7 Reasons why I love to lead Bible studies {And why you can, too}

I taught an adult LifeGroup for 6 years at our church in Atlanta and every Sunday morning on my 15 minute drive in to church I would have the same inner dialogue: “Who am I to teach this group? What qualifies me to speak into their life? They are basically my peers!” Then I would remember what I had studied that week, and the passion I felt about it would rise up, spurring me on to share my newfound insights with them. “I’m sharing the Truth and this is important. It’s not about me…I’m just the messenger. If not me, then who?” I loved leading that group despite the weekly wrestling matches.

Then we came to Chets and I had to say goodbye to that beloved group. I taught a middle school girls LifeGroup for three years (so rewarding!) and then helped my husband start a new adult LifeGroup (best one at Chets!) but I never led it. Through an unplanned turn of events I found myself leading a Chets Women’s Bible study in the Fall of 2013. And I loved it. I had forgotten how fun it was to facilitate a study and I’ve led several more since then.

What does all this have to do with me you may be asking? Well, we need some women to lead studies starting in August! You may be like me and think who am I to lead a study? Well let me give you the top 7 reasons you can do it, too.

  1. You really only have to be one week ahead. You don’t need to know and understand the entire Bible in order to lead a study. Just stay one week ahead in the material and if you don’t understand something there are a gazillion commentaries online to help you dig deeper. Here’s a secret. No one is expecting you to be a Bible scholar. They just want someone to discuss Scripture with them.
  1. You don’t need the spiritual gift of teaching. Say what? I’m not saying that doesn’t help, of course, but studies are written to facilitate and not teach. There’s a big difference. You do not have to come up with the content. Many excellent studies are based on the facilitator model and even include a teaching DVD. Thoughtful discussion questions are provided in the Leader’s book.
  1. You don’t have to be an extrovert to be a leader. In fact I think introverts make outstanding leaders because they strive to give everyone a chance to talk simply to avoid being the center of attention. I should know. 😏
  1. You really can fill two hours. It sounds daunting, but don’t forget you are leading women and women love to talk! The connections made in women’s Bible studies are so rich. The time actually passes too quickly.
  1. We train you! Whether you have led studies for years or are brand new, there is a required training lunch before each semester. I think this is so wise. Practical pointers are shared and you get to meet all the leaders and realize we are all nervous whether veterans or not. We share insights and lessons learned and I always come away from the training having gained some helpful new tip.
  1. You are bathed in prayer. Not only is the Bible study team praying for you but so are the fellow leaders and the Chets Women prayer team. I love how all of the women’s ministry is truly undergirded in prayer. You will feel those prayers and be blessed by them!
  1. You will learn so much more leading the study rather than taking it. It really is true. This one is really just a bonus! You are interacting with the Scriptures on a much deeper level seeking God for His wisdom. Getting those aha moments are so exciting and rewarding. What a gift to get to see life change firsthand.

So have you read a good book lately? See if it has been turned into a study. Or take a look in our ministry closet to peruse the many studies we own. The key is to find a topic or book of the Bible God has been teaching you about lately. I love to pick authors to whom I can relate and who God is clearly using. When you lead on what you are passionate about the semester just flies by.

Have you felt the nudge to lead a study? If so, I pray you feel encouraged to take a step outside your comfort zone. And for those of you who haven’t led in a while, I hope my words remind you how rewarding it is to use the gifts He has given you.

Contact Susan Johnston, Chets Women’s Bible Studies Leader, at susandenette10@gmail.com to sign up or to look over the studies in the ministry closet. I can’t wait to see how God uses you to build up the body here at Chets!


{This post was written by Kelley Hastings. Kelley is a writer-in-training and member of the Author Launch Community. She has been married to Eddie, her Seminary sweetheart, for almost 20 years and they have two charming and rowdy boys. Kelley serves on the Chets Women’s Lead Team via the Small Gatherings/Connect team and helps her husband lead an adult LifeGroup. She loves encouraging women to apply the truth of God’s Word and make deep connections. Her heart beats fast for infertility issues, adoption, families affected by cancer, and, of course, dark chocolate.}

For Only One Soul…

A Reflection from the Franklin Graham Festival of Hope May 29-31, 2015 (BGEA- Billy Graham Evangelist Association)

My monumental weekend of “soul-saving” had finally arrived.  It felt like I had trained forever to ensure I was adequately prepared to proudly execute my volunteer assignment as Counselor for the Festival of Hope.  My preparation consisted of attending three Christian Life Witness Courses, completing weekly bible study homework, memorizing scriptures on flash cards, attending follow-up event meetings, and watching hours of YouTube videos of Billy and Franklin Graham (since I had personally never heard their message before).  I did prayer walks circling downtown Jacksonville just like I had learned from Mark Batterson’s book, Draw the Circle.  I participated in small women’s groups for the success of the Festival and I even borrowed a video series from Susan Freese called “Share Jesus Without Fear”, to guarantee that I was equipped from A to Z, especially since the counseling would be to a complete stranger.

The festival brought people of all faiths together at the Veterans Memorial Arena for three consecutive nights to partake in awesome worship and hear the Message of Hope. Franklin’s message was brief, direct, and simply anointed. I believe Hebrews 4:12 best describes the impact of the message…

“For the word of God is quick [living], and powerful [active], and sharper than any two edged sword … judge of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

It was no surprise that God’s holy presence fell upon the festival, as it was with expectancy that He would honor the prayers of thousands of believers who faithfully prayed for its success days, months, and even years prior to the festival date.  Due to the amount of training resources and recruiting efforts for the hundreds of Counselors by the Billy Graham Evangelist Association (BGEA) to be in attendance for the festival, it was my impression that I would be potentially interacting with at least 3 to 5 people nightly.

