A Digital Resource
The resources for this study are provided through a dynamic website that is mobile-optimized, so you can teach with your laptop, iPad or other tablet in hand — it even works on smartphones. Or, if you prefer paper, just use the PDFs available on every session’s webpage. This means that you gain access to the resources instantly after your purchase (no shipping) and you also will benefit from updates and additions we may add to this study over time.
Each session’s webpage provides the complete teaching guide for that session, the video (in hi-def), as well as any handouts (downloadable as PDFs).
Each session provides:
Videos: Use these videos in each session to stimulate thought and to help direct the group in the same direction of conversation. The first session has two videos (the introduction and the session 1 video; sessions 2-5 have one video each. These videos help setup the focus of each session and provide valuable background information.
Teaching Guide: The guide provides for you a detailed teaching plan for each session. Each plan includes beginning activities, questions for discussion, a creative activity, a time of sharing and prayer, and suggestions for at home work. Remember, the teaching guide is simply that — a guide. Feel free to follow it exactly or allow it to simply encourage your own creative ideas. If you think something needs to be tweaked for your group, tweak away! Each session’s teaching guide can be used directly from your tablet, smartphone or tablet, or you can download and print the included PDF if paper is more convenient.
Participant’s Journal Prompts: Each session includes prompts for personal reflection and reaction for the participants. These prompts are offered in the Teaching Guide and on a handout (PDF). You can pick up blank journals (such as these) and provide each person with one — asking them to write their reflections in it across the study. This journal can be used to do that “at-home-work” from each week or simply a place for each person to write her reflections from the week. Of course, if a participant already has a journal they want to use, that is fine, too!
Discussion: When you purchase Intentional Living, you will also be given access to the “Discuss” area. Use this area to ask questions of others who are also involved in the study, or ask Nikki a question (Nikki will also be present in the discuss area), offer ideas or even suggest topics for future studies.
As the Facilitator
FaithElement: Studies for Women is designed to help lighten the load of the facilitator. Our hope is that you will both enjoy leading the group, but that you will also participate in the group process, learning, and bonding.
Your job as the facilitator is to make sure the room is set up and all needed materials are provided for each session. You are also in charge of helping to move the group along in each session. The group will look to you to know what they are supposed to do next. While you have the responsibilities, you do not have to prepare lectures or content for the study — the session videos take care of that sort of teaching. Each video provides the biblical and theological background your group needs as they participate in the times of discussion and sharing.
A note about structure
Each of the five sessions included in this study are designed to last anywhere from one to one and a half hours. The time length will depend on the size of your group and how much they interact during the discussion times. Feel free to adapt the sessions to fit the needs and time-frame that works best for your group.
An important part of women’s studies is the time of fellowship shared before, during, and after the study; and in many ways, this is where the real magic of the group happens. Women sharing with one another and being present to one another is good for the soul. As you prepare for your time together, it will be important to think about how you can build in that time of fellowship. Suggestions are listed below and you can use them based on your group make up and desires.
• For a very busy group, it may be helpful to provide coffee or other refreshment at the beginning of each session and plan for about 15 minutes at the beginning to be a time of sharing prayer concerns and celebrations.
• For a group that really likes to talk and spend time with one another, you might plan for two-hour sessions and allow the women to simply enjoy one another’s company as the share refreshments for the first half hour.
• For a group that needs to meet for shorter amounts of time, but would like to have more sessions, add a session at the beginning and end to share a meal together. You could even throw one in the middle if you are inclined. The first meal could be a get to know you time and the final meal could be a time to close the groups time together.
• The optimal size for each group is 8 to 12 women. However, it is possible to do it with less or more. If you have a very large group (more than 20) it may be helpful to view the videos together, but break up around tables for discussions and activities.
A note about covenant
For most of these sessions, you will be invited to talk about things that are easy and comfortable. However, at other times, you will be encouraged to talk about things that are more private. It may be helpful for your group to take the time to set up a group covenant that will make everyone feel safe. A sample of some things you may want to include in your group covenant is shared below, but you will want to adapt it to fit the needs of your group. Take some time before you begin the first session to do this so your group feels safe and so that they can begin to bond with one another.
Help us make this better
This is our first time putting together this kind of a resource. We are excited about it, but we also want to hear your feedback so we can make future FaithElement: Studies For Women even better please feel free to let us know your thoughts about the resource itself and about future topics you would be interested in studying.
If you would like for Nikki to lead a kick off introductory session for you women’s group, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. She is also available via Skype or Facetime to be present for a session with your group.
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