BIBLE STUDY CONUNDRUM

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I follow a few blogs, most are Christian authors who are wives and mothers.  I was reading one recently, where the author talked about why she stopped going to bible studies.  The title definitely caught my attention, and the content definitely was relate-able.  Whether you are a working woman or stay at home mom, you understand the time constraints we are under in modern times.  Long passed are the days of bridge club and weekly hair appointments being our time consumers.  We are working.  We are volunteering.  We are in school.  We are raising kids.  We are tending to our husbands.  We are managing our homes.  We are shuttling our kids from activity to activity.  We have an endless to-do list.

We know what it is like to finally get ALL OF THE KIDS ready to leave for church, when the baby has a blow out diaper… you know the kind, the ones that require a full decontamination of the baby, you, the car seat.  We know what it is like to hunt through the house trying to find your car keys.  We know what it is like to just make it to bible study, let alone get the homework done between weeks.  We know what it is like to look at our schedules and not see space for a single additional activity.
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So, it is easy to think that we should just NOT attend a bible study.  Let that be the thing we cut out of our life, to make room for everyone and everything else.  It makes sense logically.  But does it make sense spiritually?

Perhaps, if you were attending church every Sunday, without fail… you could justify it.  After all what is the difference?  Once a week at church, or once a week at a bible study?

Perhaps, if you were diligent in carving out time in your schedule every day for personal study, you could justify it.  After all, you are getting your daily dose of The Word.

However, I wonder, how true are those statements?  Are we really attending each Sunday, without fail?  Are we really carving out time for daily personal study?

And then, I’d have to follow up that thought with…. is anything else in our life worth more of our time than God?

Here is what it comes down to:

I think you SHOULD participate in a study. God wants us there, and the Devil doesn’t. And he will remind you 100 times over why it’s too hard to get there.   Your schedule will be full of things that you will be easily convinced are more important than a bible study.

I also think you SHOULD step into leading a study.  Leading makes you accountable to show up, get the prep/homework done between sessions, and puts you in the position to accommodate your schedule.

Because, the truth is you are NOT alone. There are many women , just like you … who WANT to be a part of a study… but struggle to do so.

I am sure by this point you are either arguing with me, that I don’t understand your life & commitments…. or you are nodding your head in agreement.  Keep reading.

Being a part of a study should not replace attending sabbath services.  It shouldn’t replace your personal study.  It should supplement it.  It should add to it.  Being a part of a study keeps you connected to your church, sisters in Christ, and The Word during those times when life keeps you away from corporate worship or personal study.  It helps fill those voids.  Being a part of a study is more intimate than Sunday worship with the body, but not as isolated as personal study.  Being a part of a group brings investment in each other, accountability, and authenticity.

However, all of that said, perhaps the traditional bible study is NOT the right fit for you.  Fact is there is a pretty standard definition to what a bible study is.  You meet every week, week after week.  Sometimes for a session of 8-16 weeks as you work through a book, or over the course of a year or more as part of a small group.  It’s long term commitment.   You attend the meeting, where you spend 15-30 minutes of snacking and fellowship, 10 minutes of prayer time, dig into the study/watch a video, get an assignment, leave, spend time throughout the rest of the week trying to read the assigned scripture, and then complete the homework in the book.  Repeat cycle.

Something in that regime doesn’t work for you.  Maybe, you can’t meet weekly.  Or, the homework is too overwhelming.  With your work schedule or kids’ schedules you can’t commit to long term studies that cross seasons and even into years.It may be time to break away from the mold of “what a bible study looks like”.  When you do, I truly believe you will be able to find a way to fill that desire for a study without inviting chaos & stress in your life.  Here are some suggestions:

Lead a study allows you to work it around your schedule, allotting for vacations and kids schedules.Lead a topical study. This means no book, no homework, etc. The topic changes meeting to meeting. If you have to miss a meeting because a kid is sick… you are not behind.  Topical studies can come from the internet, study bibles or devotion books.  You don’t have to come up with it all on your own, just be ready to share it.  Topical studies will have 1 person presenting the information, and then move into discussion with the group.  Alternate who leads the discussion, alternate host homes.  Take the pressure off.Lead a study that meets less frequently. Every week is great, but it can’t be too much. Every other week, or once a month even.

Lead a study that meets via skype.  Pack your lunch one day a week, meet up with your friends on skype to fellowship and break bread together.  Or, start a study with co-workers in the break room.

Lead a study that is at your home, local coffee shop, or local playground (especially if you have an indoor one). The kids can play, while you study. Since you will all me like minded moms, no one will get upset if you have to step away to deal with your child’s needs… or the 100th time the toddlers interrupt mom for a snack, potty trip, drink, or general kisses and hugs.   And, if you know someone who homeschools, that has a teenager… I’d bet you they are looking for some volunteer hours, you may be able to get a babysitter/mother’s helper to wrangle the kids for you, for free.  Make them work for you & the kids, so the kids want to come & don’t fight you about leaving. At a park… great. Pajama Party day at friends’ house… YES! Then you don’t have to worry about getting them dressed.

Look to your group of friends to make up the study, less pressure. And ultimately in the group there is always a person who would happily open their home, but won’t want to lead… and a person who would happily lead, but won’t want to open up their home.  These are people you are meeting with already for coffee and lunch dates, now do it with a purpose.

Are you part of a walking group?  Suggest adding in meditating on scripture during the walks, or start your own walking group (biking, kayaking, etc).  What are the activities you are already doing where you can incorporate study?

You may also find success in a weekly study, if you instead begin looking for women who have a schedule just like your own.  Sitting at the ball field while your son practices?  I bet there are other moms too, who would be happy to do a study under the pavilion. Not worth driving back home during that Girl Scout meeting?  I bet you are not the only mom.

And remember a study group doesn’t have to be huge.  Where two or more are gathered, Jesus is there.

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