A year ago, my daughter Charlee and I participated in an online Bible Study for pre-teen girls. Each Monday for eight weeks we would log on to listen to some amazing women help girls and their moms study the Bible. Though the entire experience was rewarding, the moment that moves me a year later is when we they encouraged us to pray together mom and daughter. As I looked down at my daughter, freckles dancing across the bridge of her nose, her eyes scrunched tightly, her hands sincerely clasped. This moment stirred something within me that took a year to articulate.
Fast forward a few months and a nudge to do a girls bible study just wouldn’t go away. I reached out to our children’s pastor and she responded enthusiastically. We set a date for October, ordered some study materials, and started promoting the study. Little by little the registrations came through. When the day finally arrived, I welcomed six 3rd—5th graders who joined me for eight weeks. As we studied the book of Ruth, we zoomed out—understanding the context, zoomed in—worked to understand the particulars, zeroed in—learned what God was saying then, and zipped it up—determined how we could apply that truth now.
It. was. glorious. The girls were so excited to learn and understand and walked with me through the process of reading the book of Ruth and learning from her example of loyalty. Their questions and observations inspired me. And I found that I loved interacting with them and enjoyed the process of teaching the Bible.
I loved it so much that we did another study in January about Miriam and her example of courage. This time with nine girls—five of which returned from the first study! I also invited another leader to help me with our growing group of girls. Though the material didn’t seem as cohesive as the first time, I was again inspired and encouraged by the curiosity and observations of these precious girls.
How’d It Go?
It’s been two weeks since we wrapped up this study and I’m already dreaming about our next study. I know we’ll do a full study in the fall but I think this summer I’ll try a pop up Bible Study. Since many families travel over the summer, I’d like for each study to stand on it’s own to where girls can attend when they are in town and not worry that they’ve missed something on the weeks they are out of town.
I believe the study went really well. It created a space for girls to build friendships and learn about the Bible. They also enjoyed having special treats and a room that was just for them. It was also a safe space for them. Several times, I opened our time with a game called Solarium. This is a picture driven game where they choose an image that answers a question. For example, pick up a picture that represents your week. The girls were vulnerable in a way I wasn’t expecting. One sharing about sadness for an upcoming move. Another reflecting that even when we feel alone, we are never alone because God is always with us.
Although I believe the study went really well overall, there are a few things that I aim to improve in our next study. First, I asked a friend to help me with the study and although she was completely happy and willing to assist, I undervalued her presence in not including her in more of the teaching and planning for each week. I think the girls would have benefited from hearing from her more and I would have learned more about teamwork and collaboration.
With the growth of the group also came the challenge of making sure every voice was heard. I wonder about a few of the quieter girls. Did they feel included? Did the larger group cause the safety of the group to diminish?
One final challenge was time. We just never had enough of it! Moving forward I’ll need to consider how to plan the material to fit within the 90 minutes we have together.
I was thankful for the trust and enthusiasm of our children’s pastor. Not only did I bring the idea to her and she was fully on board, she also edited the videos we used to introduce the lessons, ordered the books, and cheered me on every step of the way. Speaking of those videos, I had parents come in to record those introductions. The parent support I had was amazing. And their encouragement bridged the gap on those weeks when I wasn’t sure the lesson had landed the way I hoped.
As I reflect further, I could not have imagined teaching a girls bible study a year ago. Now that I’ve done two, I can’t imagine not being able to walk with girls through the Bible.