• Today I’m excited to share with you some ideas for hosting your own small group or book club using my Bible study, Daughters of the King: Finding Your Place in the Biblical Story. Longtime friend and international missions advocate Debi Pruitt is leading some friends and college students through the book. Because some of her students are… [Continue Reading]

    Host your own ‘Daughters of the King’ small group
  • When she said the words, I cringed. “I stayed in youth ministry for 15 years full-time, because I never wanted to graduate to women’s miseries,” joked popular Bible teacher Christine Caine during the launch of Liberty University’s new leadership initiative called Propel Women. It’s a sentiment shared by many women these days. As an increasing… [Continue Reading]

    The missing element of women’s ministries: the gospel & Titus 2
  • For most of my Christian life, I missed out on the best part of the Bible. I don’t mean the best story or the best character. I mean, somewhere along the way, I left out the fourth and final plot move of the Bible. I knew the entire story of the Bible, but I lived… [Continue Reading]

    Plot Move 4 in God’s Story (Don’t miss the best part of the Bible)
  • Looking for a new family devotional to kick off the New Year? Then check out the recently released I Can Learn the Bible: 52 Devotions and Scriptures for Kids by Holly Hawkins Shivers. Published by Tommy Nelson, this weekly devotional will help you hide God’s Word in even the smallest heart in your home. I Can… [Continue Reading]

    A family devotional for the New Year

Host your own ‘Daughters of the King’ small group

tips and ideas for hosting your own Daughters of the King Bible study or book club {Hive Resources}

Today I’m excited to share with you some ideas for hosting your own small group or book club using my Bible study, Daughters of the King: Finding Your Place in the Biblical Story.

Longtime friend and international missions advocate Debi Pruitt is leading some friends and college students through the book. Because some of her students are bound for the mission field, Debi thought the book’s emphasis on discipleship using the whole story of Scripture would be helpful for them.

And since the roots for this book were born out of my days living in Southeast Asia, I couldn’t agree with her more!

Kick of your study of the Daughters of the King with these ideas {Hive Resources}

At the kick-off for the Bible study, Debi set up a spread of refreshments fit for a queen (chocolate covered strawberries? Yum-o!) She decorated with fun crowns and a globe a reminder of God’s story for the nations. How cute are these gals wearing their crowns?

host your own Daughters of the King Bible study {Hive Resources}

I love how she made use of the free printable pack I offered a while back and customized one of the ready-made invites. She even used copies of the book as decorations.

Here’s what Debi had to say about the time with her small group:

Ideas for leading Daughters of the King Bible study {Hive Resources}

Thanks, Debi, for all the feedback and pictures!

Is your small group reading Daughters of the King? I’d love to hear from you! Send your ideas and pictures to me at info@hiveresources.com or  post them to your social media sites with #DaughtersoftheKingbook.

This post contains affiliate links. For more info, click here.

The missing element of women’s ministries: the gospel & Titus 2

Growing a healthy womens ministry {a discipleship series at Hive Resources}

When she said the words, I cringed.

“I stayed in youth ministry for 15 years full-time, because I never wanted to graduate to women’s miseries,” joked popular Bible teacher Christine Caine during the launch of Liberty University’s new leadership initiative called Propel Women.

It’s a sentiment shared by many women these days. As an increasing number of women spend the majority of their day outside the home, traditional women’s ministries framed solely around home and hearth can miss the mark.

“We are hemorrhaging a generation of women,” lamented Caine, quoting a study that has been circulating my Facebook feed recently outlining the reasons women are “unplugging” from church.

“Women are underutilized at church because their gifts are not recognized or respected,” she surmised. “So…some of these women can run Fortune 500 companies, but the most [they] can do at church is bake a casserole.”

The message of Caine’s speech was clear. For the next generation of women in the church, casseroles and children are out. Leadership and spiritual gifts are in.

Leading in Titus 2 ways

While I worry about establishing a false dichotomy between working in a nursery and being a leader, I agree with Caine to some degree. A woman’s role in the church should include more than potlucks and nursery duty. God gives each believer vast opportunities in which to use their gifts to serve his church.

I also believe that Titus 2 is not and should not be the exhaustive passage on women’s ministry in the church. In the New Testament church, women prophesied (Acts 21:7-9; 1 Cor. 11:5), taught alongside their husbands (Acts 18:26-27), provided gifts out of their own financial resources (Luke 8:1-3), and served in other notable and important ways (Rom. 16:1; Acts 16:13-15).

