This past weekend I held my first Mastermind event for authors. It was called SCRIBE.
17 gifted authors attended from all over the USA, including Canada, both male and female writers. I had no idea if it would work or not. It turned out that the event was beyond anything I could have imagined.
The way people connected so quickly was remarkable. One man observed during the first introductory dinner, “How long has everyone known each other?” My answer, “They all met one another for the first time today!” He was baffled, stating that they acted as if they’d known each other for years.
All throughout the event, those who attended were connecting on a deeper level, far beyond what they were learning and sharing about writing books. In our final session, we all shared what we took away from the event. It was then that I discovered that the Lord had hijacked the event.
People were sharing how spiritually transforming the connections they made were. Some were sharing through tears. There were praises to the Lord, groundbreaking spiritual insights shared, and even prayer for several people. The conversation went on for over two hours. I was stunned. At a few points, I myself wiped away tears. I’m still living in the afterglow of the event.
Beyond the valuable content I desired to impart, I wanted to give these authors an unforgettable experience. But I had no idea that any of the spiritual dimensions would take place. That came out of nowhere, and it was mind blowing. As with all of my Mastermind events, the relationships continue through a closed Facebook group.
The point of the story is this: Everyone is lonely on some level. God’s people (especially) are hungry for in-person connections. And most of us have underestimated and undervalued the power of those connections. Those connections are far more valuable than the “stuff” we routinely spend our money on.
It is for this reason that I plan to continue to hold Mastermind events.
It is for this reason that I plan to continue to hold Mastermind events. If you are interested in attending SCRIBE 2018, join the wait list here.
If you are interested in attending my Mastermind for those in ministry (MinistryMind), join the wait list here.
What follows are some testimonials from those who gave me their feedback right after SCRIBE ended. It will give you a peek into what took place this past weekend beyond what I’ve awkwardly tried to communicate. Some are letters written to me; others are testimonials. I hope you’ll take a moment to read them.
First and foremost, I want to thank you for inviting me. Though it seems like the generic Christian response to say, “I was blessed,” I cannot think of a better way to express how I felt about the weekend. From the moment we all congregated in the hotel lobby, the conversation was instant. The fellowship was deep, it was healing, it was effortless, it was rich. I didn’t anticipate how much it would feel like drinking clear, cold water after a long period in the desert. I don’t know exactly how that instant spiritual intimacy could be duplicated in the future, but if it could be, you have a priceless treasure in this.
I was not only the grateful receiver of incredible fellowship, but I also received so much meaty content and “take-aways” from all that you shared in the sessions. I know others are more accustomed to the world of publishing, but as a writer who’s primarily written on a blogging platform, I was very new to it all and thus benefited tremendously from all you had to say. I have a much greater understanding and all the tools needed to take my writing from my own mind all the way to a tangible book. It makes what once felt like an unattainable goal (publishing a book) something that is now truly doable. And I thank you for that.
I know I shared on this last night, but I was also incredibly blessed and impacted by just how welcoming you and every one of the other men were. It’s something that we women don’t always encounter. In Christian circles there are so often spoken and unspoken assumptions for where a woman “belongs” and “doesn’t belong.” I have felt stifled by the belief that women belong in women’s only groups, talking exclusively about being wives and mothers.
This weekend, I felt so freed, so safe, and so welcome. My voice was not only seen as equal and welcome, but I was encouraged to amplify it, to speak louder, and to speak with authority on the subjects that burn in my heart without reserve.
I can’t tell you how healing that was for me. To be quite literally and metaphorically offered a seat at the table, and to feel like I actually belong was incredible. I am writing this through tears. I just want to thank you for using your voice and platform and influence to stand up for women in the church. I felt it through your messaging and I’ve seen it on your social media as well. From a woman who has felt the oppression of men who do just the opposite, thank you. Thank you so much.
