JEFFERSON CITY — More than 1,400 women across Missouri are currently involved in a Bible study about prayer. And it may just change the state.
“We have seen incredible things,” said Wanda Shellenbarger, women’s ministry consultant for the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC). “How wonderful it is to watch the Lord working and moving among women.”
The women are studying “Glorify: How God Uses Women to Make Himself Known,” a publication of the International Mission Board (IMB). Through home meetings, church groups and individual study, they are examining topics such as “Set Free to Serve” and “Investing in the Kingdom.” A woman in Shellenbarger’s study at a Joplin church was saved after a recent meeting.
The statewide study grew out of a planning session Shellenbarger hosted in January with regional women’s ministry leaders. Discussion was put on hold as they were moved to get on their knees and pray. The 11 ladies prayed for more than two hours.
“It was an incredible, powerful kind of prayer,” Shellenbarger said. “The Holy Spirit placed on my heart that we needed to start with prayer and we need to emphasize in our state getting outside the church doors.”
Originally, she hoped about 100 women in Missouri would participate in the Glorify study.
“We knew we had to do something to help women understand God’s calling on our lives as Christians and that’s to go out and share Him,” she said.
As regional leaders took the study back to their areas, word spread and groups continued to form. To date, more than 1,400 books have been ordered through the MBC, while international missionaries and others participate online. Women or churches are still encouraged to join. To order books, contact Shellenbarger at (417) 529-0724 or via email at email@example.com.
Shellenbarger said she wishes she could be a part of every study across the state, but since that’s not possible, she sends a letter with portions to be read along with each week of the study. She also enjoys hearing reports of how women are growing in their walk with the Lord.
Next year, Missouri Baptist women’s ministry will focus on obedience and encouraging them to take the gospel to their world as only they can.
“Women are relational,” she said. “We have very tender hearts and we care what’s going on in another person’s life.”
Shellenbarger herself leads Bible study at a Joplin-area drug rehab program. Many women have been saved and the success rate of the rehab program has increased dramatically. She encourages Missouri Baptist ladies to get involved in sharing the gospel and looks forward to how the Lord will move through this study.
“We can longer afford to wait,” she said. “We do not have time in the heavenly calendar to wait and let lost people come to us.”