This is a lesson I’ve learned 10 times over as the core member of a Southern Baptist church plant in what is considered a pioneer area of the United States. Of Pittsburgh’s 2.5 million residents, 42.3 percent claim no religious affiliation according to the North American Mission Board. Our church currently averages 50 adults and 30 children on Sundays, further illuminating Jesus’ Matthew 9:37-38 statement that the “harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.”

Effective and healthy church plants rely on the service and investment of both men and women. And while this is true of any church old or new, personally, I have discovered more ways to serve and utilize my spiritual gifts in our church plant than in any church I’ve previously attended.

a healthy womens ministry connects the gospel to titus 2 {Hive Resources}

And while we bake our fair share of casseroles (everyone’s got to eat!) and crawl on the floor with the preschoolers, the women in our church plant are a stout group. They teach youth, care for babies, disciple other women. They open their homes, share meals with visitors, and foster discussion alongside their husbands in small groups.

They are idea-makers, servants, strategizers, evangelists, theologians, and teachers. They are administrators, encouragers, mentors, and wisdom sharers. For this reason, I look forward to what Liberty’s Propel Women initiative offers members of my gender who truly desire to integrate their faith, work, and church life.

Discipling in new ways

But here’s where I’d like to offer a word of caution.

I don’t believe women are leaving the church simply because they can’t find adequate ways to use their unique spiritual gifts. I believe women are leaving the church because the church isn’t fully discipling them.

Across the board, women’s ministries must implement better discipleship strategies that help women perceive needs around them with missional eyes and then train them how to employ their spiritual gifts in those areas.

Considering there are no “children’s ministry” spiritual gifts or “casserole maven” gifts (although, hello, that would be amazing), a true disciple will find a way to utilize her spiritual gift in any context.  This is where my church planting context kicks into over drive, because a younger congregation typically has more needs and service opportunities than workers willing to serve. And no place is this reality more reticent than in church nursery and preschool rooms.

Women’s ministries, then, must help women connect the dots between the gospel and the Titus 2 activities that typically appear in women’s ministries. What is gospel activity about hospitality? How does the gospel underscore the importance of smart, gifted women serving in the children’s department or any area of the church for that matter?

Our church plant is only one of 68 other SBC churches serving a city of 2.5 million people. That means there is only one church in my city for every 43,754 residents. So, when I serve in our children’s department, I’m giving lost Moms and Dads a chance to hear about Jesus in the worship service. On numerous occasions, the children who hear our Bible stories go home to “teach” the truth to their parents.  That’s important stuff.

Often, the first place we ask new believers to serve (after receiving a background checked) is the preschool class. Why do we do that? Because we aren’t just discipling children, we’re discipling new believers who serve in this capacity as they learn Bible stories in simple ways and then learn how to teach them for themselves.

Serving in the nursery is a gospel activity. Teaching women to see the missional aspect of serving children and how to utilize their spiritual gift in that capacity takes intentional discipleship.

Now, let’s talk casseroles and the gospel.

In the first year of our launch, our plant met in a two-room office building. Our homes became the central hub of our church’s gospel activity. The homes of Living Faith Community Church have welcomed lost neighbors, hurting community members, and even international students who had never heard the name of Jesus. And whether casseroles actually made an appearance or not, the point is food and the preparation it requires forms a bridge over which the body of Christ is strengthened and its mission more easily achieved.

Recently, a family in our church was struggling. Our church family surrounded them by delivering meals to their home. It was a living picture of the gospel nourishing the body of Christ.  Last week, I attended a discipleship group where a Muslim woman attended for the first time. We dug into God’s Word and prayed together over sandwiches. That’s gospel stuff, but it took an older woman demonstrating to the young women around her table how Titus 2 intersects with the gospel as she orchestrated the meeting, opened her home, prepared the food, and lead in Bible study.

So, here’s my point. Can women do other things in the church besides care for children and cook? Of course! However, in a day when our culture is already hard at work whispering in the ears our women that activities like serving a meal and teaching children are trivial exercises, let’s not fuel the fire by suggesting Titus 2 activities can be executed with the least amount of spiritual giftedness. 

The missing element of most women’s ministries isn’t an adequate place to serve – it’s communicating what is gospel work about Titus 2.

