“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…” 1 Peter 3:15
Last year I moved forward on something the Lord had been nudging me to do for a long time.
I decided to host a neighborhood Bible study.
For some background– I have been in ministry a long time. I worked for my church for several years and organized the women’s Bible study each semester. I trained the leaders and equipped the teachers. I thoughtfully chose the curriculum each year and did most of the larger group teaching.
You may be wondering why hosting a neighborhood Bible study was so intimidating to me! Sadly, it had a lot to do with fear. What if no one comes? What if I talk too much? What if someone doesn’t like it and never comes back?
The Lord provided my sweet friend and neighbor Bethany to help me get over myself long enough to send out the first email to several women in the neighborhood.
The email was short and simple. We were starting a Bible study and we would love for them to join. I chose a very short 5 week study to begin. (I’m sure I thought if I crashed and burned it would be over in 5 weeks!)
To my delight, the time I spent last year with my neighbors was some of my very favorite time studying God’s Word. After our initial 5 weeks, we moved forward with another study and ended up meeting from September to May. Every week was different. Sometimes only a few came. Other times we had 8-9 women there. They all came from different backgrounds and Biblical knowledge. Here is the best news: every week God showed up!
Questions were asked and discussions were rich. Because we had such a small group, no one felt they couldn’t interrupt to question or ponder.
Can I tell you something? It was SO FUN!
I feel silly thinking about why I was so afraid. The Lord had led me to do it, why did I think He wouldn’t be there every step of the way?
Our neighborhood group has been on hold since we had to leave our home after the flood in May. I miss it so much. I miss the sweet ladies, their hearts to learn and pour into each other. I miss the times when I didn’t have an answer and had to say I would look into it and try to come back next week with something. I miss the banana nut bread my dear neighbor Ann would bring. I miss the prayer requests and getting to know what was on the hearts of those who I lived nearby.
Can I encourage you to pray about starting your own group? I encourage you to pray about reaching out to those in proximity to you. It may be your neighborhood, apartment complex or your workplace. Open your home or find a friend who will partner with you and let those women know you care enough about them to invite them over to talk about God’s Word.
We want you to have something in your hands too. Now you don’t have an excuse, right? Laura Wilcox, president of Sacred Story, and I have co-authored a 5 week study called “Living Your Story.” We would love to send it to you free! The topics are relationships, freedom, surrender, obedience, and change. If you would like a copy, please contact us.
I’m so thankful I finally took the plunge. I hope you do too! If you jump in and do the study, I’d love to hear how it goes. Send me an email and let me know! email@example.com.