By Marissa Postell
Greensboro, N.C. – “Listen, I have so many things to tell y’all. My mind is going bing, bing, bing!” said Priscilla Shirer as she looked out at a room of 2,500 women gathered in Greensboro, North Carolina, on Aug. 27, 2022, during Lifeway Christian Resources’ “Going Beyond Live” event.
The energy had been building all day. Women had come ready to worship, pray, celebrate God’s work in one another and pursue the Lord together.
“We have rolled out the red carpet for God with our praise and worship this morning,” said Shirer, author, Bible teacher and leader of Going Beyond Ministries.
Our need for change
Shirer led the group in three teaching sessions throughout the day. She began the first session walking listeners through Luke 17:11-19—the account of Jesus healing the 10 lepers when only one returned to worship Him—and reminding listeners of their identities.
Shirer reminded women that like these lepers, we do not stay the same when we encounter Jesus. “Even if you’re not fully convinced of this Messiah yet, where the presence of the Lord is, things change” Shirer said. “He can do something about our circumstances. But sometimes the biggest change we need is a change in our hearts.”
She also pointed out that Jesus healed these men as He was on His way—doing mundane tasks. “The most impactful ministry is when we are ‘on our way’” Shirer said. “If you’re a child of God, you’re in ministry. Whatever you do is for the glory of God. The time is right now to be the hands and feet of Jesus.”
Hearing from God
Shirer began the afternoon reminding believers of the treasure waiting for them when they open God’s Word. And she laid out a Bible study method that has transformed her own time with God. “I want you to leave here equipped,” Shirer explained as she gave listeners five tips for encountering God when they study the Bible.
- Position yourself to hear from God
- Pour over the passage and paraphrase the key points
- Pull out the spiritual principles
- Pose the question
- Plan obedience and pin down a date to follow through
As she laid out these steps, she encouraged women that spending time in Scripture was how they could get to know their Heavenly Father, highlighting the personal nature of a relationship with God.
This message stood out to Marian Ulrich from Raleigh, North Carolina. Although she grew up a preacher’s kid and attended the event with three of her grown daughters, she said Shirer reminded her to not be complacent in her faith. “There’s always room for growth,” Ulrich said. “There’s always room to get back to the basics in the Word.”
The magnificence of God
Shirer closed the afternoon reminding attendees who God is. “God is not just a big version of ourselves. He is in a different category than us,” Shirer said. “Even though our God is a mystery, what we can know is that He’s good. We can know He is kind. And He wants to be known.”
She led the gathering through Luke 18:35-43—the account of a blind man who called out for Jesus to restore his sight. Shirer pointed women to the presence of God that now dwells in the lives of believers through the Holy Spirit. “The manifest presence of God is available to you,” she said. But she warned her hearers to not become so comfortable with the presence of God that they take it for granted or so used to the blessings of God that they’re no longer aware of His glory.
Layers of worship
Throughout the day, Anthony Evans, Shirer’s brother and one of Christian music’s premier worship leaders and singer/songwriters, led the group in worship through music. But the worship didn’t stop there. Shirer described it as layers of worship: music, prayer, Bible study and generosity.
“Prayer is not the prelude to the main thing. It is the main thing,” Shirer said.
So as women practiced prioritizing prayer, they filled out prayer request cards, bringing them to the front of the room. Later, Shirer led the group in corporately praying over the requests women had brought forward. Women gathered in groups to pray over the needs of their sisters in Christ. Shirer invited every woman to take home a prayer request card and commit to praying for that need for the next seven days. Shirer also led the women in donating needed supplies to Leslie’s House, a local non-profit that serves homeless, single women.
“I love the impact Priscilla has,” Ulrich said. “You can see she is filled with the Word of God and she’s focusing on God.”
Through every layer of worship, attendees responded with enthusiasm and excitement—often standing and shouting with praise. This enthusiasm was amplified when women began coming forward to put their faith in Jesus. Cheers erupted as women began making their way from their seats.
“The ministry that happens at ‘Going Beyond Live’ is so special. Women worship together, pray for each other and allow God’s Word to penetrate their hearts as they listen to Priscilla teach,” said Becky Loyd, director of Lifeway Women. “Every time I’m at this event, I’m moved to tears because God allows us to be a part in this impactful ministry.”
The day before “Going Beyond Live,” 160 women gathered in Greensboro for “You Lead,” a one-day training to grow women’s leadership potential. “We want to grow excitement in you, so when you leave here, there is an echo of ministry across the 12 states represented in this room,” said Kelly King, manager of magazines/devotional publishing and women’s ministry training for Lifeway.
King began the training time discussing markers of a healthy leader. She focused on Ephesians 4:1-16 and the importance of being a healthy leader because each believer’s health affects the health of the whole body—no matter how insignificant that person may feel.
The day included three breakout session periods led by King; Vickey Banks, women’s ministry director at Council Road Baptist Church in Oklahoma; Missie Branch, assistant dean of students to women and director of graduate life at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) in N.C.; Ashley Chesnut, associate young adult minister at The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama; and Dr. Julia B. Higgins, assistant professor of ministry to women and associate dean of graduate program administration at SEBTS.
Their sessions covered a range of topics including women’s ministry essentials, Bible study methods, discipleship and mentoring, developing leaders, creativity and revitalizing women’s ministry.
Following lunch, King led a Q&A session with Banks, Branch, Chesnut and Higgins. One attendee asked how they could graciously guard their time in the Word. Branch pointed out that women are doing their families a disservice when they’re not spending time in the Word. “Everyone else in the house is better when I’ve spent time with Jesus,” Banks said.
Other questions dealt with choosing Bible translations, becoming good Bible study leaders, how transparent to be as a pastor’s wife, getting women to attend events, defending the inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible and ministering to diverse groups of women.
“One thing I love about ’You Lead‘ events is that women come from all walks of life, yet they all want to be used by the Lord in their context of leadership,” King said. “Whether they’re leading from their home, their work, their church or in the community, our event gives them practical leadership tools with a biblical worldview.”
Upcoming “Going Beyond Live” and “You Lead” dates and locations are listed at Lifeway.com.
Marissa Postell is a writer for Lifeway Christian Resources.
About Lifeway Christian Resources
In operation since 1891, Lifeway Christian Resources is one of the leading providers of Christian resources, including Bibles, books, Bible studies, Christian music and movies, Vacation Bible School and church supplies, as well as camps and events for all ages. Lifeway is the world’s largest provider of Spanish Bibles. Based in Nashville, Tennessee, Lifeway operates as a self-supporting nonprofit. For more information, visit Lifeway.com.