I left the church, oh not personally but professionally, to start Bible studies in wineries instead of church buildings.
Personally: I wanted, no that’s not right, I needed more personal connection. Preaching to 3,500 people on Sunday and 1,000 women on Monday was not personal. I believe the body (mine, yours and the Church’s body) being flesh has great value – perhaps more than we are aware. Several years back I began (re) considering how to live in light of the fact that Jesus came in flesh – SO THAT we could be known by God and know God. Known-ness. I see you. It happens in the flesh. My previous ministry platform was large and public, and whether I liked it or not, it created a discarnate ministry. Size does that. It was always disconcerting when while dining out a man or woman would approach me to speak, but I would have no idea who they were. Now I have a chance to redo the platform, size, and shape of my organization. I desperately believe in incarnational ministry, and I desperately want to be present with others.
That’s why Bible studies in wineries – because I wanted a place and space where we could see each other and actually know if we were present or missing. I wanted masks off (have you ever noticed how hard that is to do inside the building of a church?) I wanted real, honest, candid conversations. I wanted, no I needed, to have real dialogue about our struggles with faith, Jesus, and our lives. I wanted no pat answers, no programs, no rules for engagement (after all, we are all grown women and can make choices for ourselves). That’s why just women, wine and Jesus.
Professionally: I had no idea that what I was thirsting for was what so many others were thirsting for, too. I kept running into these kinds of women … un- churched – curious about Jesus but not interested in organized religion de –churched –follower of Jesus but not interested in organized religion over-churched – attend church but need a change in how to engage Jesus Personally I wanted women, all women, to hear their female experience in God’s story. Did you know 70% of women with children are working women? Did you know 27% of those women are leaving the building because they don’t hear their female experience taught or talked about? We need a space and place where women – traditional, untraditional, and everyone in-between – can hear their female experience in God’s story. God is moving in the world, waking it to the plight of women, and asking that we reassert ourselves back into an alliance with our brothers to advance his kingdom. That’s what we hear at Bible studies in wineries. It’s a space and place where ALL women, just as they are wired, just as they are living, can come to live more fully alive for Jesus.
That’s why bible studies in wineries. Just us women, wine and Jesus.
It’s simple yet deeply personal.