Honestly, I can’t think of anything I would change or improve as far as this weekend goes. The food was divine, the setting was serene, the conversation was richly satisfying, the content was meaty, the schedule was efficient without squelching organic conversation, and it was incredibly informative. The breakout sessions where we broke up into small groups … an incredible idea. I would most certainly repeat that, especially with your preface of keeping things positive and encouraging.
Thank you for your honesty and openness. Thank you for humbly and generously giving your experience, knowledge, and expertise. Thank you for the atmosphere that you set so the rest of us could partake in such a rich experience.
~ Lauren Mickler
The phrase “It changed my life” is so overused by ads for face creams and exercise programs that it has lost its punch. So I will use two different words to explain the incredible weekend at SCRIBE.
Pivotal: SCRIBE was a key pivotal event for me bringing great clarity and direction to a passion I have had for the past twenty six years. Frank gave us incredible insight and practical knowledge of the publishing process. He encouraged us to not take the gift God has given us to the grave. The beauty of SCRIBE was the blueprint given for a structure to write and publish. Frank’s mentorship inspired us to put the written flesh God had given us on a dependable skeleton.
Coalesce: Coalesce is used to describe the moment high in our atmosphere when independent tiny water droplets band together and fall to the earth. They come together attracted by each other or possibly a small particle. These molecules individually are not heavy enough to fall, but when they come together collectively they begin to form weight and heft. Coalescing together, they fall to earth bringing rain to a dry parched planet. The truly amazing and wonderful “lightning in a bottle” moment this weekend was realizing the diverse group God had assembled around Frank to bring God’s rain to a dry planet.
SCRIBE was a life-changing experience for me and I am blessed to have been a part of it. The weekend was lightning in a bottle.
~ Scot Moeckel
I’ve been to many conferences, seminars, and workshops in my life. Some good, some not so good. SCRIBE was so much better than any other event I’ve participated in before. Nothing I’ve been to before even compares to it, not even close.
At the very least, and it’s no small thing, it delivered. Everything Frank promised was received and every expectation I had was exceeded. On top of that, the quality of attendees was amazing. He invited the most amazing group of people, and before long it almost seemed like a group of friends. It was that strange, in a good way.
I can say confidently that there was not one moment that I felt uncomfortable with Frank or with anybody. And then, as if that wasn’t enough, the venue was this cozy big house on a river that could’ve been a movie set with staff that made the best food. We had people waiting on us with the best service one could ask for.
A fantastic and unforgettable event. Everything I was hoping for in a writer’s conference and more. I left with tools, ideas, and most importantly, a great confidence of becoming a successful writer. I am tremendously grateful that I was a part of it.
~ Larry Pittman
I cannot thank you enough for SCRIBE. You brought so much of yourself to the event as well as practical wisdom and knowledge to bring your students to the next level.
The teaching sessions offered an abundance of information in a simple and well laid out format. The people themselves offered wonderful counsel and feedback during the interactive sessions. The connections made during those sessions are priceless to me. I received deep encouragement and direction from those times.
However, the event went much deeper than that, and it seems you are well aware of that yourself. The meal times were wonderful. It wasn’t just the food that was amazing but the company. Conversations seemed to go pretty deep pretty fast. It felt like home. That vibe is not something that can be orchestrated. A person cannot coordinate what I believed to be a work of the Spirit in progress. Thank you for facilitating memories.
Personally, I was very moved by the last gathering time after dinner. It seems as though I encountered Jesus Himself with skin on in the presence of those who love Him. This was not just a group of writers coming together with a common goal, but a team of powerful lovers of Jesus who just happen to enjoy writing. My heart is full as I write this.
Frank, I was very moved when you mentioned my name personally and spoke of my writing. I don’t even have words at the moment to describe what I am feeling right now as I think of it, only that it was very special. It wasn’t special because it was a form of endorsement or promotion, but more that it felt like inclusion. It felt as thought you were including me in your world. It meant a lot considering how much I value you and your writing.
You have brought me hope again. I feel like this is the beginning of me coming out of a very dark season of life and this is a ray of light for me.