When women’s ministries clearly connects the gospel to some of these very important, yet often under-valued ministries, discipleship happens and true leaders emerge.  In this way, women’s ministry will cease to be a “miserable” or irrelevant experience and become a place of gospel empowerment.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be unpacking some ideas for getting women’s ministries realigned with its true goal – discipleship. Subscribe to follow the conversation.

Plot Move 4 in God’s Story (Don’t miss the best part of the Bible)

Seeing the Story of the Scriptures {A Hive Resources Series}

For most of my Christian life, I missed out on the best part of the Bible.

I don’t mean the best story or the best character. I mean, somewhere along the way, I left out the fourth and final plot move of the Bible.

I knew the entire story of the Bible, but I lived like my story stopped at the third plot move – redemption (which is no less awesome, by the way).

But simply covering sin isn’t enough. We need more than just forgiveness. That’s because sin isn’t just the bad things we do; it’s in our nature. Our sinful natures make it impossible to love and trust and “obey right away, all the way, and with a happy heart” even after we’ve been redeemed.

Do not miss out on the best part of the Bible {Hive Resources}Sin corrupted the image of God within us wholesale, so life will never be any sort of Eden until we are completely remade.

In the fourth plot move of the Bible – restoration – the King keeps his promise to fully save us from our sin. One day, the King will return and his entire kingdom – and all his subjects – will be restored.

Here’s why neglecting the fourth plot move of the Bible is a problem: I need more than a pardon for sin, I need an entirely new life. I need a new heart that actually loves. I need a new mind that thinks pure thoughts. I need a new mouth….well, for obvious reasons. And I need a new world that doesn’t suffer or sin along with me.

We need a new everything! And replacing a few parts will only get us so far. The whole world is in need of a complete overhaul.

WHAT ‘RESTORATION’ MEANS FOR MY STORY:

So, what does our restoration look like?

When the King restores us, we will be returned to his presence. If we know Christ, today, we enjoy access to the King through his Spirit. But in the day of our restoration, we will no longer see him “in a mirror dimly,” as Paul tells us in 1 Cor. 13, but “face to face.”

The King, himself, is and will be our greatest blessing and treasure. We will dwell with him in a way that Adam and Eve only tasted in Eden.

In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”(Ps. 16:11).

When the King restores us, we will be returned to his court. Finally, we will be able to fulfill the purpose for which we were created – to serve as representatives of the King without blemish or struggle or strife. He will heal his image in us, restoring us to our place and privileged role in his newly restored kingdom.

This will be possible because we are wearing Christ’s righteous robes instead of our old filthy rags.  This will be possible because the King’s kingdom will be released from all sorrow, shame, regret, and guilt. He is making all things new – even the heavens and the earth (Is. 61; Rev. 21).

In the fourth plot move of the Bible, we are returned both to the King and to his court!

The story of the Bible doesn’t stop when God rescues us from sin. It continues as he restores us to our original position and place with him. So, don’t miss the best part of the Bible. Knowing the full story of the Bible doesn’t just matter for eternity, it impacts the way you live today.

Catch up on the others posts in this series:

Plot move 1 – CREATION – A good King created a good world …

Plot move 2 – FALL – it became corrupted by sin ….

Plot move 3 – REDEMPTION – the King is at work to redeem his kingdom

Plot move 4 – RESTORATION – and restore it through his Son, Jesus Christ.

A family devotional for the New Year

Family devotions for the New Year {Hive Resources}

Looking for a new family devotional to kick off the New Year? Then check out the recently released I Can Learn the Bible: 52 Devotions and Scriptures for Kids by Holly Hawkins Shivers. Published by Tommy Nelson, this weekly devotional will help you hide God’s Word in even the smallest heart in your home.

I Can Learn the Bible

Here’s what’s inside:

– a short and relatable devotion based on 52 Scripture verses

– explanations and illustrations of each verse that children can understand

– helpful discussion questions for parents to use in prompting their children to apply the passage to their lives

A new devotional to help your kids memorize and apply God's Word {Hive Resources}

There are a number of things I enjoyed about this book, like the fill-in-the-blank statements sprinkled throughout the text that help prompt discussion.

The author also offers a sample daily schedule of simple activities for parents to help their children memorize the weekly passage. A far cry from the moralistic lessons typically found in children’s religious material, I particularly appreciated how the author embedded a biblical worldview into each devotional.

