Jen Hatmaker is the author of seven books and Bible studies, including A Modern Girl’s Guide to Bible Study. With a heart for the women of her generation, she speaks at retreats and conferences around the country. Jen and her husband, Brandon, reside in Austin, Texas with their three children, and lead the ministry work at Austin New Church.
From The Author
When I was two-years-old some compassionate woman gave my mother the book “The Strong Willed Child.” Although she clearly exaggerated my mischief, it is common knowledge that I've always been a handful. I have just always felt my feelings very strongly. Now while this sent my mom to the medicine cabinet, it has proven useful in the hands of God who can make something out of any mess.
I just plumb fell in love with Jesus in junior high. My inner radar for Him was very developed, and I’m embarrassed to tell you that as seniors, my three siblings were voted: Biggest Flirt, Loudest Girl, Best Smile. And do you know what I was voted? Most Inspirational. I was a lot of fun. I’m just saying I’ve been this way for some time.
I was given a godly legacy by my mom and dad, who have served in full-time ministry for over twenty-five years. My parents taught me that it is possible to love God entirely and still be the fun house on the block. They gave me humor, which is the second largest weapon in my arsenal behind God’s Word.
I went to Oklahoma Baptist University where I met and married my sweet husband, Brandon. He was a ministry major and I studied education. In 1996, we moved to Tulsa where we began our first careers: Brandon as a Student Pastor at Southern Hills Baptist Church, and me as a fourth grade teacher. We sprouted little wings there, and definitely crashed and burned more than once. My main ministry objective then was to support Brandon.
There our first angel came to us in 1998: Gavin. He was followed two years later by our princess, Sydney Beth. And pulling up the rear two years after that was our pistol, Caleb. We are blessed with hilarious kids who have only taken us to the ER three times to date. There are no shrinking violets in this family, but I don’t know where they would’ve gotten that DNA.
In 2000, we moved to Austin where Brandon was hired as an Associate Pastor at Lake Hills Church. It was here I was first forced into women’s ministry by my Girlfriend Trina who asked me to lead a Bible study. I told her: “Forget it. I’m scared of women. I only know how to talk about boyfriends and parents.” She bullied me though, and I reluctantly agreed.
Who knew I would fall utterly in love with women?! I came home every week blabbering on about how rich Bible study was with adults. God began a work in me that semester. I started separating from student ministry and planted roots in women’s ministry. Now Lord knows I was terrible at first, so I’m sorry Everyone Who Sat Through My First Year. But my kind church came up under me and said, “We’ll walk with you into your calling. You’re awful, but we can see it under there.”
In the summer of 2004, I wrote a book on my favorite topic: studying God’s Word. If that sounds so boring, I can only promise you it is littered with humor and funny stories for all the Real Girls out there. (I don’t know how to be any other way.) God placed it in the hands of a publishing house that has become dear to me: NavPress. In a ridiculous turn of events, they asked me to write four Bible studies to boot. Book #6 - “Ms. Understood: Rebuilding the Feminine Equation” - comes out July 2008. So crazy. I never planned on being a speaker and author. I wanted to be Janet Jackson.
In the summer of 2007, Brandon and I stepped down from an incredible seven year post at Lake Hills, and started a new church in the Spring of 2008 (www.austinnewchurch.com) in south central Austin, a section of our city that is economically and ethnically diverse, socially unique, and has an unusually high percentage of single parent families. We are in the greatest adventure of our lives, (thrilled to find out that where we have planted is known as the “church planters graveyard”) and have made some incredible new partnerships in ministry. We’ve learned that: 1.) God goes before His servants, and 2.) starting a church is not for wimps.