship (to Jesus):
What is the heart-posture behind The Pearl Project?
My heart for The Pearl Project is to speak into the lives of other women as if I were speaking into the life of my own daughter- through that lens of love and discipleship.
The older I get, the more i’ve grown to appreciate the life-changing power of the gospel. I hardly recognize the girl that I was in my past, and I am humbled and beyond grateful for the transformation that I have experienced in my life as a result of the gospel.
Loving God has moved from a “heart” experience of my youth to become a much deeper integration of all of my faculties, where loving God with my mind plays a more robust and powerful role in my overall spiritual transformation than it had in my past.
I want to offer my children the same insight and teaching that I hope to offer to you as well through The Pearl Project- through the careful cultivation of the life of our minds. From my experience, doing this whole loving Jesus thing is a much richer experience in the context of relationships. Having the opportunity to discuss ideas with other believers is the ‘iron that sharpens iron.’
“When one person is struck by the Word, he speaks it to others. God has willed that we should seek and find His living Word in the witness of a brother, in the mouth of man. Therefore, the Christian needs another Christian who speaks God’s word to him. He needs him again and again when he becomes uncertain and discouraged. He needs his brother man as a bearer and proclaimer of the divine word of salvation. He needs his brother solely because of Jesus Christ…Christ opened up the way to God and to our brother.”
Life Together, Dietrich Bonhoeffer
What is the trajectory of the outreach you hope to achieve with The Pearl Project?
I feel personally called to engage the unbelieving culture around us because they make up our greater community that we are called to serve. It is an art to be able to articulate, defend, and offer legitimate reason for WHY, as believers, we believe what we believe, and how it actually transforms the details of our lives. This is why I have such an appreciation for Biblical Worldview studies.
With that, I hope to perhaps offer the believer some fresh tools to work with as they pursue their apprenticeship to Jesus, and I hope to provide the unbeliever with some ideas to grapple with and contrast with their previously conceived notions of Christianity.
Loving God with my mind and with my whole person has increased my faith abundantly. It has increased my confidence and ability to have difficult and yet meaningful conversations with the unbelieving people in my places. God has been so faithful to reveal Himself to me in new and fresh ways, shaping my inspiration to take what I have learned and offer it back to others.
Through our discipleship to Jesus, I believe that we are ale to better understand our purpose, our identity, and our value from God’s perspective. That understanding of who we are, from my experience, completely alters the way that we live. It effects the way in which we relate to God, to others, and to the world around us. Knowing WHO we are and knowing WHOSE we are enables us to live in a much more free, powerful way that inspires and encourages others to do the same. That’s leadership.
To effectively engage our culture and in order to be a faithful leader in an unbelieving world, I believe that the careful cultivation of the life of the mind is a necessary aspect of our spiritual formation.
We are all being shaped by something(s) or someone. Spiritual formation is not a Christian thing, it is a human thing. As stewards of this life that we have been given in Christ, we have to think about what we think about! (The life of the mind).
What we put into our minds seeps into our hearts, and what comes out of our mouths is a reflection of what is in our hearts. Through Jesus’ work on the cross, we are invited to fill our minds and our hearts with the truth about who He is, so that we can speak life and truth into the world around us.
This happens best in life-on-life interactions with others, by doing life with Jesus together with others. When our mind begins to understand the immensity of the love that God has for us, it trickles down into our hearts and becomes the basis of our personhood. This love is a gift, and it shapes our understanding of how to be human and how to love the people to our right and to our left.
I hope that at the very least, you are encouraged by what is on offer here.
Jenna Randall Hays