The church is a community and central to that community is the Word of God. When we gather together, feasting on the daily bread, “teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom” we are as we should be, as we are called to be. One of the greatest joys for me in ministry is meeting together with other women around the Word of God (and a good cup of tea or coffee.) 🙂 Women from all walks of life, backgrounds, ethnicity, ages, and from various stages in their faith joining their lives in community around God’s Word is thrilling to me. I learn so much from them. We have met everywhere from college dormitories, condos, church buildings, coffeehouses, my house, and even outside. Wherever we met became for us a sanctuary as God’s Word instructed us, encouraged us, challenged us, and increased our wonder and awe of our magnificent God. What women’s Bible study does for us that co-ed studies, or life stage groups cannot do is that it is the immediate equalizer. Women, we get each other. But what women’s Bible study does for us that other women’s groups (craft groups, book clubs, girls night, Bunco, etc) cannot do is that instead of the group making us more like each other, women’s Bible studies are intended to make us more like God. And we get to “spur one another on to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, but encouraging one another…”(Hebrews 10:24). This is what women’s Bible study is for- spurring one another on, meeting together, encouraging one another, and central to all this is the Word of God.
Maybe you are wanting to start a Bible study yourself, but you don’t know where to start. Here are a few, simple things to keep in mind as you plan to begin a group of your own:
- Consult your pastor. Unless the Bible study meets in your home, you will want to check with your pastor first before you start a new group. There are important things to consider if you wish to initiate a Bible study in your church. Does your church already have a women’s Bible study? If so, make sure that your study will not compete or conflict with any existing women’s group- the pastor can help you with this. It is important to always go through the leadership in the church and not be a lone ranger- this is to protect you, communicate between groups, and keep everyone accountable.
- Start small. Not too long ago, I spoke with Jen Wilkin about the best way to reach the maximum number of women in my church for Bible study. I asked her: How do I help cultivate a culture of Bible study with the busy women in my church? As I pray for the women, how do I encourage them to understand the importance, value, joy, and sustenance that we receive when we fellowship with God through His word? Where do I tell them to begin? This was her response:
I think the answer will vary from church to church depending on how entrenched the current “culture” of Bible study (or lack thereof) is. In my experience, it has started small and sort of become contagious as others became enthusiastic about it. Is there anyone in your church who can teach? Women need to see other women who are crazy about actual study.I just started teaching in my home, writing studies that helped women learn to ask good questions and use good tools. It sort of grew from there. It didn’t feel like a program or a sorority meeting, and I think they were just ready for that.I look at it like this: if two women come, it’s still the right thing to do. And who knows who those two women will impact?