Instilling a biblical worldview in your kids {Hive Resources}

Ultimately, I love the author’s encouragement to parents feeling the pressure to raise godly children. In her introduction, she writes:

“…we can educate our children with a biblical worldview, we can enroll them in church activities and teach them principles to the best of our abilities, and we can pray for them, discipline them, and love them well. But there is nothing like the Word of God being planted in their hearts, taking root, and producing genuine spiritual growth. Ultimately, the spiritual well-being of our children rests in the hands of God – He will form and strengthen them through His Word and His Spirit.”

52 Scriptures every kid should know {Hive Resources}

Overall, this is a wonderful devotional for families just starting to carve out time together in God’s Word, as well as for families with children ages 5-12. My only criticism is the illustrations are not available as Scripture cards or printable 8×10’s for framing. Now THAT would be fun!

Thanks to Tommy Nelson for providing a copy for review. You can purchase I Can Learn the Bible at the link. And psst, the kindle version is only $1.99 right now!

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, click here.

6 elements to a successful discipleship group

Ministry Monday Women's Ministry {Hive Resources}

Our church plant is in the thick of unrolling a discipleship strategy for women.  I’m over at Missional Women sharing some of our lessons on what works, what doesn’t, and what we can do without.  

And while there is no single formula for leading a discipleship group, we’ve discovered a few elements that can determine how successful a group can be.

6 elements to a successful discipleship group {Melissa Deming for Missional Women}

Recently, I invited myself to a friend’s discipleship group comprised of three younger women, and I observed several things “worked” for them. Not all these elements have to happen at each group meeting, but when they do appear, they ensure women are edified and equipped to make more disciples.

Here are 6 elements that make for a successful discipleship group. Click to find out what they are!  

New resources for women's ministry leaders {Hive Resources}

Before you go, check out this MUST-FOLLOW Pinterest Board featuring tips, strategies and ideas for Women’s Ministry! Enjoy!

Follow Gina Duke / Churchtown Ministries’s board Must-Follow Women’s Ministry Leaders on Pinterest.

Meaningful Christmas gifts: 7 ESV Bibles for Kids

Making Christmas Meaningful {A Christmas Series at Hive Resources}

With Black Friday looming, the gift-buying frenzy is upon us! But this Christmas, considering making some of your presents to your children reflect the full meaning of the season.

During a time when we celebrate the Word becoming flesh, what better gift can you give your child than the written Word of God?

Give your child the World this Christmas - here are 7 ESV Bibles for beginning readers through teens {Hive Resources}

Give your child a Bible this Christmas, especially if they are just beginning to read or they are transitioning into a new stage of life.

Here are 7 ESV Bibles from Crossway for pre-readers through teens. Any one of these Bibles would make a meaningful Christmas gift.

Kid’s Compact Bible

ESV KIDS compact Bible {Hive Resources}

Recommended ages: 7-12

Price point: $18-32

Features: full ESV text, glossary, maps, OT & NT timeline art, dictionary, words of Christ in red.

The ESV Kid’s Compact Bible works for both boys and girls. Its slim body is easy enough for little hands to carry and slip into a backpack.

This is a no-frills Bible. There are very few textual notes and added information in the body of text, but it does include a helpful index for subjects like “God’s Word for Me When…” and “God’s Word for Me About…”

The Kid’s Compact Bible comes in a variety of colored leathers with embossed designs like owls, swords and shields. My six-year-olds loved the swords!

Overall, the size and simplicity of this Bible would make it an excellent first Bible for readers as they learn to discover and navigate God’s Word by looking up verses – even if the text is a little small!

 

ESV Seek and Find Bible

ESV Seek and Find Bible {Hive Resources}Recommended ages: 5-9

Price point: $20-28 (hard and soft cover)

Features: full ESV text, 130 full-color illustrations with accompanying Bible story summaries, short book introductions, over 50 character profiles, fun and colorful facts highlighted throughout the text.

The ESV Seek and Find Bible was my son’s (Jonah) favorite because he loved the illustrations and colorful graphics. Because he’s just beginning to read, the illustrated Bible objects, structures, and places really captured his imagination.

But here’s what I loved.

Each illustration is paired with a story, key memory verse, additional readings, and reflection questions giving parents lots of tools at their fingertips to help their child understand and apply God’s Word.

