Bible Study…Just for Pouring In or also for Challenging us to Pour Out?

I had an interesting conversation recently with a women’s ministry leader regarding Bible study. She mentioned that James…Mercy Triumphs by Beth Moore was not their women’s favorite study. One reason was that they are used to Bible studies building the members up, pouring into them. The James study was challenging to the members in a couple of ways:


1.    Decide which level of commitment you want to use as you do this study: just watch the video, also do the homework, read the deeper articles by Melissa Moore Fitzpatrick, write out the book of James, and finally memorize the entire book of James. (this IS doable by the way!)

2.    The book of James talks about our giving back to those in need, taking care of widows and orphans..looking outside ourselves and doing something to make a difference outside the walls of the church. That’s not always something we feel comfortable doing.

Now my thoughts were…well, no duh!  Isn’t that the purpose of Bible study? We grow and fill up and then pour out and give back! This leader said her women weren’t comfortable with that. My comment back was, "that’s a good thing!". They may need to feel uncomfortable. Sometimes that is what it takes for God to move us out of the place we’ve been sitting for a long time.

As leaders, if our women are continuing to attend Bible study after Bible study and yet never have life change, something is wrong. Many of you may have heard my all time favorite quote (I am not the author!):  “Consumption without contribution makes for a stuffed Christian and contribution without consumption makes for a shallow one.”  We must have a constant intake and outflow for balance.

If you have trouble getting women to move from just sitting in Bible study to do something with what they are learning, perhaps you need to challenge them to be uncomfortable!  Not everyone will respond, but encourage those who do to take a risk, serve, minister, share their faith, share the scripture that was a focus for the week’s study. God expects us to give away what He is giving us.  We have SO much.

By the way, the younger generation today feels a huge responsibility to make this world a better place before they die. One of the things they will do is help the poor and needy, whether it’s connected to the church or not. What a fabulous way to connect young adult women with older mission minded women in the church! Helping the needy because of the Gospel!

As you think about this issue, you might want to watch the web cast, Leading Missional Women’s Ministry. Show it to your Bible study group! Very challenging!

How do YOU challenge women in your Bible studies to minister outside the walls of your church?

Additonal Resources:
James…Mercy Triumphs, Beth Moore
Fingerprints of God, Jennifer Rothschild
Seven, Jen Hatmaker
Nehemiah, Kelly Minter


  1. says

    This was so interesting to read. We did James as well. We were the first to do it in our community and had about 90 ladies from the community. We prepared our ladies in advance that this was going to be a study that challenged us to” DO”. We prepared our group leaders accordingly. We did most all of the service projects that were suggested in each lesson. I found that when I as their leader adequately explain and share the passion and vision then the ladies jump right in. Many of them were memorizing, doing the hw and the extra Melissa challenges. We ended the study by having one of our LINK events. Its theme was “Faith in Action”. We had one of our local ministries for addictions bring their moving trucks and every lady had to bring a decent item to donate for the thrift store. It had to be donated out of their “excess”. You should have seen the great items they brought. Then we had a lady come speak that sold everything she had and does missions trip year round. We also had one of our team members share how she was taking a 6 week mission trip to Peru and needed medical supplies. All the ladies chose what supplies they were going to donate for her trip and brought them in.Another thing was that we gave them a sheet with ways that they could serve, minister and give right here in our community and abroad.Many of them are now involved with ministries they had no idea about before.
    The coolest thing ( thanks to our last womens forum) was that we purchased bags and jewelry from FREE SET and gave them as give a ways. We then shared about FREE SET and how they can support. Oh yeah, we gave out a few copies of “Radical” and one of our ladies has been on a mission to get rid of her excess and give all to God. WOW!
    I know I go on an on but womens ministry excites me and more so when I see the women we are investing in start reproducing.
    So, our experience with JAMES was one of the most incredible Bible study experiences we had. As a leader, I must share my passion in such a way that those around me want to grab on and find the passion God has for them.
    Thanks Chris and Lifeway for all of your help!

  2. Chris Adams says

    I LOVED reading this comment, Deanna! This is how it’s supposed to work! That’s so great! Thanks for sharing and being the catalyst
    to prepare your women to take that study seriously!

  3. Chris Adams says

    By the way, Deanna, check out Jen Hatmaker’s book “7”. We will have a Bible study on it in a few months! So challenging!

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