Have you ever wished you could sit down in a casual coffee shop with one of our authors and speakers and chat? We are so thankful for the amazing women of God we have the privilege of working with regularly. And while we can’t all gather in our favorite downtown coffee shop, we want to give you the opportunity to know them a little more personally.
Every other month we’re sharing a fresh “coffee chat” with a member of the Lifeway Women family to give you the opportunity to get to know her a little better.
This month, get to know Elizabeth Woodson!
Tell us about your writing process. Any favorite pens, locales, teas to drink, or music to listen to?
One of the fun parts of being a writer is learning your writing process. Over the years, I’ve learned I write best during longer periods of time. So, I will block off a few days or weeks to write a Bible study section. The focused time puts me in a space of clarity, which then helps me write better and quicker. I have also learned that I must do most, if not all, of my research before I start writing a section. So, I will spend considerable time researching that week’s topic and create an outline before I start writing.
The city is a big source of inspiration for my creative process, so during these writing blocks, I love to write in coffee shops and coworking spaces that give me a great view of the city skyline! Along with a great view, a quiet environment, and some caffeine (usually Coke®!) are my go-to elements for a productive writing session.
What is one of your favorite travel destinations? Is there somewhere you haven’t been that is on your wish list?
One of my favorite travel destinations is Cape Town, South Africa! I traveled there after I graduated from college and had a wonderful time exploring the city. It is such a beautiful country!
London is on my wish list. I would love to spend time touring England, learning more about its history and architecture. (I love history and old buildings! 😊)
What is the best advice you have ever received?
“Leaders eat last.”
I received this advice from a mentor, and it has drastically shaped how I approach ministry. As leaders, we are stewarding the people that have been entrusted to us. Even when making hard decisions, our first concern should be for their well-being, not our own. Whether we are leading our kids or a large corporation, we should always lead from a place of self-sacrificial service.
What’s something God has been teaching you lately?
Recently, God has been teaching me about the danger of distractions. Sometimes, the only reason why we aren’t able to take hold of the blessings God has given us is that we are focused on the wrong thing. It could be a relationship we shouldn’t be in, a situation of longing or pain we can’t get past, or an area in which we lack the discipline to do what we ought.
Now, the things that distract us aren’t always bad. But they take us away from the good God desires us to do. Our effectiveness in ministry requires a sharp focus on Him and a wise but ruthless elimination of the things that get in the way.
You have a new Bible study with Lifeway called From Beginning to Forever. Tell us a little about it.
Yes, From Beginning to Forever is an 8-session study that covers the entire story of Scripture! The sixty-six books of the Bible are both unified and diverse. They have a unique meaning related to the author, genre, and audience. But all sixty-six books also combine to tell one unified story about God’s kingdom and our redemption.
Reading through Scripture isn’t always easy. So, I hope this study will give women a framework to understand those more challenging passages (for example, Leviticus!). However, I also hope it gives them a big vision of who God is, who they are, and what they are called to do in this world.
Learning the story of Scripture has been a game changer for my discipleship journey. I pray that it has the same powerful impact on whoever reads this study!
As you worked on From Beginning to Forever, what were some new things you learned along the way?
One new thing I learned, or maybe just something I saw that l reinforced, was the corporate nature of God’s transformative work throughout Scripture. When we study Scripture, we often focus on what God is doing for and through us individually and miss the corporate components of God’s plan of redemption. By studying the text as a whole, it was easier to see the elements of spiritual transformation that we can’t or won’t experience unless we show up in unity, working together for the world’s flourishing. In God’s kingdom, our unity is a powerful pathway of transformation, both for us (plural) and the world. Far too often, I believe our witness is hindered because we are too focused on our personal relationship with Jesus rather than Jesus’s corporate relationship with the church.
During my research, I also picked up a new phrase that was helpful for my understanding of the prophets. One of the authors whose work I consulted for the Bible study described the prophets as “covenant enforcers.”1 The prophetic books are some of the most challenging parts of Scripture to understand, and this short phrase provides a lot of clarity. It helps us remember that regardless of seemingly confusing language or imagery, every prophet was working to draw the people of Israel back to obedience to their covenant with God.
Elizabeth Woodson is a bible teacher, writer, and speaker, who is passionate about communicating the rich theological truths of Scripture. She loves helping people internalize their faith and connect it practically to everyday life.
Elizabeth works as the Institute Classes and Curriculum Director at The Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas where she teaches classes on the Bible, theology, and spiritual formation. She formerly worked as the Single Life Coordinator at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship under the leadership of Senior Pastor Dr. Tony Evans. Elizabeth is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary with a Masters in Christian Education and a cohost of the podcast Culture Matters.
1. Vaughan Roberts, God’s Big Picture (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2002), 90.