ep. 21 | Leading Small Groups with Jennie Allen
On this episode of the Journeywomen podcast I had the privilege of chatting with Jennie Allen. Jennie is a Bible teacher marked by personal authenticity and vulnerability. She encourages women to go to these same places as they study scripture, wrestle with truth, and more fully live out their short time on this planet. Jennie and Zac have four children, Connor, Kate, Caroline, and Cooper. She writes Bible studies, authors books, and founded a live event called IF:Gathering designed to gather, equip, and unleash the next generation to live out their purpose. She’s a mom, a wife, and most of all--totally obsessed with following Jesus and imparting that passion to other women, which is exactly what we talked about today.
Jennie really encouraged me to pursue real relationships with the goal of making disciples. My sincere hope is that this podcast will serve as a springboard for conversations within the context of your real-life community, like your own small groups, the women at your church, your co-workers, the girls in your dorm room, or with mamas at the park. I’m praying that intentional conversations centered around the Word of God will challenge and deepen your faith while strengthening your relationships with your mentors and disciples. Come share how you’re growing with us on Instagram and Facebook! Looking forward to seeing you guys here next Monday.
For those who aren’t familiar with your work, can you tell us a little about who you are and what you do?
I asked you to come on the show to discuss leading small groups because despite standing on stage and speaking for thousands of women, I can tell from your books and from the content you put out that gathering small groups of women around the Word of God is a passion of yours. I’d love to hear where this originated for you: who taught you this process and where it started? What was the first Bible study that you led? What does this look like for you in this season?
What’s the point of small group study? Can we talk a little bit about the heart behind women gathering together to study the Word of God?
What are some key principles for leading a small group study? What is your encouragement to someone who might feel inadequate when it comes to leadership?
Practically, what is the format of your studies? Why do you do that the way that you do? What are some common pitfalls small groups fall into?
As leaders, how can we stay focused on seeking God and the souls of men over building our small group or our ministry? How do you keep things simple when our culture wants to build numbers and platforms?
What do you do with positive feedback in your role as a leader? How do you respond to that? What would you suggest we do when we feel ourselves becoming too puffed up or too concerned with the approval of man?
Knowing what you know now, what would you encourage the Bible teacher Jennie when you were 20 years old? What would you have told Bible teacher Jennie when you had a 3 year old in the house?
How do you continue to flourish — especially when you’re busy and when your ministry is flourishing/demanding?
3 Questions I Ask Every Guest
- What 3 resources would you recommend for someone wanting to develop as a disciple or as a mentor?
- What are 3 of your simple joys?
- Who has had the biggest influence on your own journey with Jesus?
Note Worthy Quotes
“I’m going to make disciples and I’m going to use my gifts to teach people around me. That’s what I love doing.”
“Make disciples who make disciples. That is clear. That is the call.”
“The call on our lives is that we all go make disciples. That can be one person that can be five people that can be twenty people, but honestly it’s probably going to be a smaller group. Even those that lead big Bible studies I encourage to break into smaller groups.”
“It is easier to publish a book than it is to invite your neighbors to a Bible study. I don’t know why that is, but it’s true. It is easier to do big things than small things. The courage to interact with the people closest to us and to take a risk is difficult.”
“You are ahead of somebody in your life… there is somebody below you that is in some way behind you and you have something to give to them.”
“Recognize that you need help. You need people pouring into you… Seek out being discipled and seek out being under the authority of the local church and then we give our lives away.”
“It doesn’t matter if you have a leadership gift. It doesn’t matter if you have a teaching gift. You were called to invest your life into others.”
“The main thing of being a believer and following Jesus is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love people like it-- the Great Commandment--and the Great Commission--to make disciples of all the earth. What that looked like was right in front of you, how Jesus did it, a handful of people and them pouring into a handful of people.”
“Someone asked me one time, ‘What is the measuring marker to tell if you’re making a disciple?’ I said, ‘It’s easy. Jesus made it really clear. You make disciples who are making disciples. Once your disciple is making disciples then you’ve done good work and made an effective disciple.’”
“No matter what else I do and how gifted I am to be able to do what I’m doing, there is nothing more rewarding than a living room full of girls or a coffee date with a girl, giving her the Word of God.”
“As women grow in their understanding of the Word and grow in their mission to make disciples a lot of these thing snap into place. A lot of growth happens personally… When we’re doing what he made us to do to serve and make disciples in the church things start happening that are beyond that you could do yourself.”
“We are at war for our mind and our affections… It’s turned into a full on assault if you just want to get a quiet time. It’s not even easy to do that anymore. The number of tethers being thrown at you on a given morning is ridiculous. It’s good to recognize that it’s a real war and we have an issue if we don’t learn to fight back.”
“There’s a real sobriety in my life that this is short and I’m in it for the glory of God.”
“If you’re really going to go fight for the glory of God and the good of people you’re not signing up for an ego and you’re not signing up for an easy life. You’re signing up to go to war with darkness and trying to set captives free.”
“I would have said to her ‘You’re doing good work. Don’t think there is something bigger around the corner. You’re doing it right now. You’re doing the big thing.’ I think I would have felt more settled if I could have believed that.”
“There is nobility and honor in faithfulness. Faithfulness can look like diaper changes, meeting with a girl for coffee, or working a really hard job to provide for your family. It can look like a lot of different things, but I think we tend to be really hard on ourselves when the truth is we’re all probably really doing the best with what we’ve been given.”
“This is stewardship before God. If we let our view of our reputation of ourself. If we let our view of humility be that we should bury something because God should be pleased, we have a passage in Scripture (in the parable of the talents) that should terrify you and haunt you.”
“I think we are afraid of success. We’re afraid of putting ourselves out there and winning. A lot of women feel more comfortable in failure than they do in success.”
“We underestimate people’s craving for the eternal. It is built in. Man was created with eternity written into their hearts.”
Proven - Bible Study Book
Jennie's Simple Joys
Discovering new things
Connect with Jennie
Today's episode of the Journeywomen Podcast is sponsored by Because I'm His.
Diana Carter founded Because I'm His in 2016 in the midst of a paralyzing season of anxiety and panic. What started as means of survival in her journal eventually turned into an Instagram account she used to process a season of hopelessness. The only way to silence the lies attacking her identity was to speak back to them with the truth of who she was in Christ.
And so, Because I'm His was born.
Because I’m His is a community of women rooted in their Biblical identities and walking in the fullness of that reality. Through daily devotions, vulnerable storytelling and biblical truths, Because I’m His exists to equip women to know their true identities and walk in the fullness of that reality.
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