24.5.11

The First Last

Yesterday I led my last ever Staff Meeting. Although we have experienced a few 'lasts' in Aberystwyth (last Christmas and Easter etc), this was the first real 'last' that shows we’re soon to be picking up and moving out.
Each Monday morning we meet as a church staff team. We take it in turns to lead an hour long session with worship, a 20 minute devotional on a bible passage with questions before we break off into groups to pray for the week.
Yesterday’s was on Psalm 20 and it was my last turn on the rota to lead the session. {you can read my devotional here if you like}.
In a way, I’m almost glad that it’s over. Although I love doing the bible study and research that goes into the devotional, I’ve never really got to the stage of enjoying leading the group. Let’s just say I’m not a natural in front of a crowd!
But at the same time I love to see how God has used us and moulded us in the years that we have been here.
I remember the first time I led a session: I was terrified, didn’t really know how to go about putting a talk together and I stumbled my way through the prayers.
Now,  even though I don’t feel natural doing it I can confidently lead a study, I feel so much happier handling and explaining the bible and I can lead a group of people in a session of prayer and worship without having to plan everything down to the last minute detail.
When I started this job it was just a stop-gap for me until we found something out of Aber. The idea of being a vicar’s wife had never entered my head. But God knew his plan for us…he has provided a perfect training ground for us to learn how a good church works, and I know all that we have learnt will stand us in good stead for our future ministry.
But in order to have a 'future ministry' that means we have to leave what we have now and I still don’t know how I feel. Either:
a) I’m repressing my feelings, which will all explode in a horrid, ugly messy cry at some point {probably at the most embarrassing time possible, like at the front of church}, or
b) God is giving me peace about the move
I’ll let you know when I decide which it is.
Quick questions
1. Have you ever lead a bible study? What’s your top tip for group participation
2. Has God ever provided for you in a way that you could only see in hindsight?

7 comments:

  1. HA! I love option a. I hope you don't explode into a horrible mess though! :)

    Being a teacher for 10 years, (not a bible study leader mind you) I can say that if you had a good mother, you will make a good teacher. At least, in my life, I teach like my mother mothered me. That doesn't help, does it??

    Participants hate this, but you can give direct questions - like "Suzy, what did you think of such and such?" Or "Dan, can you think of a time when....." I don't HIGHLY recommend it, but sometimes it just takes one or two of those to get the ones talking who were previously sitting there going "I think I know, but I'm not sure, but I may want to say something, but I'm not sure, but maybe I can add to this conversation, but maybe not..." You know?

    Did I just explode on your comment form??? :)

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  2. May I say Rachel Maynard you are very good at leading them and you are going to be very missed...x

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  3. Ah, I have led a few bible studies and am still totally learning... I either go into ridiculous depth or skim everything for fear of doing the first. In terms of participation I'd say one of the things I learned (not from leading bu from participating) is that after asking a question, letting the awkward silence happen for a bit will sometimes get someone to say the thing they were not sure about, like, in my hall group last year, surprise surprise I'd end up anwering quetions and talking a lot because others were quite shy, and I would want to fill the silences but eventually I just decided not to answer and then others would participate once thewy realised i was not going to just do it for them... but this is long and a tangent.

    Also God has massively provided in ways I could only see in hindsight, yes, I'd be more likely to tell you in person about it than write on here about some of them. :] xxx

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  4. I hope all of the changes go smoothly for y'all. Change can be scary but just as fun. Growing up, my family always referred to anything that included an unknown as "an adventure". So, this is going to be an adventure for you and your husband. Makes it sound a little bit fun?

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  5. Well, I've never lead a Bible study...
    And yes, God is constantly providing for us!
    I wasn't enjoying my last job and... when I came back from our honeymoon I found out I was fired. Then I was really worried about money, and suddenly I had a photoshoot, more private classes and a new job as an English teacher.
    I couldn't be more grateful!

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  6. I love Bible studies more than anything!! I love to lead them too... although I much prefer the already written ones. :) So it's more like facilitating and I don't have to be the "teacher".

    For participation... I find one of the most important things is being willing to open up and share about my life. If I won't do it I can't expect others to do it. Also I find that just sitting in silence for a while after asking a question... usually those quiet people start to speak up. It's easy to get nervous in the silence and just do all the talking, and I'm a talker, so learning to just shut my mouth sometimes wasn't easy haha. :)

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  7. I've done a few Bible studies and one of the best things I think I've found for participation is to prepare questions and then to ask people to discuss in groups and then feedback. You generally get a good range of answers and everyone has contributed to the discussion.

    God has provided people, money, transport for me in miraculous ways that I have only ever realised later on in the day. He's pretty good like that. x

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