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22 December 2017

Ruth Awogbade: transforming how women engage with faith

Ruth Awogbade: transforming how women engage with faith

Ruth Awogbade currently serves as the youngest ever Board member at the Evangelical Alliance. Featured in mainstream national and international press, she is recognised for her work on faith and issues for women of her generation. Under the banner 'Faith-Feminism-Fashion' she runs Magnify magazine and regular Magnify events. We found out what inspires her transformation work.

You are known as someone who has transformed the way women engage with their faith and the issues they face. How do you feel your work highlighting them has changed people's lives and the way they approach them?
Well firstly I'm very honoured that you would say that and I don't take the vision God has given me lightly or for granted. I think for any demographic of human beings, when you see yourself reflected in the stories told, it inspires you where you are in your own life.

Growing up in the church, often the narrative I saw in the Christian world was predominantly white and male. With Magnify, I've always been very intentional in telling and highlighting people from a diverse range of backgrounds and sharing their various life experiences and faith stories. So not just women but men from every culture and race. I feel women seeing women like them in Magnify and our aspirational focus has made a lot of women feel they can relate; and feel like they want to explore faith more because they've been able to engage with people who they could relate to even on a human level.

Do you feel using design and brand that is contemporary and speaks to wider audiences has meant more people have been drawn into the debate that might not have engaged previously?
For me, it's never been an intentional effort to use design or branding to engage people. I feel God gives all of us interests, gifts and passions which can be used to reach people. For me, I've always been passionate about communication and creativity. Naturally that is how I express myself even in everyday life. I definitely feel Magnify has been able to challenge the stereotype of what people think a Christian platform or publication should look like. I think it's not just the surface level of the aesthetics but actually the stories and subject matters we discuss; whether it be mental health, bereavement, success and ambition, the arts, relationships. That has meant we've been able to engage with people from across a spectrum. 

Has the impact of this changed wider communities? What have you seen that has changed?
What warms my heart is stories of people engaging with Magnify and using it to engage those in their spheres of influence and see a culture change. I remember speaking at a church and a guy bought 15 copies for his female colleagues. He emailed later to tell us how in his office, it then led to so many conversations about faith. Equally a lady who was a gynaecologist, spoke about how often she would have young women coming in to her office – often in very difficult situations.

She bought copies of Magnify to leave in the reception area and told us such encouraging stories of how rather than reading gossip magazines prior to appointments, women were filled with a sense of hope from reading Magnify. Equally, when we hear of churches using Magnify as an outreach tool – often when they've previously had difficulty engaging millennial women – it's humbling.

You were part of Movement Day - what would you advise people to do in bringing about their positive aspirations into reality for 2018?
I absolutely loved Movement Day. Specifically I was involved in the Women's Track and it was so inspiring to see so many passionate and confident women in one room. I loved hearing the stories of women who had been able to impact in their sphere of influence and also encourage each other as e shared the challenges of being women in leadership.

My advice to people would be firstly, know that God has called and placed you where you are. Often we can feel unqualified or lack the confidence to know we are where we are for a reason. Secondly, encourage and build up others. It's so important we have humility to know that it takes more than one person to achieve change. And finally, never lose heart. Making change and going against the grain is never easy and can feel exhausting at times but never give up and stay in faith that better days are ahead.

What can people get involved with at Magnify now and in the new year?
The vision of Magnify has always been to share the gospel with women and encourage them that they can make a difference in their sphere of influence. Although our focus is evangelistic, we always hope it encourages women who already share the Christian faith.

So firstly, you can get a copy and perhaps think of getting a copy for friends, colleagues or family who don't yet know Jesus at hellomagnify.com. We ship worldwide so wherever you are you can get one!

We'll be kicking off again with our monthly events for those in London in 2018.

Finally, we'd love you to pray for us and our work. Running something like Magnify is not only costly in terms of time, money and people but also given our vision is to see women's hearts come back to Jesus; serious prayer is needed and always appreciated!

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