Thursday, December 30, 2010

Writing, writing, writing....

{Um - the whole first part of this post disappeared, all my links...yikes} 
I'm on a new God-directed adventure. I've been writing. I share the following so those who desire can join with me in prayer. I also want to capture the excitement and thoughts from this season. I'm pondering tonight. 

Background: I was first exposed to the Inductive Bible Study Method in Bible college. I've led Precept studies for several decades. I've led small group discussions for years. My passion is to mentor women and to SHOW them HOW to dig into the Word of God for themselves.  

Women shared they "floundered" during PCS moves and summer PWOC breaks because there was "no Bible study."  This becomes a clear cycle for military women who don't have the same church with an established program for decades.  I started teaching "Bible Study Method Workshops" 6 or 7 years ago.  It was a joy to teach men and women tools they could use for personal study. However, I saw that many were overwhelmed and didn't implement the tools.

Years ago I was introduced to Life Journals (thanks Mom and Dad). I adapted this method to include more inductive/interpretive tools and have been using this method personally for years. I thought it would be fun to have a group that was doing the same which met to share what God was saying through His word that week to each of us. 

Shortly after we moved to Japan, Ezra 7:10 jumped off the page of my Bible, "Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the Lord and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel."  I had gotten complacent in my approach to the Word. Many groups didn't want to do hard studies, I was content to do the easier ones....This verse reminded me that I am called to a wholehearted commitment to study, practice and teach God's word. I  pondered the wonderful Bible Study tools (DVDs, workbooks etc) I've used over the years. We are blessed. However, we've lost many of the women in our churches who spend hours in the Word and share from what God is teaching them now - in community with us. There are still some, but when I was 20 that's ALL we had. It was normal to have women who devoted themselves to study, practice, and teaching (not facilitating by popping in a DVD). I grew from sitting under the teaching of these women - women I could call up and ask questions of, women who I KNEW  - warts and all. Real women. Some were boring, some were interesting.  It's rare to find these women today - and grab them when you do. We don't want to listen to a young woman gifted to teach as she develops that gift. We prefer the edited, experienced teachers. I don't want to spend hours preparing a weekly lecture when I can pop in an entertaining prepared lecture from a well-known speaker (there are some GREAT ones out there). The speakers are anointed and good for a season...but many believers are becoming dependent on these teachers rather than God and His Word. They are lost if they can't find an organized Bible Study that "flips their switch." God is still calling for His people to commit to study, practice and teach his Word.....not for us to study, research the best teacher and pop in a DVD.  Believers who God has graced with the gift of teaching should be given a forum to grow in that gift. This is why I love our local PWOC's Spiritual Life gal's emphasis on developing and empowering new Bible Study teachers. Anyway,  I pulled back from many activities to provide time for me to begin to study the Word the way I knew to study - even though I had no group interested in studying the Word inductively. 

I was introduced to Ginger Harrington, a lady in Asia Region,  and given a copy of her work, A Quiet Time Guide. My interest was piqued. She was working to make inductive study user friendly - though I'm not sure she'd use those words. ::snort:: I was excited, but thought, "I wish I had time to do something like this, glad Ginger does." Ginger adapted the Nav Press Bible Reading format found in Growing Strong in God's family. I purchased and read this book. (I'll be going through this series with the youth in our home this year).

I heard from several ladies this fall, "summer is hard when there is no study," and "I really want to study this book of the Bible I wish so and so would write a study on it next." God reminded me of His instruction to me to SHOW ladies HOW to study on their own. To teach them to dig into the Word, asking God, "Which book of the Bible would you have me study," and not "Which (fill in the blank) study should I find a group doing next." 

Our local PWOC had a great slate of fall studies. One was on I Peter. The amazing leader opted to lead the group by teaching them all to SOAP (Scripture Observed Applied Prayed) the same method used in Life Journals. I wanted to join this group, but was teaching Covenant (which was great). 

I was approached about teaching a "straight from the Bible, no workbook" study this winter for our group. I prayed and agreed. I sensed it was the chance to SHOW ladies HOW to enjoy time in the Word.  I thought we'd use SOAP. I chose James as I've led it several times inductively and knew it would be easiest for me to provide context (that will be a bit light with this new method). 

PWOCI conference arrived and Ginger was presenting a workshop on "A Quiet Time Guide".  I attended. I sat in the back and couldn't hear well, but  thoughts began to zing and swirl as I saw her handouts and how she's made inductive non-threatening, user-friendly. I approached her about using her bookmark and told her I'd be using her format as I wrote our James study.  I give her ALL credit for her work. I'm making minor adaptations to her Guide based on the years of study I've had in the method. I'm crediting all sources (Ginger as well as others). 