I was confident God saw how diligently my attempts were to prepare to witness to new believers and now was the time to put my love for evangelism into practice for His glory.

To my astonishment, on Friday and Sunday there were so many Counselors, that sadly, there was no one left for me to be assigned to counsel. It was evident at that point how BGEA is sincerely committed to doing God’s work and saving souls when they invested the resources to ensure hundreds of people per night could be ministered to without hesitation.

God revealed His love for even ONE soul to me during the festival.  On Saturday, I knew for sure there would be several people I would finally get to counsel to receive Christ as the arena had double the attendance.  As Franklin made the alter call for people to get out of their seats and make their way down to the center of the arena,  I anxiously awaited the hand motion sign from my Supervisor Counselor to pair me with the complete stranger, with whom I would finally get to demonstrate my new skills.  Unfortunately, my heart was beating so hard from nervousness that I didn’t see my daughter waving her arms frantically at me from several rows away to get my attention.  She shouted, “Come on mom, Jasmine wants you to pray with her”.  At this point, my focus goes from anxiously waiting to be assigned to a complete stranger, to my daughter calling me counsel her 10-year-old friend. A friend who rode with us to the festival, who has slept over our house on multiple occasions, who has sung the lyrics to “God is Not Dead” by the Newsboys in my car, and who has attended service at Chets with my family so many times she is listed on my child’s swipe badge.

How is it possible she has never prayed to accept Jesus? And selfishly, how is it possible she wanted me to pray with her on the important weekend of my “Evangelism debut”?  This weekend was supposed to be dedicated to coming face to face with a total stranger, not my daughter’s friend!  For a split second I froze in my seat. I could hear the devil mocking me, singing the nanny-nanny-boo-boo song that everything I did to prepare was a total waste of my time. Yet, I immediately stood up and practically ran towards her.  I walked with her to the center of the arena where all the Counselors congregated with the new believers in Christ.  I carried out my assignment as Counselor as this young child was searching to know Jesus (He was a stranger to her!).  God revealed to me that this ONE SOUL was so important and precious to Him that He hand-picked my daughter to befriend her and me to witness to her one-on-one to receive Christ and welcome her to the family.  God showed me how important she was and that He prepared and used me to be His instrument.  Now I pray that I no longer assume that because someone knows the words to a Christian song or goes to church that they are saved. We have to boldly ask.

To God be the Glory!


{This post was written by Liza Akley.  Liza has been married for almost 13 years to her husband Nick.  She has 3 amazing children (Anthony, 24, Jasmine, 21, and Ilana, 11). Liza is currently seeking employment in the nonprofit world after almost 24 yrs. in mid-senior level positions in the collections/customer service industry.  She has been a member at Chets for 3 yrs and currently serves on the Unleash Team and with Kidz Extreme.  Liza also enjoys running and catering lunches and conducts volunteer work with Heartland Hospice as bereavement counselor and Children’s Home Society of FL as Spanish Tutor.  She loves her Chets family and is seeking to grow in spiritual knowledge to work for the Lord full time.}

Unleash: Serving with Chets Women and World Relief

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I recently had the opportunity to participate in a service project led by the Unleash team of the Chets Women Ministry. I was on a team of four ladies and we had the pleasure of setting up an apartment for a family moving here from Burma. This family has suffered from persecution for their faith in Christ and had been living in a refugee camp in Thailand for 10 years. Chets Women partnered with World Relief for the opportunity to bless this family. Items were generously donated by women of Chets Creek Church that also wanted to share in blessing this family. Upon arriving at the apartment and unloading all of the donated items, I was overwhelmed to see how much was so generously donated! It was awesome to see that this family would have everything they need to begin their new lives here. After sorting all of the items, we then got to work on setting everything up in the proper rooms and places. We could definitely see God’s hand in this as everything came together.  There were items donated from many different people, but somehow it all worked together perfectly. We concluded our time there by praying for the family and praying over the apartment.

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It was such a blessing to join with these women and play a role in what God is doing in the lives of this Burmese family. I have been praying about what my spiritual gift is and where the Lord wants me to serve. I have been praying to have a “yes” heart for wherever God is leading me, taking small steps of faith because I know that Jesus has said whoever has been faithful with little, can be trusted with much. However, while I have been praying for God to show me “the big picture,” I must not forget that I need to seek Him. I cannot forget that it’s not about what I can do for God, but it’s about knowing Him better. I left this service opportunity praising God that He allowed me to be a part of something special that day, but knowing that it’s not about me…it’s about Him. I would also like to encourage any women out there who are not sure where or how to serve, to trust God and say yes to an opportunity that comes their way. Continue to seek Him and his kingdom first!


{This post was written by Hilary Windsor.  Hilary has been married to her amazing husband Brian for almost 12 years. They have 2 boys that are full of life and keep them on their toes! She is a part-time Speech-Language Pathologist and works with adults in a home health setting. She enjoys running, which is a good thing since she is addicted to sweets! Hilary and Brian led a college lifegroup at Chets Hodges for 2 years, prior to assisting in the launch of Chets Nocatee where they now lead an adult lifegroup. She loves the Lord and wants to be obedient to wherever He is leading her!}