A new church in a farming community of northwest Nebraska meets in the American Legion Hall on Sunday mornings. Though the lighting is fairly dim, the spirit of the people present matched the outdoors on that brilliant fall morning. Until recently all adults met together in one class, but now the guys meet in a home nearby while the gals meet at the back of the “sanctuary.”
I was a guest in the women’s Sunday School class of eight—ranging in age from 20 to 70. While at least four of them have been Christians for several years, the stories that emerged from three of the women during the Bible study were testimonies of God’s fresh work. Joanne, forty-something, has been a Christian just over a year. She wants to be in Bible study to learn more about how to live as a Christian–even as she struggles to change several things in her life.
Six months after she followed Christ, her son became a Christian, primarily through her new commitment, witnessing conversations, and the prayers of her Sunday School class. Two months later his girlfriend, the 20-year-old, came to Christ, and soon after they were married. Now they are expecting their first child and talking about how they want to have a Christian home.
During the Bible discussion about obedience to God, Jennifer openly talked about the struggle she and her husband have had to begin tithing. The young mom also talked about frank discussions the couple has had about why the husband shouldn’t visit the nearby casino on pay days, even if he tithes and provides for his family. These kinds of statements were met by acknowledgment of temptations and encouragement to continue growing in their faith.
These women are a missional Sunday School class, but they probably don’t even know it. What they do know is that living and talking about your faith results in changed lives.
- They pray for each other and for those they know who are lost.
- Talking about Jesus and their faith is a natural thing to do.
- Encouragement and living life together is a lifestyle
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in the small church.
- Personal Bible study is important to learn what God expects and wants from them.
- Discussing the Bible passages with others provides insights that apply to their lives.
I was humbled and inspired by that hour of Bible study with these women. Later that day as I drove through the plains of Nebraska, I thought, “They get it!”
Marie Clark is Team Leader for the Bible Teaching & Discipling Team in the Kansas-Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists. She enjoys serving in Sunday School in her church and also gardening when she is home.