Surrendered: An Interview with Her Virtue Director Kayla McCusker

Victory Life Church’s Her Virtue is an annual camp retreat in which hundreds of young ladies ages 12-18 gather together to spend a weekend in worship, growing in connection, and discovering purpose. Throughout the weekend, campers participate in a range of fun activities, workshops, small groups, powerful teaching, and passionate worship.

Each year the Her Virtue team puts in weeks of prayerful preparation with one goal in mind: that lives will be forever changed by the love of Christ. For many returning campers and leaders this event has become synonymous with radical encounters with the Lord and moments that set the course for the rest of their lives.

Now, in it’s 11th year, Her Virtue is under the directorship of ministry leader Kayla McCusker and her team.  I got to sit down with Kayla to get an idea of what the journey to Her Virtue 2018: Unveiled has been like, and what’s in store for these ladies this year.

Q- This is you and your team’s first time to be responsible for the planning of a Her Virtue Conference. What has that process looked like?

A- So, I have a team of 7 and we meet every week. The first few meetings we were just sharing what was on our hearts. We didn’t talk about the logistics of the conference. All we did was share what we were going through in our lives and things we were struggling with. The second meeting was more of a “so what’s on your heart for Her Virtue” meeting. And it’s really cool because everything we had to say was all connecting. The Lord’s just awesome like that! There have been some challenges but overall it’s been one of the best seasons I’ve ever had. Because there is so much to do, in the back of our minds there’s always that thought that we forgot something but we’ve worked through it. The team that we have for Her Virtue makes everything a piece of cake. They’re awesome.

Q- What’s on your heart this year for the ladies attending?

A- Our hearts behind what we want for Her Virtue to be this year was first off…this year we are dealing with some heavy stuff regarding sexuality and everything that’s going on in the world…things that have entered not just the culture of the world but the culture that we as young people host. We knew that it was going to be more of a difficult year. We were going to have to jump through some things that we didn’t have to in previous conferences. There are so many different temptations and struggles out there, so how do we cultivate a culture where your temptation isn’t who you are? Where you can say, “I’m dealing with this, but it’s not who I am.” It’s a huge identity issue. We were wanting to create a place where they belong despite if they were dealing with pornography, same-sex attraction, whatever it is. We wanted to go with a theme that would allow us to instill truth into everyone’s heart so that when they leave the conference it’s not just another weekend.

Q- What does the theme Unveiled mean?

Picture going to an art gallery and there’s this masterpiece that has been the talk for months now. The whole conference is leading up to an unveiling. Unveiling the beauty in Christ’s work. We want them to know they are still wanted, they are still apart of this Kingdom no matter what they’ve struggled with. A huge goal of our team is to pull at the roots of whatever struggle they’re dealing with, not to say you shouldn’t be doing this but to find the root. The deeper reason why. Unveiled is about identity.

Q- You’ve attended Her Virtue every year for years? What was your experience as an attendee?

A- I’ve never left a Her Virtue conference feeling like I was missing something. I’ve never left feeling like that was a waste of my time. Her Virtue is where I received my prayer language. It’s where I was baptized in the Holy Spirit. Some of my best friendships were formed at Her Virtue. It has kept the momentum of my walk with God up. It’s once a year but it was always something to look forward to.  It kept the momentum there, kind of fanned the flame. It helped me to find a community of people dealing with some of the things that I was dealing with and going through some of the things that I was going through.

Q-What would you say to young ladies who are apprehensive about attending Her Virtue?

A-The thought of going to a conference is very intimidating but my advice is that you have nothing to lose. If you’re going to take a chance, take a chance with a group or people that are on the same page as you. Her Virtue is a judgement-free place. I’ve dealt with some pretty heavy stuff that I feel like came forward at Her Virtue but was never judged.

Q- You’ve been leading in your church for 6 years and are one of the hardest workers I know. What advice would you give young ladies who feel called to leadership roles?

A- There are so many times in this walk, in being in ministry on a volunteer level for so long, that you feel you were promised something and it didn’t happen. The biggest thing I’ve learned is that if you are continuing to seek after the Lord and being obedient then there’s nothing but promotion. The times I’ve felt the most down about myself or my place in ministry was when I had paused seeking after the Father.

Q- Finally, what does surrender mean to you?

A- Thankfully, I’m in a church that encourages female leadership but since it is kind of a new thing culturally, you find yourself dealing with insecurity but wanting control at the same time. Having struggled with comparison and being so young in ministry,  I know what it is to surrender to self. In order to get to the place I knew the Lord was calling me to, I had to surrender my insecurities. Surrender is laying down anything that is self. Especially leading a team. If I’m not willing to surrender to self then it’s not going to be the team’s Her Virtue, it’s going to be my Her Virtue which isn’t going to be as good as the teams.

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