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Finding and keeping friendships when we moved from Kentucky to Charlotte, NC was challenging and downright hard.
For reasons I may not know this side of Heaven, God’s allowed this recent move and search for friendship to take more time than it ever has. Living in a rental house for a year and changing churches twice have definitely complicated those attempts I have made at making friendships.
Chances are the women in your church are struggling to find and keep friends too.
Or your church may be like so many I hear from – their women are bound so tightly together in cliques that it leaves others feeling unwelcome.
While stuck in that season, I was asked to review the Bible study We Saved You a Seat: Finding and Keeping Lasting Friendships by Lisa-Jo Baker.
It was the tagline that got to me. I had this sense that while this was hard for me, it was hard for others too. As a woman who was longing to make new friends, I couldn’t wait to check it out!
Here’s what I’ve discovered…
The videos for We Saved You a Seat are like no other Bible study I’ve ever done.
Over 7 sessions, each roughly 20 minutes, a group of five girlfriends laugh, share, and dig into the challenges of friendship through the lens of the Bible.
Watching the videos was a lot like watching a clean, Christian all-female version of a round-table talk show.
The videos are going to connect with many of your younger women.
I’ll be honest, some of your women may not like the videos because they are different than what they are used to. The style of the videos may grow on them, as it did me. A few of your women may even need a gentle reminder that just maybe the video component isn’t about them – but that they help bring the study to life for other women in the room. Of course, you could do the study without the video component too.
As I watched each video session what initially felt like eavesdropping on a private conversation transformed into an invitation to sit at the table with these 5 women – Lisa-Jo Baker, Alia Joy, Deidra Riggs, Aliza Latta, and Kristen Strong.
The Seven Sessions cover a range and depth of friendship issues with transparency and honesty:
- Friendship Takes Showing Up
- Friendship Takes Vulnerability
- Friendship Takes Encouragement (my favorite!)
- Friendship Takes Service
- Friendship Takes Forgiveness
- Friendship Takes Walking Away Wisely
- Friendship Takes Action
While some knowledge of several key basic Bible stories (Good Samaritan, for example) is assumed by the author, the workbook provides the opportunity and verses to review or preview those stories for the first time.
This would be a great study to use as an entry point for guests or newcomers or as a launch for small groups or a mentoring program.
If you’re looking for a study to offer over the summer months this would be a great study to consider.
Here’s a peak at what your women will experience:
The three days of homework with the optional Friendship Challenge are manageable when moms may be juggling children at home all day, summer camps, pool dates, etc.
I also think, with a little work, it could be the foundation for a really rich retreat on friendship. The We Saved You a Seat Bible study book would be a perfect retreat door prize or favor (pictured below)!
Expect rich small group discussions. I would most definitely divide a bigger group into smaller groups of 7 or 8 to allow every woman the opportunity to share. The discussion questions provided in the leader’s guide in the back make it easy for your facilitators to prepare. While you could watch the video and discuss the questions within an hour, I’d recommend scheduling your study for an hour and a half if you can.
As women’s ministry leaders, God has placed us in a position where we can challenge our women and ourselves to embrace interruptions and make time, as Jesus did for relationships.
Invite your women to:
- Debunk the myth of effortless friendships
- Overcome the fear of being known
- Stop running from friendship and find the courage to connect
- Deepen their relationship with Jesus through strengthening their relationships with others
When our women develop deeper relationships with each other and become intentional in connecting with those God places in their path it strengthens and grows our ministry to women.
Please note: While I was able to view all of the videos, I was only able to read through a few of the lessons and skimmed the rest of the workbook. While my number one desire is for you to teach women how to read the Bible, there is a time and a place for “Bible study books”. For groups needing a focus on friendship, this would be a great study to consider. It would be a great warm-up to really connect a group and build relationships before moving into a deeper study of God’s Word.