Coffee, conversation encourage spiritual growth in Dora churchcomment (0)
June 25, 2005
By Erin Webster
New Temple Baptist Church, Dora, is constantly seeking ways to help its members grow. So when Renee McAdams, director of women’s ministries, felt led to take a new approach to women’s Bible study, she went to Pastor Wayne Shelton.
“We had opportunities for Bible study that were not taken advantage of,” McAdams said. “I would find them (the women) in different areas of the church ... talking.”
That’s when she realized that along with Bible study, the women in her church needed a time to connect with each other. Thus Coffee and Conversation on was born. Issues and topics related to women are discussed over tea, coffee and cookies in a relaxed atmosphere on Wednesdays at 7 p.m.
“We are excited about it,” Shelton said. “It has enabled us to engage women in the community relationally and biblically.” He leads an in-depth Bible study at the same time for both men and women.
The Coffee and Conversation women range in age from mid-20s to 70s, and has a range of life stages, from single to married to mothers and wives, according to McAdams.
“This has fostered relationships that don’t normally develop in normal church activities,” McAdams said. “It’s an opportunity for the older women to mentor the younger ones.”
The meeting’s format of covering topics and issues in one or two sessions, allows the women to attend without messing up a Bible study routine if they miss a week.
“(Most women) tend not to become a part of (a multiple-week) Bible study because they feel they can’t be faithful to it,” McAdams said.
But by covering topics in one or two sessions, the members feel freer to come when they can, she said.
Begun in January, McAdams said the weekly gathering has greatly increased the number of women involved in the Wednesday night Bible study time, McAdams said.
As the spiritual growth of the women of New Temple Baptist has increased, their involvement in missions has, too. McAdams said more women are attending Women on Mission, which meets before Coffee and Conversation.
“As Women on Mission, if you provide women the opportunity (for missions), they will take it,” McAdams said. “But we also need time to separate from everything around us and have spiritual reflection because out of the spirit of reflection grows the spirit of giving.”
This connection between ministry to women and ministry by women is a connection fostered by Alabama Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU), said Candace McIntosh, director of Alabama WMU.
“It is a wholistic view of developing women spiritually through women’s ministry, missions education, evangelism and discipleship,” McIntosh said.
McAdams stressed that a church does not have to be large to begin ministries or participate in missions. With an average attendance of 280, “we’re not a large church by any stretch of the imagination,” she said. “A lot of smaller churches think they can’t do a lot of big things, but they can do small things and those really add up.”
Although Coffee and Conversation is taking the summer off, it will resume in August and run until December, McAdams said.