Bright Lights began in May of 1996. Sarah Mally, a seventeen-year-old at the time, was concerned about the spiritual walk of many young ladies she knew. The Lord gave her the desire to begin a discipleship ministry in order to share with these girls some of the things the Lord had taught her. She decided to call the group Bright Lights. BRIGHT stands for Being Radiant In Godliness, Holiness, and Testimony.
Sarah sent out brochures to several young ladies she knew, inviting them to come to Bright Lights. This wasn’t a group of just fun and games—it was a group for girls who were serious about spiritual things and desiring to be challenged in their walk with Christ. Initially, she invited the most mature girls she knew in order to establish a core group that would cultivate positive peer pressure. Sarah wasn’t sure how many to expect, but word spread and soon about thirty girls were coming. It was encouraging to see these girls making personal commitments to read God’s Word each day, to honor their parents, to keep a clear conscience, to minister to their brothers and sisters, and to shine their light brightly for the Lord!
Bright Lights began for girls ages 10-13. These important years are just before the fork in the road when young people make choices about which direction they will go. The goal of Bright Lights is to give young ladies the training and preparation they need so that they can make it through their teenage years strong for the Lord without rebellion or failure. Our desire and prayer is that Bright Lights would be a group with positive peer pressure—where girls would be lifted up by godly fellowship rather than pulled down by negative influences.
Many parents are worried about their daughters, concerned about the teen years, and looking for good fellowship for them. Sarah was encouraged by the enthusiastic response of the parents. “Bright Lights was just what our daughter needed at this time in her life,” one mother said. Others explained that they appreciated Bright Lights because it reinforced the same things they were trying to teach at home. One father said, “When our daughter gets home from Bright Lights, she calls the whole family together and teaches all of us the things she learned.”
Since 1996 Bright Lights has seen God’s hand of direction and blessing in many ways. The original Bright Lights group is still running and there are now about 75 girls who attend. Many of the initial girls in Sarah’s group—who were 10-13 years old when Bright Lights started and are now in their upper teens and twenties—have continued to be very involved in teaching the younger ones and passing on to others what the Lord has taught them, as well as serving as “staff” for Bright Lights.
In the spring of 2001, Sarah decided to organize a Bright Lights conference in order to involve her “older girls” in leadership and give them an opportunity to teach. The girls in her group were growing and Sarah wanted to give them more experience in ministry—knowing that when you teach others, you are the one who grows the most! She and these girls had already been praying that the Lord would give them, as a group, opportunities to reach more young ladies. By teaching a conference, Sarah hoped to accomplish two things at once: reach more younger girls and give the older girls in her group important ministry training. The first “Strong in the Lord Conference” was held in May, 2001. Through skits, testimonies, stories, and small group teaching, they covered topics such as being strong for the Lord in your youth, keeping a clear conscience, giving your heart to your parents, and making brothers and sisters best friends.
Little did they know that this was going to be the beginning of a whole new aspect of the Bright Lights ministry! Over the years, He has been opening doors for them to continue to host Strong in the Lord Conferences and Radiant Purity Conferences for thousands of mothers and daughters across the nation and in other countries. In the past 8 years, the Mally family and Bright Lights staff have led nearly 50 of these conferences throughout the country and in Singapore and Malaysia.
Sarah and the Bright Lights staff have also had the opportunity to train many other young ladies to begin Bright Lights groups in their own areas. There are now about 500 Bright Lights groups that have started in 39 states and 9 countries. The Lord provided an office building for the Bright Lights staff in Marion, Iowa where they continue to develop new resources for Bright Lights groups and mothers and daughters.
Praise the Lord who loves to take 5 loaves and 2 fish and expand in ways that were never imagined!