How can we make time for word-filled ministry in the midst of our busy lives?
Author's Note: This past weekend I attended a Word-Filled Women Workshop hosted by The Gospel Coalition at another Acts29 church in Denver. The workshop concluded with a panel discussion, to which attendees could present questions that come from their local context. I was honored to be on the panel and provide my two cents on a few different topics. I was given three specific questions to answer and I thought I would share them here, with you (This is how I often blog—if I had to think about it in real life, then why not write it down and share it here? Hopefully it will be helpful to someone and God can use it twice!). I shared Q&A #1 yesterday, #2 is below, and #3 will be tomorrow.
Question #2: How can we make time for word-filled ministry in the midst of our busy lives?
Answer: First of all, there is plenty of grace for busy seasons of life. The needs of our families and churches and jobs ebb and flow and sometimes we’re consumed by different projects or newborn babies. Every season is unique in regard to how much time we have available to study the Word.
With that said, however, if we desire to grow in our Christian faith or if we are women in Christian leadership, then we must strive and exert ourselves to prioritize Bible study. Spiritual maturity will not happen on the margins of life. Further, leaders must be prepared and out ahead of those whom they serve—not to be puffed up or perfect by any means, but leaders lead and they are, by definition, ahead.
1. Whether you and I are single, married, or moms, of first importance is making some foundational and difficult decisions about how we’re going to spend ourselves—our time, our energy, our money, and more. It’s helpful to think ahead a decade or 30 or 50 years. What kind of woman and Christ-follower do you want to be? What will it take to get there?
If we endeavor to know Christ deeply, then we must make time for study. In the US, we have so many options for how we might spend our time—sports, clubs, hobbies, good causes, and on and on. Buffets of options abound and if we want to stay sane, healthy, and not burned out, we must choose wisely. My encouragement to singles and families alike is to limit your activities to just one or two (or whatever number is necessary) so that you can make space for plenty of time at home to be still and in the scriptures.
2. After we’ve setup some strict boundaries about how we’re going to spend our lives, we must make the most of the opportunities we do have to get into the Word.
For personal absorption during an especially taxing season (new baby, geographic transition, new job), I find it helpful to not only read the Bible, but to also listen to it. I like the ESV Bible app and listening to scripture set to songs, such as Hidden In My Heart or Seeds Family Worship. Why not let the Word of God dwell in you while you’re driving or cleaning or putting the kids to bed?
If you’re finding it hard to do Bible study because you have kids, consider doing it with them. Teaching your kids is a great way to get the Word into yourself. Take time to share Bible stories or read chunks of scripture together at meals, bedtime, or snack time after school. Some helpful resources are The Bible Project, Big Truths for Young Hearts: Teaching and Learning the Greatness of God, The Radical Book for Kids: Exploring the Roots and Shoots of Faith, The New City Catechism: 52 Questions and Answers for Our Hearts and Minds, and Exploring the Bible: A Bible Reading Plan for Kids.
If you’re tempted to skip personal Bible study altogether because you feel overwhelmed, look for ways to integrate at least small portions of scripture into your day—everyday doesn’t have to be an in-depth, inductive day!
Other helpful tools include podcasts such as RisenMotherhood, Help Me Teach The Bible with Nancy Guthrie, Revive Our Hearts, or Flower Mound Women’s Bible Study. Or look for Bible study workbooks you can do alone or with a group. Or simply grab a friend and read a chapter together, share reflections, and pray together.
3. For those who teach/facilitate Word-filled women’s ministry, we really must put in the time for our own study. We have to do whatever it takes to make it happen! Ignore the house, put on a video for the kids, buy frozen pizza. As leaders we cannot compromise on this. Or, simply, as women of God, there really are no shortcuts for meditating on the Word and letting it dwell in us richly.
4. Hosting is, in my experience, the best way to stay consistent, year in and year out. If you host women’s Bible study in your own home, then you will never miss it! If ladies are coming to your home and expecting you to lead, you will be prepared! It works like a charm.
5. Let’s be human and walk in our finiteness. Take a Sabbath. Get good sleep. Cut other things out of life to make room for the Word (rather than cut the Word out to make time for the other things). In the end, we really will do that which we want to do.
6. Finally, let’s pray that God would increase our desire for his Word! During dry seasons I myself have prayed, Lord, you know I just don’t feel like reading your Word today (or abiding in you or praying to you, etc). I feel lazy/discouraged/distracted/whatever. Please help me want to want to draw near to you. Amen.
May you and I remember that we toil to make Christ known with all his energy in us (Colossians 1:28-29). For we are God’s workmanship, created in Jesus for good works, so let’s walk in them (Ephesians 2:10).