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?