~ Toni Imsen
Though others can teach the topics you covered in SCRIBE, there is a Spirit dimension that was inherent in the event. It’s not something you had to conjure up, but it was present and resident. The Presence of God was actively involved. I’ve not seen anyone else empowering others in this manner. God has added impartation to your information.
~ Brett Wade
When you asked me to talk about my books and then gave me encouraging feedback, I almost lost my train of thought because tears came out of nowhere. I had that experience a number of times over the weekend. It made me realize how little genuine encouragement and empowering words I hear in my space.
God has given you a platform and you have used it to empower others. Your emotional generosity was refreshing.
I don’t experience that, but I believe I will more and more in the future. The interactions gave me hope that there are good people to collaborate with who are not competitive and comparative in everything they do.
I believe the groups I was placed in were God ordained for many reasons. I felt stretched and pushed into uncomfortable places that I believe were for good reasons. The empowerment in the feedback propelled me to stay the journey and keep plowing what I feel called to write, teach and equip people in.
Your genuine kindness and generous spirit towards me showed clearly that you were not just interested in my business. You really want to help people, and you created a safe place for them.
~ Mark DeJesus
I am a bit overwhelmed on many levels following the event. And it’s not information overload for me. The overwhelming sense I have is that there is one thing coming to a final ending and another thing opening up before me. I knew I needed a group of writer friends. I knew I needed and wanted a place to feel safe and free to be who I am in the Lord.
I knew I needed and wanted to find the kind of fellowship that only kindred hearts find. I knew I needed to take the next step as an author. What I didn’t know is that I would find all of them in one place, with one group of precious people, over a short weekend trip.
The setting for the event was beautiful and the people were amazing—such servant hearts on display.
~ Andrea Sims
What an incredible weekend. I think the single biggest take-away for me has been the sense of value and worth that I’ve received personally. I have rarely felt the worth of what I have to offer to the Body of Christ as I have yesterday. That’s huge.
The discussion on how to handle rejection / lack of inspiration / losing interest in writing was immensely valuable for me. Reframing “No” was a great insight. As an emotive, social person I find it very easy to feel rejected even when no rejection is intended. I had already begun adopting the “reframe” approach to negative social stimuli, but you presented it in a writing context excellently. Thank you!
This was a stellar event. I’m still basking in the afterglow, and I think I will be for some time. I have much food for thought, much inspiration, and in many ways a new family. I am beyond blessed.
~ Jonathan Puddle
Wow! What an incredible weekend! I get a little emotional just thinking about it.
First, I want to say thank you for this opportunity. It was an honor to be counted among so many incredible brothers and sisters. I am thankful, also, for the chance to express my thanks in person to you for the impact your ministry has had on my life.
Let me start by saying that I would very much like to do this again next year with the same group; an inaugural group “reunion” each year. Is it selfish not to want to add others? One of the things I really LOVED about the weekend was the intimacy of such a small group that fostered community and fellowship. Any larger and it would not have been quite the same; the dynamic would have been completely different.
The information you presented was invaluable; so many rich treasures! I am still processing!! The setting was an excellent choice! Beautiful. Serene. Relaxing. It also contributed to the intimacy, community, and fellowship that was created.
The connections I made this weekend, especially as it relates to our shared relationship with Christ, were quite special. I tend to be a little shy and somewhat introverted, but everyone made me feel safe opening up. In the first minutes of meeting Jonathan before our first session on Saturday, he prayed with/for me; it was beautiful and so very special. I know that this is the beginning of some life-long friendships.
It is hard to find adequate words to describe. It was an honor and a privilege to be seated at a table with such an amazing group of men and women, brothers and sisters in Christ who I am grateful to have met and who I look forward to continued and growing friendship and community. I get emotional thinking about it still. Humbled and grateful
Thank you for this opportunity.
