Recently I’ve been tasked with the charge of getting women in my church to dig deeper into the Bible.
Wait, is that crazy?
First of all, they’re already going to church, so that should be enough, right? They’re getting a dose of Scripture consistently every Sunday. How could they have a need to dig deeper? Don’t people at church know how busy they are?
I’ll admit, I have this dream that my fellow Christian sisters are waking up in the morning, getting a hot cup of coffee, grabbing their Bible and their favorite devotional/journal and settling in on a couch or in a warm chair to have quiet time with the Lord.
And then the balloon pops and I sink back down to reality…not every woman is afforded that private time.
Some women have a set time they like to meet with God, others worship/pray/interact with Him on the morning commute, and others are woken up before the sun rises by little feet and these women aren’t able to get a cup of coffee until almost noon! (And yes, you may substitute any other hot beverage into my dream, I’m not opposed.)
Hence, why I need to figure out ways of helping women to meet with God on a regular basis. I have a desire to help them so that their souls can be filled, their days aligned with His will and their hearts ready for obedience. And let’s be honest, whether or not we have a ritualistic quiet time every morning, or we read a week’s worth of OUR DAILY BREAD, the first step is recognizing a need to stop the rush of the world to hear Him through His Word.
To get personal for a second, I truly realized just this year that my prayer time needs to be more consistent. I was very good at rushing into the day and doing what I thought was right, and many times I failed because I hadn’t spent time speaking with the Lord, waiting for His response, or reading His truths. That kind of disconnection is unacceptable as a believer. Truly. Paul says we are runners in a race and as runners, we have to train. The more we train, the easier it gets. But we can be spiritually out of shape. That lack of connection to God should push us to desire Him more. That sensing of the Holy Spirit that guides our steps should be missed when we aren’t hearing Him.
As a quick sidebar, I have often thought about the ways that God chooses to interact with us. At the onset of Creation, the Bible explains that God was present, He walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and was verbally relational (see Genesis chapters two and three). Throughout the many MANY years since the beginning of Creation, God has continued to be present. After the Fall, He manifested in different ways (burning bush, cloud of fire, thunder, lightning, etc.) but never forsook humans. Even before Jesus came, God resided in the Temple. The Messiah, Jesus, came and was God in human flesh. When Jesus left after His atonement work was finished, He promised to give us a Comforter, to empower us so that we could do God’s work and never be alone.
The reason I digress, is that the Holy Spirit and the Word of God are the two main ways that we interact with our Father today. We have direct access to God because of Jesus’ work on the cross. Once we become a believer, we are able to pray directly to the Lord (Jesus is the ONLY INTERCESSOR necessary) and wait for His response. And what a gift! To be able to present our unworthy selves before Him for all requests (Philippians 4:6) and instead of seeing our sin, He sees His Son.
When hoping to help others seek the Lord, I have to admit, prayer for each lady has become essential. It’s not up to any human, really, to get another human to WANT to seek God. The Holy Spirit draws us to Him and we obey that call. My desire, of course, is to want these women to meet regularly when we have women’s group during the week, spend time throughout the week when we’re apart meditating on what we’ve learned, and have their own private time so that God can reveal to them through the Holy Spirit what it is that He wants them to know/do.
I hope to present classes that push the envelope a little, make them question things, give them a desire to go home and study more for themselves, research and come to their own conclusions for when the groups meet again. That would be idyllic. However, I know every woman I’ve met who comes to our meetings has a different agenda for the evening. There are some women who just come to check it off of their list for the week, some who say they get nothing out of it (??), and some who honestly love what they’re learning. The truth is that each woman will get out of the studies what they choose to put into them. And the other point is that I can’t wear that kind of responsibility. As a leader for teaching, I have a heart to get everyone excited. I can talk about books that have touched my heart and boosted my faith, but I cannot guarantee the same response in every woman.
Each believer is responsible for their own walk with God: their hearing of the Holy Spirit, their obedience with His requests, their intention on the nights we meet, that is all up to them. I firmly believe in being attentive to fellow believers so that if they are feeling discouraged, we can assist and come alongside to lift them up. But by all means, I can’t make any woman want to go deeper if they don’t have the desire themselves. I can pray with them if they feel like they are unable to move forward, but even the next step in that will come from the Holy Spirit for them.
Regarding these women, I feel as if I can listen to their needs, I can try to find materials that match, and tend to newcomers who don’t have years of Bible-reading under their belt.
A common misconception, in my opinion, is that people who go to church have full knowledge of the Bible.
Psst…want to know a secret? I’ve never read the Bible all the way through.
I know…please don’t turn me in. What would the other church people think!? 😉
I know it’s crazy, but God uses broken people to touch the lives of other broken people. There’s no theological Master’s degree requirement to lead a bible study (thank God, or it’s back to blogging with me). I would stress, however, that a heart that is open to God is essential, and a woman who loves other women are qualities in fellow leaders that I desire to have on my team. Aside from that, I am admitting that I’m stumped when it comes to answering how to get them to dig deeper. I know what works for me. I love spending time with God and being quiet. I can speculate other ideas, but unless I get a green light, I’m limited.
Since I was a little girl, I knew that I had a purpose. Not strictly a godly purpose as I wasn’t sure of my faith until my teens. But I knew I was made for something. I can’t explain how exactly, but that feeling has never left me. The one time it was challenged was during my divorce, but I never lost the feeling that my words would benefit someone else. I don’t know if that has happened already, or if God has something planned that is much bigger, but I take the time each time I write to ask for His guidance first. And the same is true of stepping into a role that I was asked to do.
I’m sure that the weight of any church volunteer is heavy. When it comes to women’s ministry, I have to remember dynamics. Each woman has a need to connect, engage and learn. I’m learning more and more that we all think so differently and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. But the goal of a church isn’t to lose people during the trial/error process. We want to offer what works and what helps women to grow.
So I beg of you: Have any of you out there been a leader for bible studies? Or a teacher/facilitator for ministry offerings? What were some things that your women were impressed with, or grew from, or asked for more of? I have some amazing ideas, but found out that I’m very restricted in what I have chosen to do, and before my heartache grows further, I would love some extra insight.
I appreciate any and all responses. Thanks from the bottom of my heart!