The Sonship Report

Album ArtSonship studies are small gatherings that meet under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. They are facilitated discussions focused on what it means to be children of God. Jody Mayhew began these studies several years ago in order to encourage the relational exploration of Spirit-led life.

Recently, the news has been filled with reports of criminals hacking into computer databases for the purpose of stealing identities. As Christians, we have had our identity stolen when we don’t recognize the intimate relationship we are intended to have with our Creator. We have lived as an orphan who feels unloved, rather than as a real son or daughter regarded with affection by a heavenly Father. It is the purpose of the Sonship Studies to explore and reaffirm that tender, sonship connection with God. 

Sonship Studies  can be an effective way for Summit Fellowships (simple churches, home churches, etc.) to be planted. Often simple churches feel the need for some sort of scaffold as they learn how to meet and deepen their relationship. Sonship Studies are a good way to accomplish that. Furthermore, fellowships that are well established may be looking for a temporary change of direction in their gathering. Sonship Studies are well suited for a group wanting to  do a focused study for a season.  Presently, there are several Sonship Studies in the Portland metro area. 

Sonship Studies are not intended to be “marketed” or to be circulated as a prepackaged curriculum, rather they are to be handed along relationally. Recently, Jody received a request to explain the studies and coach a group of interested persons in the Midwest. Below is a report from a woman who serves as a chaplain in a local jail. We are ecstatic about it. We think you’ll understand why. Here is what she wrote. 

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Hello, Jody! 

I just wanted to give you an update on how the Sonship study is going in the County Jail here.  They have approx. 10,000 inmates annually and 750 at any given time.  Of course people are transitioning in and out continually. It’s been interesting to get the inmates feedback on this study. I am always expecting that it’s going over their heads, yet I get positive feedback every time I ask.  I also hold a men’s group with men from 4 separate PODS and then a women’s group by themselves.

The men too have said they like it.  They have been more verbal and open with their thoughts as time has progressed vs. how quiet they were at the onset.  But we’ve held true to it being relational and no pressure.  Taking the time, He desires to lead them.

The women’s group is really growing deeper and nearly half the women incarcerated are seeking the Lord and coming to Christ.  The older women are mentoring the younger ones and people are getting saved and baptized. I think with the [Sonship] study, the Celebrate Recovery Group, having a bold Christian woman leading, and a Christian Chaplain in charge has provided some great support and learning opportunities.  I asked the women what they thought of the study and if they would like to continue and they all said YES with responses like, “I’ve never been in a study like this. It’s so different! And it’s so relational.”  We’ve had testimonies of women waking up at 3am prompted to pray for their bunkies who end up coming to church with them and getting saved.  Many have said they’ve recommitted to Christ or are new converts.  

One young gal came in my study one day and she looked like death walking—white, pasty, long scraggly hair. She looked half alive.  One of the women said she felt a spirit of suicide on her when she came in the cell and she was creeping the other women out.    The girl’s cell mate shared in class that she felt like the Holy Spirit was waking her up in the early morning hrs to pray for her.  I told her DO IT!  She started praying and just putting her hand on the young girl’s bunk above her head.  Here this gal is in for dealing meth, a young mother of a baby, who was living with a man who believes in Shamans and dealing heroin and meth. She came to the study, then church, then CR [Celebrate Recovery] and accepted Christ and wants to be baptized. We’re praying for God’s favor and leniency to help her get in a rehab program vs. State/Fed prison so young.  Regardless she looks like a new woman! Another gal in class was sentenced to a federal prison. She has three children at home.  She left in good spirits believing that God is sending her into a mission field and using her while He strengthens her in her journey.  

Many good things being done by God through His Word.  Thank you for being faithful to pass it on.

Dan

Dan

Dan ministers among a community of House Churches called The Summit Fellowships. He encourages a simple, relational and generally "free-range" practice of Christian faith. He is a writer and a teacher. He and Jody, his wife of 40 years, live in Portland, OR. Their blog is at www.tween2worlds.us
Dan

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