One thing I learned in 2020 was that I am extremely grateful for technology. Yes, I often sarcastically make fun of people’s phones by referring to them as an extra appendage. And I may have been known as “that mom,” telling my daughters to put their phones away, embarrassing them in all kinds of settings. But if 2020 taught me anything, it taught me that my phone (and technology in general) make life, communication, and community so much easier in the midst of isolation and quarantines.
For example, I would say something about needing an item from a store, and my husband would say, “Done!”—he would order the item on his phone while I was talking. I would think about my friends at church after not seeing them for months and wonder how they were doing, then send a text or comment on social media. Although not the same as face-to-face communication, my phone has been my friend and helped me to reach out and minister to people in ways I never dreamed would be possible.
Online Bible Studies
For years I’ve taught Bible studies in my home and at my church. One thing that is common in any Bible study group is that women sometimes miss the group time. Illness, travel, work, and this year’s social distancing and quarantines are all reasons people can’t make the group time or gather. This year, our women’s Bible study groups were able to pivot and do our studies online via Zoom using various online Bible study options on women.lifeway.com. Women could watch the videos anytime during the week, and then we would use our Zoom meeting time for discussion and prayer. No, it is not the same as meeting in person, but as I always say, “Any Bible study is better than no Bible study!” I’ve also been able to share this online Bible study platform before 2020 with women who were on maternity leave, going through chemo treatments, balancing a heavy load at work, or any other number of reasons for why they could not make it to the group meetings. Instead of them dropping out of Bible study, we just found another way for them to stay engaged.
As I’ve helped to monitor comments on the online Bible studies, I’ve been able to encourage women from all over the world who participate online. It has become an amazing ministry as the online community learns from the Bible teacher in the specific study and from one another. It has broadened my world learning from believers in other countries and cultures. And at the same time, it has made the world smaller knowing I have sisters in Christ thousands of miles away who are praying and studying the same Scripture as me. Just go to women.lifeway.com to find out more about the next free online Bible study. They are great for groups or individuals in any season of spiritual growth.
Journey and Stand Firm Subscriptions
For years, Lifeway has published devotional magazines Journey for women and Stand Firm for men. Recently, Lifeway made both of these publications available in a digital format—and what an opportunity for ministry! Don’t get me wrong, I still love having my physical Bible, journal, and devotional at home to use daily and as encouragement for others, but I’ve discovered the freedom of having some of these things on my phone as well.
I always have my phone with me. It is so easy to dive into Scripture or a devotional reading when I find a few extra moments by pulling out my phone. This Christmas, I’ve found these digital subscriptions to be a great gift idea that will keep giving throughout the year. Seriously, what gift do you give a new twenty-something son-in-law? What do you give to a faithful children’s minister at your church? Or a neighbor who is struggling and does not have a church home? What can I afford? Do I give them another $5 or $10 gift card for coffee? The best gift I can give to all of these people is something that will point them to Jesus, help them understand God’s Word, and provide encouragement for each day. So instead, I’ve gone with the $2.10 per month digital subscription for a devotional that will be on his/her phone and bring truth and peace each month. There is an FAQ button on lifeway.com/journey and lifeway.com/standfirm that gives more details about these online subscriptions.
Lifeway Women Digital Events
Honestly, the introvert in me has loved some of the isolation and quarantine of 2020. However, the extrovert has had some tough days. Introvert or extrovert, we were all created with a desire to learn and for community with others. I really don’t know what 2021 will look like. A lot of it may depend upon where you live, your own health, and your specific situation.
I found great joy and some great teaching in 2020 by participating in some digital events and training. You may not even know about some of the digital opportunities for ministry training, encouragement, and enrichment offered by Lifeway Women, so check out these options and think about how you might participate, allowing the Lord to minister to you. Or maybe you could share the link with someone you know who needs God—His wisdom, encouragement, comfort, or spiritual growth.
In each episode of the Marked Podcast, Kelly King and Elizabeth Hyndman talk about what God is doing—how He has and is marking each of us.
Training through virtual events such as Lifeway Women Leadership Forum and You Lead Virtual offer training for women who desire to learn more about leadership for their role in their church or community. These trainings are for any woman, whether she is leading Bible study, serving in her church in a volunteer or staff capacity, impacting her workplace for Christ, or having the desire to know more about how she can be a woman of influence.
You Lead Webinars can be found on the Lifeway Women YouTube channel. These webinars are recorded each month and are free. The panelists are seasoned women leaders who discuss topics to help women in their spiritual growth and ministry in their churches and communities. They cover topics such as prayer, mentoring, girls ministry, and building a ministry team.
Lifeway Women Simulcast Events provide biblically sound, trustworthy, and fun events for women of all ages featuring trusted Christian speakers and musicians. Women can learn more about God and develop a deeper relationship with Him. These simulcast and digital events offer a variety of experiences that include training, prayer, worship, and, most importantly, Bible teaching.
Working with Lifeway Women has given me an advantage. I’ve been able to learn new ways to communicate and minister to women because of my work. But the joy of that is how I get to minister to women not only through my work but also through my church. I’m praying that by sharing some solid digital resources with you, you can use them for ministry in your church, community, or around the world. Hello 2021, here we come!
Michelle Hicks is the managing editor for Journey devotional magazine with Lifeway Women. Michelle served as a freelance writer, campus minister, and corporate chaplain before coming to Lifeway. She is a graduate of the University of North Texas and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Michelle has a deep hunger for God’s Word and wants others to discover the abundant life they can have with Jesus as their Lord and Savior.