Have you ever wondered what happens behind the scenes here at Lifeway Women? From Bible study tapings, simulcasts, traveling for live events, leadership training, podcasts, webinars, social media, and so much more, a lot happens that goes unseen.
We’re “pulling back the curtain” on all things Lifeway Women and giving you a look at what we do to make it all happen.
This month, we’re giving you a behind-the-scenes look at Lifeway Women Academy.
- Tell us a little bit about the heart behind Lifeway Women Academy. How did it get started?
Lifeway Women Academy started with several listening sessions and interviews with pastors, women’s ministry leaders, and women in churches. We asked them what the greatest needs were for women in their churches. We learned a lot! One answer we got over and over was the need for women to be equipped and confident in studying the Bible for themselves and in leading other women to do the same.
We hear from women all the time who love our Bible studies and have a desire to study God’s Word on their own, apart from and in-between doing a Lifeway Women Bible study. We have a lot of friends and partners and Lifeway Women teammates who have gone or are going to seminary, but we know that’s not an option for every woman in every season. We wanted to provide a stepping-stone in-between the two—Bible studies and seminary courses. We can’t wait to hear how God uses these courses to equip women to study God’s Word and to help them feel confident in approaching the Bible, teaching it, and perhaps even going on to study further through a seminary or theology degree.
- What goes into selecting and producing courses for the Academy?
We have a team here at Lifeway of women from around the company who are wise and gifted in education, theology, Bible study, and leadership training. We also hear from women in our own churches, at our Lifeway Women events, and through conversations with our authors, speakers, and other ministry partners. From that (very long!) list of classes, our team sat down to determine which classes should take top priority. Everyone agreed to start with How to Study the Bible: Hermeneutics 101. It’s a foundational course in many ways.
Once we selected the course, we put together an outline, selected teachers, and had a Zoom conference to make sure everyone was on the same page with what they were teaching. Our video production team met and put together a set that is simple, mobile, and reproducible for future courses. We filmed the first course in two days (which may or may not happen again—it was a lot of information for two days!). Now we are watching the video sessions, gathering notes, designing on-screen graphics, editing, and working with other teams at Lifeway to make sure everything is going according to plan technology-wise.
- Tell us about one of the most memorable moments from the first Lifeway Women Academy taping.
Like I said, it was a lot to do in just two days! But our teachers for the first course—Jen Wilkin, Dr. Julia Higgins, and Elizabeth Woodson—are total pros. One of the things that I can’t wait for people to see is a panel discussion between the three teachers. They each talked about why they chose to study the Bible and theology and then how they all use it in their everyday lives. Since all three women are in different life stages and have different levels of formal training, I believe the panel discussion will be so encouraging to women. Essentially, the message is: It’s worth it. God is worth it.
- What’s something that might surprise people about the Academy?
It may not be a surprise at this point, but one thing we are really excited about with Academy is that all the classes will be taught by women. We heard from women in our own churches how important it is for them to see other women teaching and studying theological topics. We love our male pastors and professors, but there is something different about women hearing from women who have had similar life experiences and struggles and found God faithful through it all. We hope our classes by women really help drive home the point that the Bible is for women, too.
- What do you hope women gain by being a part of Lifeway Women Academy?
I do hope that women feel equipped and confident to approach Scripture. The main goal for Lifeway Women Academy, and all of Lifeway Women, though, is for us to help women know God—know His love, His faithfulness, His sovereignty and wisdom, His holiness, all His attributes—and point others to Him as well.
Lifeway Women Academy will officially launch on October 14! To learn more and sign up for updates, visit lifeway.com/academy.
Elizabeth is an Editorial Project Leader at Lifeway. She managed to find a job where she uses both her English undergraduate and her seminary graduate degrees every day. Elizabeth grew up in Nashville, sips chai lattes every chance she can get, and believes everyone should have a “funny picture” pose at the ready. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram: @edhyndman.