So, this is not my typical blog post, but I want to get your input on something I’m working on for the new Bible study. If you missed the update on Inside Out and Upside Down, you can click here to read what the new Bible study is all about. Prayerfully, it will be out by this time next year.
Here’s what I’m interested in. What do you think we need more of in the church today–small groups or mentorship?
The last Bible study, Let’s Run: Uncovering Faith and Finding Freedom, had small group ideas at the end of each week of Bible study. I took these ideas from the group study we did at my church. This time, I’m considering something a little different. Let me explain.
I host a weekly small group at my house, which is really great for motivating me to keep my house clean! We usually have around 12-15 women, from 18 to 70-ish years of age. I love having other women around me who love God’s Word and love to discuss it! Small groups are so great for interacting with one another, hearing other’s opinions, and sharing our struggles. We pray together, encourage one another, and sometimes have times of worship together. Did I say that I love my small group?
Right now we are studying Entrusted, Beth Moore’s latest Bible study on 2 Timothy. As we begin looking at the relationship between Paul and Timothy, his “true son in the faith,” I am being reminded of how I really grew from a baby Christian to a more mature Christian (still not there). Most of my real growth and discipleship came in one-on-one relationships, much like Paul and Timothy’s.
“Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me–put into practice” (Philippians 4:9, NIV).
Small groups are great, and I LOVE my small group, but the truth is, we still don’t always share where we are spiritually in front of 15 people. I can be in small group and be in sin, and no one would know it. For real accountability, we need one-on-one relationships–true mentorship–in which we are honest about our failures, our questions, and our doubts. When I first followed Jesus, He put a wonderful couple in my life who literally took me with them everywhere and taught me constantly by their example and their gentle teaching what it meant to be a Christian.
“We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us” (1 Thessalonians 2:8).
We each need an older woman to help us grow and keep us accountable. We also need a younger woman we can encourage as well. Women are relational by nature, and we need each other in the body of Christ.
“Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God” (Titus 2:3-5).
One-on-one relationships give us the opportunity to be accountable, to be encouraging, to set an example, to be real, to be humble, to be teachable. Mentoring helps the mentor be more intentional about setting a good example and being relatable; it helps the trainee learn to be vulnerable and honest and to learn from her mistakes.
“Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning” (Proverbs 9:9).
I am so thankful for those who have helped disciple me and teach me over the years. I still remember many of the things I learned from their example today. I am thankful for those close one-on-one relationships with other women that allow me to be myself and that fortify my faith with their prayers and spiritual warfare on my behalf.
As I finish up the manuscript for Inside Out, would you be willing to help me decide how to best equip women for discipleship?
If you have been a Christian for a while, think back to your discipleship experience. What helped you grow most in your relationship with the Lord? a small group or mentorship?
If you are young in your faith, what do you believe you would benefit most from? a small group or mentorship?
What would you benefit most from in a Bible study? small group ideas or mentorship ideas?
Would you be so kind as to leave me your comments below? It will be a great help to me as I finish up the new Bible study.
My prayer is that God will use this coming Bible study to accomplish the greatest good for the kingdom of God. Whether we grow together in small groups or in personal relationships, may we all be intentional about growing as His disciples and building His kingdom here on earth.