Bible study group in the U.S. mentors, encourages, and inspires.
As a response to COVID-19 and the changes that took place, Jo Dubs, the Women’s and Family Ministries director in the Georgia-Cumberland Conference in the United States, launched a Teen Girls’ Virtual Bible Study that met twice a month on Friday evenings from February to May 2021. It started with leaders Kristiana Carney, a travel emergency room nurse in Portland, Oregon, and Jenny Wheeler, a biology teacher for Monterey Bay Academy in Watsonville, California.
When asked why she wanted to co-host an online Bible study, Carney said her younger cousin had increased anxiety from COVID. She shared that through the Bible study, she sought to help her cousin. “I hope I can continue to disciple my cousin and some of her friends and other girls who joined us who I would have never met,” Carney said at the time. She herself had the experience of being mentored by young couples as a teen, and it had a huge impact on her life, she said.
Wheeler loved the idea of co-hosting. “I felt called to do more for God, especially with the ability to reach people through technology,” she said. “This little Bible study [allowed] us as adults to show how we live godly lives in our different careers and share our experiences. It also [allowed] the girls to take an introspective look at their own lives and see who they are to God.”
Carney said she has felt blessed. The studies “allowed me to continue to do ministry while I’m not in one particular location. Also, some of the girls who joined [were] really on fire for God and wanting to be used by God where they are, and it’s super encouraging to hear their stories and dreams, and it’s fun and exciting to encourage them in their dreams.”
“We don’t just study the Bible,” Carney added, “but we spend time getting to know the girls, their likes and interests, et cetera, and then also study the Bible, relate it to our lives, and hope and pray — literally — that it encourages them, and close with prayer requests and prayer.”
The leaders did a survey of interested participants to determine what Bible study topics to cover. According to Carney, they have studied the story of Jesus walking on water and Elijah in the cave experiencing God (life’s storms, God being with you in the storms, and preparing for storms). They also discussed Jonathan and his armor-bearer defeating the Philistines (asking who you influence and who influences you), and personal stories from the members’ lives relating to those stories.
Wheeler said she’s enjoying the connection. “God has blessed me in this experience because it really makes me feel like I’m a part of something bigger than my little corner of the world. With this kind of Bible study, Kristiana and I try to give the girls lots of opportunities to share, so I’ve appreciated hearing their perspective on the topics and verses we’ve talked about.”
The Bible study group was geared toward girls in grades 8-12 (usually 13- to 17-year-olds). The organizers said teens enjoyed Bible study and small group activities, including cooking, baking, and crafts. “Meetings fostered a community that is honest and accountable, and all through Zoom,” they said.