About 4 years ago, I started a little Bible study at my church. I invited a few other women I knew to be a part of it. I was nervous and really didn’t have any idea what I was doing starting a Bible study. But somehow, God blessed it and changed my life for the better.
Starting a Bible study has contributed to both my spiritual and personal wellness.
As a mom, often times we limit ourselves and what we can do. We may feel that we don’t have the time to serve God or others outside of our home. There may be times that our home IS our only place of service, and that’s okay.
But for me, I’ve always felt a nudge to do something beyond that. I’ve had a desire to help others since I was a teen. I went to college for social work and did that for 10 years. I also have had 2 home-based businesses involving helping others over the past 13 years. And I had supported my husband in his work as a youth pastor at our church.
When my daughter was about 3 years old, and I was out of the haze of utter sleeplessness, I felt God nudging me to take the next step: to be more committed myself to God’s word, but also to lead others closer to Him as well.
At that time 4 years ago, I felt, and still feel, somewhat inadequate to lead others.
I knew I could pursue God on my own, with Bible studies or devotionals at home. But the idea of leading other women scared me a little. And it still does. Isn’t that how obedience should be, though? Following God’s leading usually involves being a little scared.
[bctt tweet= “Following God’s leading usually involves being a little scared.”]
At the same time, I was completely excited. I saw a few women in my circle of life who were either new believers or who were still searching and exploring what it meant to be a Christian.
When I reached out and asked them if they’d be interested in a Bible study, I had mixed responses. A couple said absolutely, YES. One was nervous because she had never been in a Bible study before. Thankfully, I was able to assure her that this was exactly the purpose of the study I was starting: I wanted to support women who had never been in a study before.
My goal was to show them how God’s word could truly impact their life and transform their heart.
While I was incredibly excited (and nervous) about the idea of starting this Bible study for the other women, I had no idea how it would impact my OWN life. Recently I was reflecting back on the past 4 years and wanted to share how doing this impacted me.
If you happen to be considering starting a Bible study, a small group, or some other form of ministry or outreach, you may want to be prepared for the following:
5 UNEXPECTED BENEFITS OF STARTING A BIBLE STUDY
- It forced me to be more consistent with my own Bible study and prayer.
I have to admit – though I grew up in a Christian home and went to church and Christian school almost all my life, I really never developed the habit of consistent Bible study.
I would often go in fits and spurts, doing a study or devotional for a certain time period, and then dropping off because of busyness or boredom. Often, I considered my church attendance, small group participation, and reading a few verses each day to be sufficient for my spiritual growth.
However, looking back, I realize how little I was really getting out of that. And it was during those years of being newly married and then later having our first child that I really needed to be relying on my relationship with God more than ever.
Instead, I was surviving on crumbs.
When I started this Bible study group, I knew that as the leader, I would HAVE to do the work and be prepared. Over the years, there have certainly been times that I have not always been as prepared as I would have liked. There have been weeks when I did not spend the time that I should have.
Overall, leading the group has pushed me to be more consistent and develop a habit instead of starting and stopping based on outside circumstances. By developing the habit of spending time with God each day, I have actually grown to LOVE doing it.
[bctt tweet= “By developing the habit of spending time with God each day, I have grown to LOVE doing it.”]
While I don’t think daily devotions is something God requires of us to please him or earn His love, I do think there are some major benefits to doing so, and there are times that it requires discipline to create that habit before it becomes something you look forward to. Starting a Bible study pushed me to develop this habit, and I am so grateful for that.
- It expanded my view of God.
Throughout the past 4 years, I have seen God work in incredible ways. Watching God work in other people’s lives has expanded my view of Him.
It’s reminded me that He often has plans that we never even could have imagined for ourselves. When we trust Him and follow Him with that next step, even when we can’t see very far ahead, He sometimes does things that we would not have dreamed.
I have seen God restore marriages.
I have seen Him heal family relationships.
I have seen Him provide babies for women who desperately wanted them.
I have seen Him call women to begin foster parenting, start a new ministry, or volunteer to help others.
I have seen Him be with women through moves, death, and deep heartache.
Though God doesn’t always answer prayers in the exact way we had hoped, He is always with us through the journey.
For me, one of the most powerful reminders of God’s faithfulness is when I look at the lives of the women from our Bible study and recognize how He has worked.
- It has given me a night out.
This one is a bit more trivial, but not so much when you’re thinking about your overall wellness as a mom.
A lot of what I focus on here on the blog is self-care for moms. That can look different for each of us, but taking time for yourself as a mom is a big one in my book. I’m a huge supporter of moms finding times when they give themselves a break.
By leading this group over the past 4 years, I’ve had a guaranteed night out almost every week! Of course, we have taken breaks and there have been times that I haven’t been the one leading. But for the most part, having one night reserved has helped me to maintain my sanity as a stay-at-home mom.
- It has both deepened and expanded my friendships.
When I started the Bible study 4 years ago, my friendships looked quite different than they do now. Part of that is, I believe, due to friendships changing over time. But the other part is that being involved in this Bible study group has allowed me to both deepen and expand my friendships.
When we initially started, there were just 5 or 6 of us in our group. The first few sessions were really a process of building trust and growing as a group. While I knew some of the women fairly well when we started, I got to know them SO much more through the process of studying God’s word together and praying for one another.
Likewise, our study began to expand as more women wanted to join and be a part of the group. I began to see how God was placing different people in our group at just the right time – for them and for us.
I don’t believe you can have the same level of friendships with all the women in your group, but I was able to expand my friendships to include people that I otherwise would not have known.
- It has challenged and stretched me as a leader.
As with any leadership role, leading a Bible study group can have it’s challenges. As the leader, you have to consider a variety of issues as you facilitate the group. You also need to be open to God’s leading and recognize when things may need to change.
In our particular group, we had been consistently growing, and finally reached a point where, if we stayed as one group, it would have been too large for meaningful connection and conversation. The process of subdividing into 2 or 3 smaller groups can be difficult, especially when strong relationships have been formed.
As a leader, I have had to stay connected with God, as well as mentors, to guide me through the process of change.
Being the one “in charge” can be exciting and fun, but it can also be discouraging and disappointing at times. However, I am reminded as a leader that God does not call me to control the outcome or the results – He simply wants me to be faithful to what He is asking me to do.
I heard on an episode of the Declare podcast this morning this idea of “obedience over outcome”. As a leader, and as a task-oriented woman who likes to see success in all areas of my life, it can be difficult when what I might have deemed as a “success” does not happen.
But as always, God comes through and shows me a totally different outcome that HE considered success.
Letting go of control and trusting God for the outcome has been a growing and stretching process for me, and definitely an unexpected benefit.
When I look back over the past 4 years, I cannot help but stand in awe of what God has done. I never could have imagined that simply saying yes to that little nudge would make my life so much richer. In the end, it’s really not about me – but I am so grateful that I’ve received the blessings of being a part of God’s plan.
[bctt tweet= “Leading a group is not about you, but you WILL experience benefits from walking in obedience.”]
Have you ever felt God prompting starting a Bible study, or a ministry, or some other kind of outreach, but been afraid to start? I want to encourage you to take that step of faith! Don’t let doubt stop you or make you believe that you can’t make a difference. Even as moms, we can be used to help others in whatever stage of life we are.