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

Advertisements

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!

Today’s Featured Digital Book: Accessorize Your Life

Accessorize Your Life

The little black dress is a fabulous addition to your wardrobe. In it, you to fit in with other people in any situation yet its style allows you to express your individuality. Add accessories to the little black dress and you have a difference that makes you stand out.

Being like Jesus is exactly the same. We want to fit in with other people in a variety of situations while still maintaining our individuality. What gives us that difference are 10 accessories, qualities that made Jesus like everyone else but different. What are those accessories and how can you incorporate them into your life?

Accessorize Your Life: Discovering 10 Qualities to Create Life with a Difference helps you develop a selection of the 10 qualities through a 10 lesson Bible study. Each lesson offers a Scripture verse that exemplifies the quality, introduction and questions to help you better understand the quality and incorporate it into your life.

Accessorize Your Life may be done as an individual study or in a group. It contains a Leader Guide to help you set up your own Bible Study group.

Enjoy a positive and powerful difference in your life when you “put on” a selection of accessories with the Christ-like difference. Only $3

Download

8 Steps to Effectively Share a Message Step 6: Produce Podcasts/Videos

Developing a personal connection with people in your audience helps promote your message. People like to buy from someone they know. When they feel they have gotten to know you, they want to learn more, either through other material you have created or by buying your books. A podcast & videos are a great way for people to get to know you.

Look at Me!

When I first began writing, I wanted a radio show & my own television show. I was THRILLED when the internet made all this possible & at no cost! Oh, I’ve spent money on these things over the years but I have found through trial & error that the free platforms work just fine for my purposes.

Short is Very Sweet

When I began my first podcast, I wanted to offer a 30 minute program once a week. Mr. D, my hubby, advised me to keep it much, much shorter. At the time, a 30 minute program would have taken too long to download for most of my audience. In addition, most of them didn’t want to listen to a long program on their computer. So, I broke each 30 minute program into a 5 part series with each part only 5-6 minutes long. This length was perfect.

I have done longer programs over the years but I am currently going back to shorter program. Blog Talk Radio allows me to host a 15 minute program each day & it’s FREE. I can do it live or record it & upload. This is the perfect length for both me & my listeners.

Never Let it Overwhelm You

Videos can seem overwhelming but they don’t have to be. I often make movies out of slideshows. This enables viewers to stop the video & read a recipe or instructions.

I also like doing short videos, short like my podcast. There are so many places where I can record & upload or do it live. YouTube has expanded to offer so many ways to produce & share your videos with your audience. You can create a series that focuses on your current topic, like when I produce videos for Thanksgiving. You can create playlists on each topic to make it easier for your viewers to find the videos they want to watch.

Share, Share, Share

Once you have produced & uploaded your podcast & videos, share them on your blog/website. You want to share them in as many places as possible. You also want to share your series links on the program info. ALWAYS share links to all the material for the series in each different format. Each post, podcast, booklet, book, etc should refer your audience to other formats.

Make all your materials work for you. This is the best way to make all that hard work pay off!

Mentoring New Leaders Part 5 Trust


I believe the most difficult part of this process is Trust. There simply comes a time when you must turn responsibility over to the other person & surrender control. This can be tough, especially if the project is one you started from scratch. When we birth a project & develop it, we have specific ideas how it should be done. We have to accept the fact, for our idea, our project to continue after we tue it over to someone else, it needs to evolve. Nothing survives in a stagnant environment & this is especially true of ideas. They need to develop & grow over time, having a fresh approach added to the mix in order for them to continue & survive. 

Let’s look at the example Jesus set for us. No matter what you believe happened to Jesus after He died, we can all agree, He eventually had to turn things over to His followers & leave. We have a record of the events that followed & not just from the Bible. The apostles took the things they were taught by Jesus & built on them. They organized the church. They created other roles in ministry. They began training new leaders. They wrote down an account of the things they had seen & the things they were doing. They defined the role & responsibilities of the church & the people in the church. The list goes on & on. 

The apostles took the lessons Jesus taught them, they took His message, they took the things they learned while studying under Jesus & they expanded on them. Things were changing around them & they adapted & developed with the changes without sacrificing the message or lessons Jesus had taught them. And Jesus had to trust them to continue in His absence. He had to surrender the work to those that followed. And over 2000 years later, the work Jesus began continues, different than it was back then but still the same at its heart. 

Mentoring can be a rewarding experience for both the mentor & student. It makes the transition of power on a project or organization smoother & increases the chances of things continuing into the future. Never let your fear of change prevent you from turning the reins over to the next generation of leaders. Insure continuation & growth by choosing & mentoring your replacement. Then relax knowing you have placed things in qualified hands. 

Mentoring New Leaders Part 2: Teach

The disciples first had the opportunity to watch Jesus talk to large crowds & smaller groups, seeing Him share His message. These moments gave the disciples the chance to see Jesus model the behavior He wanted them to imitate & to hear the lessons He was sharing as He spoke to the public. This, however, was not enough. Jesus needed to be sure the disciples understood the lessons so they would be able to teach them later.

For this reason, Jesus always sat down with the disciples after these events & asked them if they understood the lesson He had taught. He would go over His message in detail, answering their questions until He was sure they not only understood but would also be able to share the message later.

It’s important for the new leaders you mentor to watch you perform the work they will need to continue when you turn it over to them. It is also very important that they understand the work they are supposed to do. For example, they may think an aspect of the work is minor without realizing how vital that small step is to the whole process.

A woman once spoke to me after I finished teaching a Bible study to a large group of women. She lamented her inability to do what I did, minimizing the gift of hospitality she had been given. Every week, she & her sister stood at the door, greeting every woman that came in & giving them a hug to make them feel welcome & at home. They performed this same task every year during our huge women’s conference. I told her I would probably be speaking to an empty room if not for the warm welcome she & her sister offered women every week.

If a new women’s ministry director had taken over without know the importance of this seemingly small task, she might overlook inviting the sisters to greet during Bible study & the conference. This task might seem small but it set the tone for every event the women hosted during my time working with the ministry.

New leaders must not only see the process in action, they must have it explained to them so nothing, no matter how seemingly insignificant, is overlooked!