March 5, 2018

Most women in our churches are used to learning environments, not discipleship-centric ones. A learning environment is focused on, well, learning, and even fellowship, too. A discipling one is focused on people actually following after Jesus as disciples, and I don’t mean just following Him to church on Sundays. And speaking of church, my old mentor, Cecil Bean, made an observation that’s worth repeating. He said we’ve designed church to be like a school that never requires anyone to take a test. We hear all the time about kids in school going from one grade to the next, and who even graduate, but are unable to read, write or do math with any level of proficiency. And church-folk can wind up in the same boat. We can attend church and Bible study regularly but remain functionally illiterate in our learning environments that never require us to “take a test.” The good news is a learning environment can transition to a discipling environment when two things are enlisted – expectation and accountability. The expectation is growth and the accountability is to intentional living. However, be advised – expecting growth and keeping women spiritually honest and moving forward through accountability won’t make them feel comfortable. But if Jesus made Christianity about the Cross and not comfort, then we can’t make it anything less (Alan Hirsch) and still call it Christianity. Bottom line – you can’t shy away from expectation and accountability and get discipleship, and if someone wants a Christianity that’s comfortable and manageable, I’m not sure they actually want Jesus. We should expect women to do their Bible study. We should encourage and challenge them to adopt and maintain a quiet time. We should press them to read and research and think and journal and pray. But know this – all that learning doesn’t amount to a hill of beans in God’s eye if what is learned isn’t practiced because a practiced Christianity is what changes us, our relationships and can change the world. So, may all this learning we do as women lead us to becoming disciples of our Christ vs. mostly learning a bunch of really neat things about Him.

Susie Walther
The Well Bible Study Ministry