Aspiring Women: Training the Next Generation of Women Bible Teachers

Posted by Marty Tornquist on March 8, 2024
Aspiring Women: Training the Next Generation of Women Bible Teachers
Marty Tornquist, the aspiring women group, and guests celebrate the successful completion of the Philippians Women's Bible study in December. Photography by Seth Weber.

What is “Aspiring Women”? Well, for Trudy it is not for the faint of heart. For Linda, it is a commitment, but it is worth it. For Katie, it is being catapulted out of her comfort zone. For Claire, it is longing for more time to devote to Bible study. For Cathy, it is reluctantly admitting she can teach, although she still prefers administration. And for Lynn, it is a door of opportunity she nervously pushed open, but now is glad she did.

All these ladies agreed to be the “guinea pigs” in a new ministry at Faith Bible Church. Trudy Konzal, Linda Jarms, Katie Meyers, Claire Millican, Cathy Dunham, and Lynn Yount were the first class of Aspiring Women.

Not to be confused with “Aspiring Men” who aspire to the office of an overseer (see 1 Timothy 3:1), the ladies in Aspiring Women are aspiring to present themselves approved to God as women who do not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the Word of truth (see 2 Timothy 2:15).

Aspiring Women is designed to equip women for ministry to other women. The women in this program learn:

  1. Good methods for Bible study
  2. Resources for Bible study
  3. How to write a Bible study
  4. How to teach a Bible study
  5. How to put together a Gospel talk and deliver it

The elders at Faith Bible Church sensed there is a need for this training and asked me to design and teach this class. We began in January 2023. For me it was an adventure of learning, preparing, and teaching as we went along. For my students it was an adventure of learning, stretching, growing, stepping into new territory, and discovering new things about themselves.

What a joy to sit at the table with six ladies who were totally dialed in studying the Scripture, making connections, discussing what they were learning, and sharing the excitement involved. There is nothing better! We learned together. We laughed together, cried together, pushed through together, and finally rejoiced together in what we had all accomplished.

As the culmination of their studies, this group of six ladies wrote a Bible study of the New Testament book of Philippians. And beginning in October 2023, they taught it to 28 ladies here at Faith Bible Church. Some had been nervous about teaching and leading discussions, but they grew in their ability, and they all made it across the finish line in fine form.

Also in October 2023, Cathy began coordinating a study in the New Testament books of 1 & 2 Peter. Not only did she lead the discussion around one of the tables, but she also stepped out and provided the wrap-up lectures for some of the lessons.

Katie Meyers, from the first class of Aspiring Women, teaches a study on Ruth and Esther.

Trudy, Katie, Lynn, and Linda are now team-teaching a study of the Old Testament books of Ruth and Esther. This is another opportunity for stretching and growing. They are teaching material written by another author and meeting the challenge of enhancing what is written in the lessons with insights from their own study.

Another part of their preparation was to write and present a Gospel talk that could be presented to a group of ladies. Once again, some were nervous about speaking up front, but pushed through and gained confidence, each delivering a good, biblical talk.

Not only do the elders desire to see more ladies trained in good Bible study techniques and able to teach Bible studies, but they are also looking to the future. Part of their mandate to me is to bring up the next generation of Bible study leaders.

Right now, I’m taking a break from teaching (my husband calls it my “sabbatical”). I am evaluating what worked and what didn’t work in my first attempt at designing and teaching Aspiring Women. (My first class gave me good feedback and ideas about how to improve the next round.)

Discipleship pastor Nathan Thiry and I are putting together an application form that will be used as the first step in evaluating which women are best suited for this type of training. This, along with an interview, will help us select the next class.

Then, sometime in late spring, I will begin the delightful journey of training, coaching, and encouraging a new group of eager ladies as they learn and grow. With joy I look forward to working with women who love God’s Word and want to learn how to study it more carefully and teach it faithfully. I will love these ladies and rejoice with them as they step out, trying new things and discovering abilities they may not have known they had. Please pray for us.

First group of Aspiring Women, from left: Lynn Yount, Katie Meyers, Cathy Dunham, Marty Tornquist, Claire Millican, Trudy Konzal, and Linda Jarms.

Marty Tornquist

Marty is a deaconess over Faith Bible Church women's Bible studies. She is a graduate of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, IL (M.A, Church History) and has taught at several Christian colleges. She has been a speaker at women’s conferences and has written and taught many women’s Bible studies.

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