I am thankful for the opportunity that MaryAnn Fritz and I had to attend The Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference (TGCW24) in June. It was a rich time of hearing from God’s Word and being with thousands of women from all over the States and the world who love and serve our Savior.

There were seven keynote sessions on the “I Ams” of Jesus from John, and dozens of breakout sessions and a handful of workshops available. Next week in the newsletter, MaryAnn will give a blurb on the keynotes, so stayed tuned!

Instead of signing up for break-out sessions, I signed up for two workshops. The first workshop was entitled: Studying and Teaching the Bible: A Practical, In-Depth Workshop. For this workshop, we were required to complete a preparation packet before the conference in which we studied Ruth 2 and Psalm 77. In the preparation packet, we answered questions like: What is the central theme of the passage? What is the structure of the passage? How does this passage fit into the entire book? How does the book fit into the overall theme of redemption in the Bible? What type of introduction could we use to teach this passage?

During the three-hour workshop at the conference, we discussed our answers with other ladies at our tables and listened to a couple of adept Bible teachers who had also studied these passages. They helped walk us through the process together. I personally enjoyed this workshop very much. For me, in-depth Bible study on my own for the purpose of teaching and the act of teaching the Bible itself are two intimidating subjects. Even though Matt and other Bible teachers follow this process on a regular basis, I had never quite done anything like it myself. I am thankful to have learned some new skills to start putting into practice for my own Bible study as well as sharing God’s Word with others. 

The second workshop I attended was entitled: The Principles and Practicals of Memorizing Scripture. In this workshop, the ladies who were leading it gave their personal testimonies of their involvement in the Word and how memorizing Scripture has become a vital part of their lives. I was especially inspired by one of the ladies who started memorizing Scripture as an adult after really struggling with anger in parenting. She said that eventually, the Scriptures started changing her life in every area, even down to her reading and watching preferences. This lady was so inspiring because she also struggled with a painful autoimmune disorder that also caused her to have brain fog during flare-ups. Despite this, she would still slowly memorize passages, and God would bring even small phrases to her in the middle of the night when she was awake due to pain.

The ladies emphasized over and over that the purpose of memorizing goes far beyond the technical skill of memorization. We memorize for the purpose of mediating on God’s Word and by meditating, we can begin to delight in the Lord (Ps. 1). There was a special encouragement for young moms to memorize as we can mull over the Scriptures we have memorized when we’re busy with carpools or walks. Sometimes it can be overwhelming to think about memorizing or to figure out how to find the time. The ladies gave lots of practical ideas, some of which we practiced at the workshop. My favorite tip that was mentioned was to take a paper with a passage or verse on it, stick it in a ziplock, and tape it to the shower wall. That way, we could spend the time that we would already be spending in the shower to start memorizing a verse!

I was very encouraged and inspired by the conference and I’m thankful that MaryAnn and I were able to attend together. (We had many adventures that we’d be happy to share!) I’m so thankful to be a part of the body of Christ around the world as well as living life with our own local body of believers here at Bethel.  

In Christ, Evangeline Dodd

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