Start a Bible Journaling Group in 3 Steps
by Amanda Schenkenberger from Move-the-Mountains.com
Oh my goodness, I am so excited for you right now! You are considering starting a Bible journaling group! I feel like an excited Kermit the Frog when he shouts, “YYYAYAAYYAYYY!!!” and throws his arms wildly in the air.
I want you to remember this image of me cheering you on when things get tough organizing a group, because believe me, it will get tough…but it will be so worth it!
So, let me start you off with the 3 practical steps about how to start a Bible journaling group and then dive a little deeper into the mechanics of herding cats…I mean, facilitating personality dynamics. 😉
Step 1 of starting a Bible journaling group: Find one person who wants to do it with you.
Yes, you only need to find one other person who would like jump into this Bible journaling adventure with you to start a group! You don’t need 10 ladies to have a successful group, you simply need one other person who will commit to journaling with you at the appointed time.
Step 2 of starting a Bible journaling group: Decide where and when.
Now, if you would like to keep this Bible journaling group private, feel free to host this in your home. However, my hope is that you would invite other women in your community whom you don’t know.
If you are excited and willing to do that, I would love for you to post your group on the Bible Journaling Association calendar. If you do this, I strongly suggest meeting in a public place and having that one friend come along with you.
This is for safety reasons because the Bible Journaling Association’s calendar is open to the public, therefore, anyone can see the events, addresses, and times. So again, I highly suggest meeting in public places with at least one person you already know.
Places to potentially meet
Option 1: a coffee shop
My personal favorite place to meet is a local coffee shop. We have a few in my area that are owned by Christian business people, I always try to make an effort to meet at one of these places. Many coffee shops like these have a room with a big table you can reserve free for an hour or so.
Option 2: a library
Libraries are also a great option you may not have considered. Oftentimes, libraries have rooms with large tables and doors you can shut that can be reserved for an hour or two. This way your excited giggles or personal stories don’t float throughout the whole library if you begin talking a little loudly. I have a very loud laugh, so I appreciate doors that close. 😉
Option 3: your church
Another great place to meet would be your church! Depending on your church, the pastoral staff may be very willing to allow you to use their space for a Bible journaling meet-up. They may even want to add it to their calendar of events! Simply ask a staff member and I’m sure they can help you learn more information.
Choose a time that works well for you and your friend and also attempt to be flexible if others express interest in wanting to join. Timing can be a difficult thing because it can often be dictated by your work or season of life. There is likely not going to be a time that works well for everyone with a group of 5+ women.
Times that I see work well are early mornings weekdays and nights, like 7am (before work and school) and 7pm (after dinner), and mid morning Saturdays.
Step 3 of starting a Bible journaling group: Get the word out!
Maybe it seems like a no brainer but so often, I found myself caught up in the details of planning a group that I forget to tell people about the group. Silly, right? I know, but it is true!
So, once location and time has been decided on, pop over to the BJA’s calendar and create an event with us! When you create you event, please make sure to select your state in the “tag” box so that your event can be easily found.
Also, be sure to to tell your church, your friends on Facebook, and neighbors, you might be surprised to learn who has been wanting to give Bible journaling a try!
What’s the hardest thing about starting a Bible journaling group?
I’ve got a word of warning before you run off excited to get a Bible journaling group going. I think it is going to surprise you but I don’t want it to catch you off guard. So, do you remember that Kermit the Frog image where I am cheering for you when things get tough? Okay, good. Remember that and know that the hardest thing about starting a Bible journaling group is creating unity.
Unity? Really? Unity is the hardest thing?
Why is unity such a difficult thing to cultivate? Number one, the devil doesn’t like it when the body of Christ is in unity because we become a powerful force that he has no chance of stopping. So, he’ll do all that he can to make sure we struggle with unity.
Number two, you are going to be faced with many of your personal shortcomings. Maybe you’re not a natural facilitator and you don’t feel confident in your ability to put a Bible journaling group together. Perhaps you struggle with keeping your commitments. Maybe you’re afraid someone who is more talented artistically is going to show up and show you up.
We all struggle with personal shortcomings. Take comfort in knowing that God doesn’t use perfect people to accomplish His will, He uses the broken and the humble. So, if you’re willing to be humble and apologize when you mess up, then you are definitely ready.
Number three, miscommunications are going to happen and with that, the chance to get offended will rise. Offense is an ugly thing. All offense does is build a fence in the Kingdom of God. There aren’t supposed to be any fences in God’s Kingdom! We are supposed to run wild and free in the presence of God and getting offended hinders that freedom.
So, what does creating unity require? Intentionality and sacrifice. You are going to have to be intentional about communicating clearly and being positive in awkward situations, and sacrifice your need to be right or offended. Sound tough? Yeah, I told you it was going to get tough.
Ephesians 4:1-3 tells us this: Walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Intentionality and sacrifice are hugely important aspects of unity, and they require humility, patience, and submission to God’s truth.
When we take Ephesians 4:1-3 to heart, we care about the hearts of our sisters in Christ. We become more intentional in the care and cultivation of their emotional and spiritual health more than we care about being right or justified.
This can be challenging and make us uncomfortable but remember, we are made for unity and community, God designed us this way. It may not come naturally at first, but it gets easier as you practice it.
Think of kindness, humility, and patience as muscles: When they are well developed, unity it the result!
When things get a little heavy, take a deep breathe and remember that getting into God’s Word creatively is fun! Starting a Bible journaling group is fun! Talking with your sisters in Christ is fun! Just be ready, aware, and prayed up because at some point, the devil will try to throw a wrench into well working gears.
And remember, I’m rooting for you (and more importantly, so is God)! 😉
Peace and love, Amanda
Amanda Schenkenberger is the creative mind behind Move the Mountains and Founder & President here at the Bible Journaling Association. She is passionate about God’s Word, helping women dive into an intimate relationship with God, and being transformed from the inside out by the power and love of God. To learn more about Move the Mountains and how Amanda helps beginners start Bible journaling, visit Move-the-Mountains.com.