Singer Leigh Cappillino is proud to carry on the tradition of her group Point of Grace in hosting “Girls of Grace” conferences aimed at teenage girls and their mothers.
“It’s one of those events where mothers and daughters have the opportunity to go deeper in their relationship,” said Cappillino, 45, by phone near Nashville, Tenn.
The one-day events, which feature speaker sessions and music performances, focus on issues facing teen girls – self image, communication, eating disorders and other destructive behavior, peer pressure and other topics.
Point of Grace has been singing for more than 20 years, racking up dozens of No.1 Christian radio hits and numerous awards. But noting the numbers of questions and concerns they were receiving from young women, they began the conferences 12 years ago.
“It’s interesting, but over the years the issues are still the same,” said the singer. “We put so much pressure on our kids, because we as parents have allowed so much pressure on us. We want to break that habit.”
At the Grand Rapids conference – Saturday May 3 at Grand Rapids First Church in Wyoming – inspirational author Annie Downs and speaker Chris Wheeler have presentations. Point of Grace also leads a session for just the mothers and youth leaders in attendance.
“Annie helps the girls understand that even at a young age, they can be leaders wherever they are,” Cappillino said. “You don’t wait ‘til you’re an adult to have a purpose – you have one now.”
Wheeler, a student ministry leader at a Nashville church, has a gift for humorously communicating the nature of God’s grace – a key component of the conference.
“He’s strong in the word, thinks in their language and on their playing field,” Capillino said of his style in front of youthful audiences.
The theme of this year’s Girls of Grace sessions is “Love, Live and Lead.”
“All of us involved – the singers and the speakers – are very aware of the message and staying connected with what grace means in the life of believers,” she added.
“Many of us were adults before we grabbed hold of what it really meant, so we want to encourage this generation not to miss out.”
GETTING DOWN TO BASICS
Some of Cappillino’s favorite moments come during their session with mothers and youth leaders.
“We have found that they want help in how to communicate with their daughters,” said the singer. Cappillino and fellow Point of Grace singer Shelley Breen each have 11-year old girls, and issues of teen daughters are beginning to hit home for them.
“We want our children to respect and listen to us,” she said. “But one of the comments we get most from the teens is ‘My Mom doesn’t listen to me – she’s always ready to interrupt or storm out of the room.’”
Constant mother “multi-tasking” may not always be in our best interests when communicating with daughters – or sons for that matter.
“You have to tell them I love you unconditionally and that you’re more important than unloading the dishwasher or folding the clothes,” Cappillino offered.
The sticky subject of social media is also explored.
The third Point of Grace member, Denise Jones, has two teenage boys, and desires that godly girls will be the ones to influence them in their dating lives and beyond.
INTERWOVEN WITH MUSIC
Among the musical guests are the pop vocal band Royal Tailor, singer-songwriter Chris August (with his signature song “Starry Night), and Dara Maclean, whose 2011 debut album included the hit “Free.”
But Point of Grace also shares some of their music, albeit with many more fans among the moms rather than teens.
“They’re gonna get some of us whether they want to or not,” Cappillino smiled.
She said they’ll mix some of their older tunes (“Gather At The River”) with newer material from their most recent CD “A Thousand Little Things.”
“Actually, during our songs is when some of the moms let their hair down, and it’s fun for the daughters to see that and it brings in an element of relaxation,” she said.
But her greater wish is for the teens and moms is to put into practice some of the insights and suggestions offered at “Girls of Grace.”
“To say you’re a cook is one thing, but to be in the kitchen and know what you’re doing is another.”
In the fall of 2012, a Girls of Grace conference filled Sunshine Church in Grand Rapids Township with its mix of speakers and music artists. This time around the event is in the more spacious facility at Grand Rapids First Church.
The Christian publisher Zondervan is one of the sponsors of the conference.
“We always love coming to Michigan, they always treat us so nice,” said Cappillino, who says the group returns to the area June 21 to sing at Maranatha Bible Conference in Muskegon.
If You Go:
GIRLS OF GRACE: A conference for teen girls, their mothers, and teen group leaders, hosted by the music trio Point of Grace
Featuring speakers Chris Wheeler and Annie Downs, and music artists Royal Tailor, Dara Maclean and Chris August.
When: 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sat. May 3 at Grand Rapids First Church, 2100 44th St SW.
Tickets: General admission $59, gold circle $69; group rate $45 (call to arrange group tickets 888-483-0018). Other tickets available online – lunch available on site for extra fee.