by Melissa Myers, women's ministry director, The Church of Charlotte, North Carolina
I am the women’s ministry director for a large church. Before I attended my first Entrust WWMT module, we had a thriving women’s Bible study program and many women from the community were attending.
Although the number of participants was high, I had a sense in my spirit we were not experiencing the type of life-changing fruit I knew could come from spending time in God’s word. We used the typical model of homework, teaching time, small group. When we trained our small group leaders, we used the same material each year and focused on how to build community among the group members.
As I took Entrust’s Facilitating Relational Learning (FRL), I was struck by two major “aha” moments. I discovered adults learn best when they discuss together and are engaged in a topic, not by listening to a lecture or an extended teaching time. I also learned we are called to be co-learners with those we lead. We are not called to be the “advisor” or the answer person or the separated “leader” of those in our ministry.
Interactive small groups are changing lives at The Church of Charlotte
These were life-changing truths for me and my ministry. As a result, we shortened our large group teaching time and now aim to make it a “launch pad” for the small group discussion time. The new goal for our teaching time is to set up the small group time to be engaging and interactive, where women can really dive into the truths of the scripture and the realities of their hearts. We have trained our small group facilitators to ask good, well-thought-out, open-ended questions that allow for discussion, thought, pondering and application of the truths of scripture.
Talk about fruit!
The comments, the testimonies, the growth, the multiplication, the spiritual formation and the enthusiasm for Bible study is stunning. We receive comment after comment from women, saying they are learning truths and their hearts and lives are changing. Our small group facilitators feel more equipped, our teachers have a vision and a focus for their preparation and teaching. As a leader, I see hearts engaged, real-life struggles being seen through the grid of the truths of scripture and as a result, lives changing.
I am thankful for the training I have received from Entrust WWMT modules. It has equipped me as a director and in turn has refocused the way we recruit, train, coach, shepherd and equip our facilitators. Understanding that everyone learns in a different way and that we as leaders can provide interactive, engaging discussions that encourage, challenge and provide truth for the women in our studies has been a game changer for us. Women crave the ability to dig into scripture, mine for truth, understand what is written and apply it to their lives. We now have a system and a structure, guided by the training we have received and the movement of the Holy Spirit, that allows us to meet the needs of the women of our church.
This article first appeared in the Fall 2017 Engage.