~ Michele Stanford
SCRIBE was an outstanding event. Not only did Frank share a great deal of very useful, very helpful material, but he also opened the floor so that others in the room could freely share their wisdom. This resulted in an incredible amount of knowledge and encouragement for all of us. Frank would “draw back the curtain” so that we could learn his writing process and the process he used to get a book published.
Perhaps even more valuable than the knowledge that he and others shared was the encouragement that he shared with us.
The small group exercises in which we read each others’ work, picked out the parts that were “strong,” and gave each other suggestions for making the writing “stronger” were also very helpful.
It provided us with the opportunity to learn from each other in a more intimate setting. The small group exercises were an essential part of the gathering. The meals were also fantastic, especially the final dinner.
This was a time for deep spiritual connection, freely sharing the life of Christ that is in us and the wisdom that God has given each of us. Frank clearly brought us together and led our time together, but he also made it very clear that we were to share anything helpful that God or our experience has given us. And so it was a double gift. It was a very fruitful, life-giving time.
In fact, something profound happened over Friday and Saturday. Every conversation I had had a deeper level, whether talking about children, travel, writing, comedy, the church, etc. The thread running through every conversation was the love of Christ, the goodness of God, and the presence of the Spirit.
~ Tim Oslovich
Thank you for a tremendous inaugural SCRIBE event! I praise our Lord that I was able to attend and meet you for the first time. What I know of your spirit by your books, I know by experience being in the same room with you.
~ Barry Durmaz
Do you want to write a book? Publish a book? Do something to ensure it actually sells? There’s no substitute for getting nuts-and-bolts advice from a multi-bestselling author.
SCRIBE gave me unprecedented access to Frank Viola, who not only has an excellent publishing track record, but writes books that always resonate with me. What benefit did I get from SCRIBE? First, I got over a day of access to Frank himself. I learned the stories behind his books. How was each one written? How did they get published? How well did they sell? This peek behind the curtain was invaluable.
Even more thrilling was the opportunity to hear the stories of my fellow indie authors and forge new friendships. SCRIBE has created a support network that expands the reach of my work. It’s a beautiful thing. What’s more, God’s Spirit showed up at this conference and planted something more than just publishing strategies in our hearts. Through SCRIBE, Frank assembled a group that crossed denominational and generational lines. We all had instant rapport and we sharpened each other. I cannot imagine having not gone to SCRIBE 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida.
~ Bren Hughes
Thanks for an incredible weekend. Your openness with us gave people permission to be open. There were so many unexpected moments that were deep and rich and encouraging.
I came with an agenda of getting my head screwed on straight for the book-launch phase of my new book. What I was given was much more than the mechanics of planning a launch; my heart was dealt with. Everything that we do emerges from the heart, so in the end, that’s so much better.
I appreciated your intentionality in getting women to the event, and elevating their voices. I was surprised and encouraged by the surprising range of theological and church-stream that was there.
I am leaving the event today with a lighter heart, and confirmation that this book needs to be written–especially as it will challenge me in my own growth.
Thanks so much for taking the risk yourself and creating space for this to happen.
~ Marc Schelske
I especially appreciated the pace (much slower than many conferences that overwhelm you with information). I also liked how it focused on connecting us to one another, rather than just sitting at the feet of a guru. I actually expected it to be much more “Frank-focused.”
After hearing you share, I no longer feel weighed down by the excuses that I’m not disciplined enough to be a full-time writer, or too people-focused to be a full-time writer. That alone was worth the price of admission. I also feel empowered by the community of people who are pursuing the same goals.
~ Jared Stump
I feel it will now be nearly impossible to escape this call and responsibility to WRITE!!! Thank you for pouring out valuable information, but also for pouring out your heart to us! I want to duplicate your relaxed informal atmosphere which I have longed for and tried to present for so many years. It seems like the whole event was nearly perfect!
~ Fred Kornis
It’s hard to figure out how to improve on such a great event. I am really impressed with the instant community afterward on the closed Facebook page.
~ Rick Michels