By Dawn Zurmiller
TIPTON – Here at First Baptist Church, the women’s ministry is all about crossing denominational lines in order to bring a community of believing women together.
They have ministered to ladies that represent Baptists, Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists, and the First Assembly of God Church. However, when they come together, labels are left at the door and they only represent the one true God.
“I really feel strongly about the need for all of us as Christians to put aside our differences—not dwell so much about the traditions of each church, but just concentrate on it being all about Jesus,” said Maria Keirsey, who is a member of St. Andrews Catholic Church.
So what is it that keeps this group of diverse women meeting together under one roof? Simply put, they hunger for God’s Word. In-depth Bible studies are the backbone to this ministry. Women are encouraged to strengthen their personal relationships with God by bringing Scripture and prayer into their daily lives. They believe that if they don’t spend time with God, they won’t know Him, and if they don’t know Him, they won’t recognize His voice when he speaks.
“As we dig deeply into God’s Word,” said Sheri Posey, whose husband, Paul, was the pastor of First Tipton until becoming director of missions in February for Texas Baptist Association, “He speaks to us through His Spirit and transforms our hearts.”
Tina Brant, who attends St. Andrews, agreed.
“The women’s Bible study group has brought so much insight into my relationship with God,” she said. “I now see God as a friend, and the Holy Spirit as someone I can trust and listen to throughout my daily routine of life.”
These women love to fellowship with each other and celebrate that God made them women. Sometimes the room may explode in laughter, while other times the tissues are being passed from one lady to the next. Through trials and triumphs the group consistently encourages each other with the hope that only God’s Word can provide.
“I think we all need encouragement from our fellow women and it can be so hard to find,” explained Ashli Wood, a member of First Tipton. “So often in today’s society, women can feel the need to tear each other down. Women’s Bible study has helped me find the encouragement and spirit of unity that I didn’t even know I was missing.”
Individuals and also families are being strengthened. Many times the women have seen that when the Word is allowed to fill one heart, it often affects those around them.
“Through the studies I have gotten a deeper connection with God, and I have brought it into my home life,” said Betsy Koechner, a member of St. Andrews. “My family used to just go to church because it was the thing to do, but now we pray and talk more about God in our home. God still works in mysterious ways, but I am so proud that I actually see some of the ways He is working in me and my family.”
In the words of Jeannie Imhoff, who attends Centertown Baptist Church, “We are just women gathering together who all hunger and thirst for God’s Word, and we are looking for that personal growth with Jesus Christ.”