God began to talk to me about a format and adding various parts to the picture. It has become a lot of work - but it's EXCITING. 

Our first week will be an overview of James and various "conversation starters"  (study tools) which women can use in the upcoming weeks as they learn to enter conversation with God thru His Word.This will develop the "big picture" so important for context when studying a book of the Bible. I'm challenging all to use as many of the different conversation starters as they can during the course of our 9 weeks together. Each week we will discuss what God has said to us thru the Word (I imagine all will use different tools so it should be fun), I will spend 5-10 min teaching a study tool and about 15-20 min for me to wrap it up (avoiding any sloppy theology). I'll provide "prompts" each week utilizing the  various tools, but will emphasize using the tools (conversation starters) as each woman would like. I'll also provide an examples. 


The goal is to show women how to study the Bible, to grow together, and to have fun while we do it. Those without a lot of time or brand new to study can use easier tools and stick with the simple SOAP format. Those who are familiarwith bible study can dig deeper and have a venue to share their insights ...mentoring others through their excitement and example.  I'm SHOWING ladies HOW I study when I'm not able to join an established study. 


If I teach James again with this format, I may expand the "prompts" to be daily assignments rather than a weekly list....we'll see how this goes. I may also provide more daily examples instead of one a week.  I am praying and experimenting to see how little structure will be needed. ::snort:: 

It's been an AMAZING journey already. I've spent weeks praying over format and direction. I've divided the work up a zillion ways to fit the 9 weeks before deciding on the "most natural to me" outline. I've spent the past two weeks creating the forms I think will be helpful for our ladies - keeping in mind I was encouraged to think "outside of the workbook".  I didn't expect to write a manual on James, but that is sort of what I'm doing.  I've been writing....writing....writing.... I've created an At a Glance chart (to provide context), I've adapted Ginger's A Quiet Time Guide Format and created a Table of Contents to accompany it, I've written an example of  how to use the journaling form, I've adapted a list of "Conversation Starters" based on Precept, Nav Press, Ginger's Work and Bible Study Books I've read over the years, I've created a checklist of all the tools for ladies to see how many they can use in 9 weeks, I've created Observation Sheets of sorts for James, I've written the Prompts for week 1. I still have to write an intro explaining the concept and method. I also think I'll do something more with discovering Trends....still praying, we'll see if I get it done before it's needed.


In the process, I've watched God pull together many strands of my life:  decades as a Precept leader, years as a small group discussion leader, passion for mentoring and a recent relationship with an awesome woman who IS writing Bible Studies, Ginger. ::snort:: 

I see this as a combo Bible Study and 9 week long Method Workshop.  It's a lot of work to create - but I'm energized by it. Who would have guessed? 



So - that's what I'm up to in the early and late hours of this family vacation time. I would have written it earlier, but I had to wait for the Holy Spirit to gel the format. ::snort:: I've spent the past few months being taught, reproved, corrected and trained in James. I've basically used the format I will share. NOW the format has gelled and I can write. I may only use it here with one or two women; but I have grown through the process. Sometimes, it's fun to do something "different". ::snort::

Choosing Joy!
©2010 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Are you planning to publish it? It seems tht you and I have much in common in that we both love to teach. I know I am much older than you, but the desire for teaching itself does not change with the years. My daughter-in-law attends BSF in Florida and they use a method similar to this. The closest BSF to me is an hour away and just too difficult to drive.

Let me know how your writing progresses. This plan seems to be the best of several programs brought together uniquely under one title.

So sorry your boys are having difficulty getting there. It will be a joyous reunion whe they make it.

Take care,
Wilma in WV

Wild Crickets said...

It sounds wonderful! I will chase down some of the links that you posted because this is really an interest for me. Unfortunately I have never been taught how to study the Bible. Sad! Sad that I wasn't taught, and sad that I didn't seek it. We have a fantastic women's ministry at our church, but it is very workbook/dvd dependent. Our pastor's wife can only teach so many classes at a time with her other responsibilities. We have great teachers, but I keep thinking that I need to learn how to learn (like we say with our homeschooling.) I don't want to flounder if I can't be in a class with a workbook. A goal for 2011. You're making me wish that we were military stationed in Misawa! :)

Lois said...

De'Etta-I sure wish I could sit in your James study. Ezra 7:10 was my 2010 verse last year! The desire has to be in the heart first, then study, then teach. It helped my whole outlook in homeschooling. Can you give me an example of what one of your writing prompts is? I'd be interested. Thanks.