Time to Stop Talking & Take Action!

Harassed & helpless! Boy, do I know that feeling! I watch the news & read the paper & begin to wonder if there IS any hope. I read the posts on Facebook from other moms, other women & I know I’m not alone. So many women seem frightened, hopeless, helpless. We all begin to wonder if there is ANYTHING we can do to make things better.

Things seem to be getting worse everyday. I get angry and resolved to take action. Unfortunately, I let other things get in my way. I knew God was calling me & instead, I let trivial matter distract me. Not anymore!

I’m not here to discuss political issues or constitutional rights. I believe this goes deeper than any of that. No, I’m want to look at this from my expert perspective. And my area of expertise is Theology. When I was a kid, people said, “Everyone always talks about the weather but no one ever does anything about it!” Well, there isn’t much we can do about the weather. And while many of us TALK about conditions in our nation, our cities, our neighborhoods, there IS something we can do about it.

In the verse above from the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus felt compassion for the people because there were lost & afraid “like sheep without a shepherd.” We act like frighten sheep. We run around in a panic. Fortunately, we HAVE a Shepherd. Jesus is watching over us, protecting us whether we realize it or not. So the first thing we can do it put our faith in Him.

The second thing we can do is find strength, hope & comfort in Scripture. When life seems overwhelming, when we are unable to find answers, I know we can ALWAYS find the answers we need in the Bible.

The third thing we can do is PRAY! There is power in prayer. I also believe there is incredible power when WOMEN pray. More important, powerful things happen when women come together to pray. Jesus told us when 2 or more are gathered in my name, I will be there. Oh, He’s always there with us as individuals but when 2 or more of us come together to pray, Jesus is right there with us, praying beside us & personally taking our concerns to His Father.

In light of these three things, I came to the realization there is even more we can do. For a very long time now, I have felt God filling me with a vision. God has been calling me to create a ministry for women. A ministry made up of small groups of women, meeting in homes across the country, sharing faith, studying Scripture, praying, strengthening & supporting one another & having fun! The problem I had was how to do this?

I have dragged my feet long enough. I can’t worry anymore about the right way to begin, the right time to start, the right pice of the puzzle to fall into my lap. I’m just going to begin.

If you look at the top of the page in the menu, you’ll see Sisters of Simple Joy. This is the name I have given to our small group women’s ministry. Beneath that, I am adding information to help you launch your own group. There is no charge for any of this. I have created a workbook for group leaders. Anyway, you can find information at the top.

For now, pray. God is calling a small group of women to be the first small group leaders in this ministry. I’m not naming any names. That’s not for me to decide. I’m not saying anyone should do anything right now. Just pray. If you are one of the women God has chosen, He’ll let you know. All I ask is that you open your heart, mind & spirit to His leading!

And should you decide to join this adventure, let me know. I want to create a network of praying faithful women that uphold & support one another, their families, their communities & our nation.

Hugs & blessings!

Jean Ann

Hosting In-home Bible Study Part 1

Hosting an In-home Bible Study Part 1

I enjoy attending & teaching bible studies at my church. However, I enjoy Bible studies that are hosted in a private home even more. The tradition of sharing the Word of God goes back to the first church in Jerusalem, when Christians met in the homes of members. Meeting in homes allowed the group members to worship in a more intimate & relaxed environment, sharing prayer & fellowship in a place that welcomed everyone.

Today, there are many women seeking to draw closer to God that might never attend a Bible study at a church. There are a variety of reasons for this & I am not going to discuss them right now. 🙂 Let’s just accept the fact that an in-home Bible study might be more inviting to some of your friends, neighbors & family.

I know the thought of hosting an in-home Bible study may seem overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be. First, you don’t have to do everything yourself. But, more of that later. for this post, I just want to share the ingredients that go into hosting your Bible study. follow this recipe & you are on your way to having “tasty” event each & every time!

Acts 2:42: They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

Just like the ingredients in a recipe, it is important to add each of these 5 ingredients to all your Bible studies. Whether it’s your regular study or an open house to introduce potential group members, be sure to add all 5 ingredients to prevent your event from falling flat!

Faith

Your gatherings are faith-based. Begin with prayer, share your lesson, have discussion. Your group lacks strength without faith.

Family

Always remember how important family is to your group members. Show ways the day’s lesson relates to the family.  Renewing women, recharging women, strengthening women helps improve the quality of their family life.

Fellowship

Your gatherings are also a time to share with one another. Discuss events in your lives. Ask about family members. Fellowship allows each of you to draw nearer to one another. Fellowship strengthens faith & make the discussion during Bible study more intimate & powerful.

Food

Everyone relaxes more when they share food. Eating together is another way to become closer as a group. Be sure to have refreshments when you get together.

Fun

What would your group be without fun? Short-lived, I imagine! Faith doesn’t have to be dull. Schedule fun during your gatherings & at other times during the month. Each of you needs to see your gatherings as CELEBRATIONS!

Mentoring New Leaders Part 3: Test

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The second biggest mistake mentors make, after not mentoring new leaders at all, is failing to test them. We tend to be too quick turning things over to the newbie before we are certain the are prepared. Offering them a short period of time to shadow you & then giving them only a bit of teaching before handing over the reins is worse than no mentoring at all.

When we drop everything into the newbie’s lap too soon, they may become frustrated when things fail to go well. Even worse, they may become embarrassed, believe THEY are to blame for their lack of success when the mentor is the one responsible.

Rather than quickly giving them the responsibility of their new assignment, take time to make certain they are ready. And the best way to do this is to test them. No, not a written exam! Instead, give them responsibility for an assignment while you are still there to offer guidance & advice.

Early in their training, Jesus sent the disciples out into neighboring towns to do ministry. He sent them out in pairs so they could support & encourage one another & to hold each other accountable. When they returned, Jesus talked to the disciples about their experience. What worked? What didn’t? Where did they have problems?

These mission journeys gave the disciples to practical experience, like an internship. They were able to fail on a small scale while Jesus was still available to offer them guidance & advice.

Nothing discourages a new leader faster than failure. It takes less time & effort to retrain them to overcome their mistakes & weaknesses than it does to start all over with a new person when your current new leader quits in frustration.

Take the time to do the job right!