It is ideal as a first “study” Bible and very usable for homeschool, family Bible study, or fun interactive activities involving Scripture.

 

ESV Holy Bible for Kids

Holy Bible for Kids {Hive Resources}

Recommended ages: 9-12

Price point: $13-15

Features: full ESV text, 24 pages of special content, illustrations of major scenes in the redemptive story, and maps.

If you’re looking for an illustrated Bible without all the bells and whistles of other Bibles (and within a great price point), then the ESV Holy Bible for Kids might be your best bet.

Some of the full-page pictures are the same as those found in the Seek and Find Bible, and it has a clean double-column design.

Overall, I think the cover artwork might appeal to a younger age range than the publisher’s recommendation (ages 9-12).

But out of the seven Bibles reviewed in this post, my 6-yr-old son (Zach) picked this Bible as his favorite. The lack of extra notes or artwork in the body of the text made it easy to find a verse or passage. My only complaint is that the text is a bit small.

ESV Grow! Bible

Grow ESV Bible {Hive Resources}

Recommended ages: 8-12

Price point: $20-30

Features: full ESV text, key comprehension questions, application sections, charts, maps, short book introductions, and articles on Christian doctrine.

Out of all the seven Bibles in this post, the ESV Grow! Bible was my favorite because of its rich content and emphasis on understanding and applying God’s Word.

Almost every page contains a “W” question (who, what, when, where, why) helping children frame the central theme of a passage or story as well as understand the significance of God’s Word for daily life.

Also included are 45 “Cross Connections” to help children connect-the-dots between Christ and the rest of Scripture.

The Grow! Bible also contains 90 “4U” sections geared toward textual application as well as helpful articles on Christian doctrine and practice. Subjects include: the sacraments, What is the Apostle’s Creed, and The Whole Bible is Really About Jesus.

It also breaks the Old and New Testaments by division (Law, History, Wisdom, Gospels, etc) and outlines each genre in simple terms. (Can you tell I really like this one?)

Because the publisher recommends the ESV Grow! Bible as a second step after the Seek and Find Bible, we will definitely be hanging onto this Bible as the twins grow in their reading comprehension skills.

God Guy Bible

God Girl & God Guy Bible {Hive Resources}Recommended ages: teen boys

Price point: $13-32 (hard and softcover)

Features: full ESV text, character profiles, “Quick Relief” indexes and glossary, devotions written by longtime student ministers Michael and Hayley DiMarco, in-depth book introductions, and must-know terms and verses for each book of the Bible.

At heart, the God Guy Bible is a devotional Bible, but it’s a Bible geared toward teens who desire to know and apply God’s Word for themselves.

Per the publisher description, the God Guy Bible points “guys to the Bible as the foundation for all of life, fostering a love for God’s Word and a desire to know him better.”

The “Know This” devotionals and “Ask Yourself” sections highlight passages and themes and how to apply them to daily living. Plus, daily reading plans encourage the reader to engage their Bible daily.

God Girl Bible

God Girl & God Guy Bible 2 {Hive Resources}Recommended ages: teen girls

Price point: $29-50 (Hard and soft covers)

Features: The features for the God Girl Bible are essentially the same as the God Guy Bible. They include: full ESV text, character profiles, “Quick Relief” indexes and glossary, 200 devotions written by author Hayley DiMarco, in-depth book introductions, and must-know terms and verses for each book of the Bible.

What separates the God Girl and God Guy Bibles? In the God Girl Bible, there are 26 full-page profiles of women in the Bible called “God Girl Stories.”

Additionally, the God Girl Bible has a uniquely feminine design to appeal to its target readership.

Both the God Guy and God Girl Bibles would make a worthy gift for challenging for any teen or tween to start 2015 off in Christ.

ESV Bibles for Kids - reviews {Hive Resources}

If I had to pick a favorite for my boys (age 6), I’d pick the Seek and Find Bible and ESV Grow! Bible simply because they pack the most bang for buck, offer the most tools for study, and are geared toward helping children become self-sufficient students of God’s Word. 

Despite being really heavy, these are Bibles that I know the twins will grow into for years to come.

Special thanks to Crossway Bibles for sending me these Bibles to review for you! And a big thank you to Zach and Jonah, who were so excited about their very own Bibles that they even agreed to help me review them!

Finding the right ESV Bible for your child {Hive Resources}

May 2015 be a year you grow in your knowledge of our beloved Savior!

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