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For the women, by the women: A Q&A with Deacon Hilary Tompkins
Hilary Tompkins is a deacon at Mars Hill Church who oversees women’s ministry across all of the church’s locations. To prepare for the Ephesians series, her team of volunteer writers created the women’s ministry section of the Who Do You Think You Are? Study Guides with Daily Devotions. Recently, Pastor Mark interviewed Hilary to talk about this unique project.
Pastor Mark Driscoll: First, I’d like to publicly thank you, Hilary, and your husband, Steve Tompkins [lead pastor of Mars Hill Shoreline], for 11 years of friendship and faithful service. I’m really excited for what’s been happening as you oversee women’s ministry at Mars Hill, especially for this invaluable resource that you have produced for women here at Mars Hill and for other churches. What is the content for the resource and how is it formatted for women?
Deacon Hilary Tompkins: Mars Hill women gather for midweek studies, and they are excited about studying the Bible. But they want to complement what they’re studying in their women’s midweek study with the sermons they are hearing on Sundays. So, it’s really exciting to see an inductive study of Ephesians come together for women.
MD: How does the inductive format work?
HT: There are three elements to an inductive format. One is the opportunity to observe the Scriptures. That encourages a close read, people looking at the details, the historical context, the audience, who it was written to, and what unique things were going on. The second element moves into interpretation, which tries to answer, discuss, and explore some of the questions about the text using the close observations. The last element is application: What do we do now? What’s our mission? And what does obedience to Jesus look like?
MD: I went through the study with [my wife] Grace and I’m really excited—Jesus is all over the place, in every page, and everything is connected to him. Can you explain the process that your team of women undertook to come out with this massive project?
HT: We wanted Mars Hill women to be able to write for Mars Hill women. We have a number of very gifted, smart, committed women who were willing to take on a project like that. Over a dozen ladies studied every portion of Scripture in Ephesians, did the background work, and put together the questions in a 16-week curriculum to go along with the sermon series.
MD: Can you give some background and circumstances of these ladies who have, over hundreds of hours, compiled and crafted this project?
HT: We have a very diverse group of women: homebound moms of multiple children, others who are struggling with their health, single women who are on staff and very involved in Redemption Groups and other areas of teaching, as well as several women’s ministry coordinators contributing as well. All of these women are really gifted at study.
MD: So, we have very gifted, godly women who range from singles to grandmothers. That’s a great opportunity for Mars Hill to bless other churches for the well-being of the whole church. What’s the hope for you and the team? In what ways are you praying and asking Jesus to use this opportunity?
HT: We’re loving the idea that women get to study the Bible and dig into Scripture in a very rigorous and robust way but also receive great heart-application. We hope this resource will pull themes out of Ephesians that will help others and address what God wants to do in their hearts. We’ve been really blessed to have several Redemption Group leaders involved in this intimate and personal aspect as well. We expect these application questions to be perceptive, thoughtful, and useful for all women.
MD: As you’ve been working through the content and the application questions in community, what’s happened to those involved in the project?
HT: We hope that they will continue to write in the future! They’ve already been really involved in leadership in the local Mars Hill churches. And they continue leading other women in understanding how to study Scripture and see Jesus in it. It’s really exciting!
MD: Thank you for leading women’s ministry across Mars Hill. We’re genuinely excited because we haven’t done anything like this, and I think that it’s a fantastic first effort that we’re really proud of. Thank you, and thanks to the ladies on the team who made it possible.
In addition to the women’s ministry study guide, the Study Guides companion resource includes small group and student ministry study guides, as well as 16 weeks’ worth of daily devotions. You can get your copy at the Resurgence store or on Amazon.