Under the leadership team of Women’s Ministry, 6 women serve on the Bible Study Team with the goal of helping the women of Valley move forward in their lives as Thriving Women of the Word.
Meet the team: Be inspired by their hearts for God’s Word….
Annie Stec Hi, I’m Annie, a mom to three grade school kids and wife to Tony. My biggest and favorite ministry is my family! I love getting to have conversations with our kids about the Lord and life. I also love talking with my husband, he is a pretty wise guy and I am so lucky to have his brain to pick. I have loved learning about the Bible for as long as I can remember - which is why I went to school for my Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies at Azusa Pacific University and my Master of Arts in Religion at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. I am passionate about studying the Bible and am grateful there is always more to learn from God’s word.
Some of my favorite childhood memories are of late night road trips. While my dad was driving and everyone else was sleeping, I was laying down in the third row and he and I would talk. We would talk about the Bible, theology, and history. He talked to me like I was his peer, listening as much as teaching. He was truly curious about what I thought. During these conversations, not only did my love for the Bible grow but my dad gave me another gift - by valuing my thoughts he gave me the confidence to study God’s word on my own.
Brenda Long My name is Brenda Long. I enjoy serving on the Women’s Bible Study Team while working as a nurse educator and keeping up with seven grandchildren. My husband and I have been in ministry for 38 years and have found the Word of God to be essential in navigating all aspects of life. Romans 12:1-2 encourages us to live counter-culturally. Some days I am simply under-equipped to do that! I have found studying God’s Word is my daily Resource - not merely informational but transformational. The renewing of my mind, attitudes and values through scripture gives me daily perspective to live and love well.
Connie Stilley I grew up on a farm, in a family that was very involved in our church. I knew that when I started college it might be a good idea to look for a church. I attended services close to my dorm at Iowa State a couple of times, but it didn't seem like a good fit. A few months later, a hometown friend offered a ride to a church off campus, that also had a student group that met on campus. The people in this church were welcoming, especially to new college students. The campus group offered a weekly ministry and encouraged involvement in Bible studies. I started attending both and soaked up what I was learning. The faith I had seen demonstrated in my parent’s lives became more personal to me.
College is often a time of important decisions in life. I had some wonderful mentors, developed life-long friendships, and met my husband in that ministry. I'm grateful for the way God has kept me close to Him.
As a Grandma who's been involved in many Bible studies over the years, I'm especially touched by the way God is working through the lives of our four children and our grandchildren. I'm gratified to see that our seven grandchildren are being raised by parents who also walk in faith.
I really love connecting with other women in Bible study, and quite honestly, spend more time studying the Word of God myself when I am in a group study. I love hearing the perspective of others and sharing burdens in prayer times.
The very first verse I ever learned was John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." With that perspective, learning who God is and studying His Word with others is such a blessing!
(Note: As the longest serving Women’s Ministry Coordinator, Connie is a great asset to the team with her extensive knowledge of the women of Valley and the history of Women’s Ministry.)
Diann Cooper My name is Diann Cooper. I am single and a retired elementary teacher. I taught 4th-6th graders for 38 years. I’ve been a member of Valley Church and Pathfinders Life Group for several years. I am a member of the Senior Ministry Committee-our main responsibilities are Saints Alive and Valley Travelers. I have taken and facilitated many Bible Studies at Valley.
I continue to get more excited about studying God’s Word. I used to think it was about how the Bible could help me, but it’s God’s story! It’s all about Him!!! It’s about knowing more about God and His character, what He has done and what He can do! A book that has helped me with a study method is “Women of the Word - How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds” by Jen Wilkin. It’s a 3-step method: Comprehension (What does it say?); Interpretation (What does it mean?); Application (How should I respond?). It’s God first & then me! It’s loving God with my mind and my heart!!! It’s Psalm 46:10 “Be still and KNOW that I am GOD” and so much more! God gave us His Word so we can KNOW HIM! I pray that God will continue to fill my HEART with the desire to fill my MIND with more knowledge about Him!
Sandy Murphy Hi, I’m Sandy, wife to Ryan and mom of 3 kids - 8th grade, 6th grade, and 4th grade. I served with Cru for several years during my 20s, in St. Louis and on several trips (from 1 week to 1 year) to Eastern Europe. One of my favorite verses is Philippians 1:6 – “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” He is in the process of completing what He started in me…it’s not just up to me!
Growing up in a family that loved the Lord and was committed to church and Bible study definitely set the foundation for me to love God and His Word. It wasn’t until my freshman year in college, however, that being in the Word shifted from a mere “good thing to do” to a passion. I went to college looking for a Christian group to connect with and found Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ). Vanessa, a senior acquaintance, was actively involved in Cru and teaching others to study God’s Word. She took me under her wing and we studied Philippians together, verse by verse over the course of a semester. Discovering that God was going to continue what He started in me (Phil 1:6) was refreshing and empowering. He not only began a good work in me, but was going to keep working in my life to make me who He wanted me to be. It wasn’t just up to me alone to walk with Him — He was still pursuing and working on me! This paradigm shift emboldened me to share Christ with others. Now that I more fully grasped the gospel, it was truly good news to share! That semester launched me into a life of studying God’s Word and has given me a passion to see others know Him and His Word. One of my favorite things is watching women I’ve poured my life into reach out to other women, teaching them to know Jesus and study the Bible. Over the years I’ve engaged in a variety of Bible study methods, but always come back to some kind of inductive method of going through a passage verse by verse, discovering what it says, what it means, and how it applies to my life — the basics that Vanessa taught me years ago.
Being a part of the Women’s Ministry Bible study planning team at Valley has allowed me to continue to use my passion for His Word in the lives of women. I love to see women at Valley engaged in His Word alongside other women, sharing what He’s teaching them and growing together. I have so loved each Women’s Bible Study at Valley that I’ve been a part of and can honestly say that even though I’ve learned through my own study and preparation, I have learned even more as others share what He’s taught them. I love it! We are called to live in community, and as we study His Word together we sharpen one another — what a refreshing, beautiful place to be!
Becky Staab My journey of digging into God’s Word began when as a ten-year-old I received my grandmother’s Bible after she went to be with the Lord. I had owned copies of the Bible before, but that special Bible motivated me to start reading and learning on a regular basis. That daily (almost!) habit of Bible reading and study has continued now through many moves and stages of life for close to 50 years. Now we have the joy of watching our 3 children (and 2 wonderful spouses) and 5 grandchildren pursue similar habits. God has been so faithful to bring many mentors and resources into my life – each at just the right time – to move me forward in thriving growth as a woman of His Word. Since coming to Valley I’ve had many opportunities to teach the Bible, both here and overseas. Often, as the “teacher,” I have been the one who had the most to learn! God uses His Word, His Spirit, and the community of His people to teach me. What an amazing thing it is that the Creator of the Universe, who rules over all things, would stoop down to reveal Himself to me through His Word, over and over, in a multitude of personalized ways!
We want to conclude with these statements of intent that we have started to recite together in some of our Bible studies:
The Bible is God’s Story.
We want to know Him.
We will find out what it says.
We will learn what it means.
We will respond to His truth, personally, and in community.
Women of Valley, come and join us in this pursuit!