About six years ago a group of women from The Church of the Cross, Bluffton, were led to begin a Women’s Mentoring Ministry. We wanted to help women establish real relationships, beyond, “Hi, how are you?” “I’m fine,” and “I like your earrings.” We developed a core group, put together guidelines and provided education for leaders. Then we had a kickoff meeting, invited the women of the parish…and very little happened.
That effort didn’t yield the fruit we’d hoped for, but God took that little group and led us to begin the ministry He did have in mind.
Most of us were attending a weekly Bible Study led by the Rector’s wife in her home at the time. She offered three sessions a week and, believe it or not, there was always a waiting list! One of our small group members needed to change the day she attended so we decided to move our entire group to another home, allowing us to remain together and enable other women to attend the study at the rectory.
We identified who would host and decided we wanted a line-by-line Bible Study. We met together for a year studying Isaiah and other books of the Bible. We prayed together, shared our hearts and truly were the Body of Christ.
The Lord strengthened each of us individually and as a group and laid out our format. We were so blessed we realized we needed to share this opportunity with other women.
And with that, Crossroads Women’s Small Group Bible Study was born.
Crossroads offers the opportunity for real relationships based on similar experiences while studying the Word and gives women the opportunity to live that out in community. “This is what I have been looking for…” “This is what I need…” are common statements we hear from women in our Bible Studies.
Currently, we have seven groups of five to eight women meeting regularly. The Bible Studies take place in homes, which fosters connection and intimacy. The study is always a book of the Bible. After opening in prayer, scripture is read one section at a time, then line-by-line. Members examine the scripture, looking for repetition, key words and ideas that reveal deeper meaning. We encourage the women to let the Holy Spirit speak first! Research follows, using Bible notes and website commentaries for further understanding. As group members are ready (there is no pressure), each person takes a turn facilitating the study. It is very exciting to see women who are just beginning Bible study offer to take a turn. Members come prepared and, of course, contribute and support the facilitator.
The format of Crossroads is not left to chance. The leadership is composed of three co-leaders and a council made up of the initial small group members. The co-leaders pray and then determine which book(s) of the Bible will be recommended for study. The Crossroads Council makes the final decision. Dates, times and locations are set for fall, winter and spring. Online registration is available, and word-of-mouth encourages new members. Groups are formed
and added, as needed. Our guidelines encourage multiplication of groups, so group leaders look to develop and identify new potential leaders in their groups. Leaders must be members of the church and have attended a Crossroads group for at least one session to understand how the Bible Study is to be conducted and be approved by the council. Participants in the groups do not have to be members of the church.
We have seen confidentiality maintained and prayers answered. We have seen surprising connections based on ladies who have had the same struggles in life, or are from the same country of origin, and so much more. These connections build relationships, strengthen believers, and lead unbelievers to begin a
personal relationship with Christ.
Crossroads Bible Study has been an exciting adventure. We have seen the Lord work in our midst, teaching and bringing transformation…to God be the glory!
In Jeremiah 6:16 we read, “This is what the Lord says: Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.”
By Mimi Harmon, The Church of the Cross, Bluffton
If you would like to learn more about Crossroads and how to start one in your own church, you may contact Mimi Harmon at firstname.lastname@example.org.