LCMS Deaconess Heidi Goehmann has recently released a women’s Bible study, Think on These: A Study on Philippians 4:8, available on Amazon, so I thought I’d write Heidi for today’s post: a Heidi Goehmann interview. I first got to know Deaconess Heidi when she came to speak at an Oklahoma District Pastors’ Wives’ Retreat. In addition to speaking, she has a lively blog where she offers regular Bible studies. I am very pleased to see one of her Bible studies available through Amazon.
Heidi, I am excited to see you’ve made one of your Bible studies available on Amazon. Please tell us a little about yourself as an introduction.
Well, I love Jesus. 😉 I have a great husband, four kids, and a dog that love me unconditionally. I grew up in Missouri outside of St. Louis. I graduated from the Deaconess program at Concordia-Chicago and received my Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Toledo. Now I serve as the Deaconess for Ministry Wives and Families through Grace Place Wellness Ministries, and I also blog on topics of marriage and family for Concordia Publishing House. I lead online women’s Bible studies and more at my own blog site, ilovemyshepherd.com. I love to read, to travel, to eat good food, and to have warm beverages around a table with good friends.
How did you start putting together Bible studies?
Writing Bible studies and any kind of tool to help people get into the Scriptures was one of my favorite parts of my schooling. Then, I was drawn to women’s Bible study myself by a real and insatiable need for both consistency and accountability in my devotional life and community with other Christian women, who were going through the same struggles and had wisdom to share.
So many women have very real barriers to getting into the Word on a daily basis that I began the online Bible studies to minimize those barriers and get creative with creating community. My personal goals for my blog are a) one more woman in the Word everyday and b) for every study and post to be intensely theological while remaining intensely practical.
I happen to know you’ve written quite a few studies and have a solid following on your blog. What helped you to take the next step, publishing one so that it can be more widely available?
It was really about making more resources readily available for women in all kinds of settings. For some women a print resource works better for their quiet time or group study, while others prefer the digital platform. The online studies have an almost “live” feeling to them. It’s cool how women around the world come together for a period of time to study God’s Word. I also know that doesn’t work for everyone and connecting to Bible studies in local homes and churches are vital for our faith growth.
I feel privileged to be able to share His Word in so many ways. In our world today we have many great resources available. I aim to share those, and hopefully offer something a little different.
Can you walk us through your five day schedule?
The five day a week schedule for the studies aims to help women get into the Word every day of the week, while still offering grace. Each day of study is a 2-3 page read or less. There are five devotions to read in a week, most with questions for exploring in your own life, but you can miss a day because life happens and still not feel behind.
At the beginning of the book I explain that even reading one day of the week is a good goal, or three, or whatever works in each person’s context. Groups that meet together to do the study can read the week’s segments on their own and then come together to discuss the questions and their own thoughts that spring up as they study the Word. Each study can be used as a stand alone devotional, but the week has a thread that holds them all together.
Is there a particular reason you started with publishing “Think on These: A Study of Philippians 4:8”?
This study, I hope, is very non-intimidating to those who are new to Bible study, but also digs into Scripture enough that I think even the most seasoned reader will learn something new and grow in their faith.
In my own devotional life, I kept reading the words, “Whatever is true…honorable…lovely…commendable…worthy of praise…think on these things.” I wanted to understand them more. Why were each of these things so valuable? What does true, for instance, look like in my life as a woman, and a wife, a mom, a church member, a community member, etc? I discovered quickly, when we did the study online, that I wasn’t the only one with these questions! God’s Word is so wonderfully connected and holds beautiful answers to all of our question, always pointing us to the One who gave everything for us.
What helps you most as you write or layout your studies?
This may sound hokey, but to choose a study, the Holy Spirit usually writes God’s message into my life through His Word overlapping in various places. I’ll hear a verse or a Scripture passage from the lectionary at church, then I’ll read it in a devotional or Bible study, then a friend will share it in her Facebook news feed. Again, the connectedness of Scripture never fails to amaze me. I also try to consider what needs I hear from women around me—what message from the Word has guided them in their home lives? What misunderstandings are there out there about God? What ways do people need to hear and see the grace of Jesus in their lives?
From there, I work out. I read a larger passage around the text on my mind, then the book of the Bible that holds the text, then I consider it within the source of Scripture as a whole. This creates the outline usually. Next comes catching up on my commentaries and my study Bible for each passage, as well as Hebrew and Greek word study. It’s really a fun process!
Is there anything we can do to encourage you in your work?
Lots of prayer! I love my work and I feel very blessed to have been given the privilege to share His Word at all. Some days I wonder if I have anything of value to share and then I remember that God is the One doing the work. Other days, the sheer number of tasks of writer, wife, mom, deaconess, pastor’s wife, and friend can be overwhelming. I love knowing that I have so many brothers and sisters praying for His Word to go out, whether they pray for me by name or not. Keep praying!
And thank you, always for reading and digging in to God’s Word, for opening your homes and your churches to share His Truth with a world so desperately in need. I’m so thankful to be in this tribe, at this time and place, with so many who are so faithful. To Him be all glory!
This Goehmann Interview wouldn’t be complete without an Amazon link for your viewing pleasure. 🙂