Remember, one of our objectives of Hinged@Home is for women to leave more vitally connected to Christ, His Word, and His Church. You want to help women think biblically about the story God is writing in their lives so that as they share, their focus is Christ-centered rather than self-centered. You will also want to help women share their stories so they can be more vitally connected to one another.
Here is an example of a woman’s story about how the truths of Ephesians helped her to be more vitally connected to Christ and His Church.
Jesus and me. And my Bible. And my coffee and my bed. And my cat. How I love this early morning time in the Word! Every morning. Even Sunday morning. And while my sweet husband would trundle off to Sunday School with five kids in tow, I would linger in the solitude and Psalms. Time with the Lord.
Along my spiritual journey, I started to hear some repetitive phrases. Think biblically. Live covenantally. Churchmanship. Means of grace. I paused one Sunday to ask someone about this whole concept of living covenantally. I grasped the think biblically part, or so I thought! I loved my Bible, but what was this other stuff? So, we met for coffee. And slowly over time I was taught a rich theology (Ecclesiology), the teachings of the Church. I was convicted of loving Jesus, the Head of the Church but was not wanting to take the time to get to know His Bride—the Church itself. I learned the difference between being a consumer or a spectator at church and more clearly grasped the imperative of becoming involved. I learned my presence matters and that this is a posture of humility rather than pride. I learned Christian growth occurs in the context of community as we grow in union with Christ. I am part of a bigger story.
Unfortunately, life is messy in the church sometimes. Where there are sinners, there will be sin. And thankfully, there are opportunities for learning and re-learning the gospel of redemption and God’s grace to us all. I can now better enjoy the diversity within my church family and value the gifts the Lord places on each individual. I can celebrate an expert cupcake maker and the contribution her beautiful cupcakes make to a women’s gathering rather than become frustrated over my own inability to measure up in the kitchen. I can send a friend off to share her testimony at a retreat and lift her up with prayer rather than stress over why I wasn’t invited to tell my story instead. Our gifts and talents are not ways to compete within the body but rather, as it says in Ephesians, the whole body—joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly—causes the Body of Christ to grow. As we do life with God’s people, the body matures, and we become more like Christ. Doxology does flow from proper understanding of theology. I praise the Lord for His master plan for His people.
Dr. Andrea Johnson is a medical oncologist specializing in breast cancer. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Used by permission from the Hinged Bible Study
Sharing Your Own Hinged@Home Stories during your gathering
We often assume members of a group know one another. Allocate time at each meeting for the group to get to know each other’s stories.
Encourage people to remember the ABC’s of storytelling when telling their story:
A Audible—Share in a way everyone can hear.
B Brief—Keep your story brief and to the point. Writing out a story and timing is always a good idea.
C Christ-centered—The point of the story is to learn more about Christ being formed in you.
How long should it be? Very short—3 to 5 minutes.
How do I prepare? Pray. Ask the Lord to give you the thoughts you should share. Pray that your words will point to Jesus and glorify Him.
You will want to print out this page when asking a woman to share her story to aid in her preparation.
Idea #1 – Personal Story Hinged to Scripture
You could assign a woman to pick a verse of scripture from Ephesians and share briefly how studying this truth has helped her to be more vitally connected to Christ and His Church such as the example above.
Idea #2 – Hinged@Home Box Talk
What is it?
It is a “show and tell” for grown-ups. It is a delightful way to tell the story of God’s transforming power in our lives. An essential part of community is sharing our stories of God’s grace.
How do you prepare?
- You place objects into a container (a box, bag, basket, etc.) that are representative of
you and God’s story of transformation in your life, and then you show the objects one at a time and tell why you included them. The container may be part of your story. For example, you could use a basket that belonged to your grandmother, who taught you to memorize Scripture.
- Choose three items that represent your Hinged@Home story.
- Item #1 represents something that highlights how you are or long to be hinged to Christ.
- Item #2 represents something that highlights how you are or long to be hinged to His Word.
- Item #3 represents something that highlights how you are or long to be hinged to His Church or people.
- Pray about these items and choose them carefully. It is not necessary to give details. Let the item do the talking. A couple of sentences of explanation are sufficient. A few facts can be a catalyst for further conversations.
- Use pictures sparingly since it is difficult for everyone to see the picture and awkward to pass too many pictures around. Other items, such as a favorite book that helped you grow spiritually, a framed Scripture verse that has been especially meaningful, a picture of someone who discipled you, or an item that recalls a pivotal moment in your spiritual pilgrimage, will make your talk stronger. Be prayerful and creative as you select items to show.
- Write one or two sentences about each item. Your talk should not exceed 5 minutes. It is important to plan carefully because it is easy to think you have talked for 5 minutes when it has actually been 25 minutes. A clear, focused talk is much more effective than a rambling, repetitive one.
- Practice and edit your talk until it is 30 seconds shorter than the time allotted. It is fine to read your talk.
Feasting and Fellowship Community Building Ideas
These ideas can work whether you are socially distanced or virtual.
Gathering Idea #1 – Family Meal
- Feasting: Everyone brings a sack meal (socially distanced) or eat together online (if meeting virtually).
- Fellowship: Community Building – Share a favorite recipe
Gathering Idea #2 – Dessert and Discussion
- Feasting: Everyone brings a favorite treat (store-bought, homemade or could be a favorite type of candy) individually wrapped.
- Fellowship: Provide each woman with a bag to take treats home. Share a favorite memory that connects you to this treat. If meeting virtually, poll women the week before you meet about a favorite treat. Hinged helpers assemble treat bags with a variety of treats for a pick-up on a Sunday or a drop off the night of your gathering. Open your bags as you gather online and share treat stories.
Gathering Idea #3 – Mug Exchange
- Fellowship: Bring a mug wrapped up that highlights an aspect of your story (where you have lived, traveled, favorite thing, favorite saying of scripture, etc.) Then provide a coffee and tea bar for women to enjoy a hot beverage together. Women then pick a mug and open, guessing who the mug belongs to and then allow the woman to briefly share why she chose that mug. Encourage the women to commit to pray for that woman each time they fill their mug. If meeting virtually, drop off wrapped mugs on a Sunday and encourage everyone to pick up the wrapped mug but not to open them until they are on online. Women then open the mug, guessing who the mug belongs to and then allow the woman to briefly share why she chose that mug. Encourage the women to commit to pray for that woman each time they fill their mug.
Gathering Idea #4 – Feasting and Story Feast
- Plan a feasting element (dinner or dessert) and then spend the rest of your time encouraging everyone to come ready to share a Hinged Story. See Hinged story idea above. If meeting virtually, gather online with a plan for women to share their Hinged stories.
Gathering Idea #5 – Conversation and Coffee Night
- Pick 3 or 4 of the conversation starters. You may watch them together or watch ahead of time and then use the discussion questions. Assign a different woman to be prepared to lead each separate discussion. If meeting virtually, decide whether you will watch individually before gathering or share the screen to watch the video together.