A Place to Belong

By Hollie Roberts – BSF Executive Director

I was just another face in the crowd, one of 150 women gathered to study God’s Word in a BSF class. 

Nothing about me said “BSFer for life.” I was six weeks away from having our first child, and I walked into that group with a temporary mindset. “I’ll give it six weeks. This may not be for me.”  

But through God’s grace, my Group Leader saw beyond the shy woman before her. She saw me. In fact, she saw and sought to know every woman in our group. Her goal was not to win us to BSF. Her desire was that God would plant a deep love for His Word in each one of us through study and real community.

Six weeks turned into eight. Eight weeks turned into a year. And one year has stretched into many as I write to you from BSF Headquarters.  

This is my BSF story. God has faithfully used these studies to shape and grow my faith through times of real struggle and true victory. 

But my story is only one of many. This year alone, BSF will have 400,000 unique stories to share as members gather around the world to study Matthew.

In such a great crowd, will one story make a difference?  

Unique Stories

Matthew 1 begins with a genealogy. The author could have opened with a mighty miracle or listed the many prophecies Jesus miraculously fulfilled. Instead, Matthew begins with a list of names.  

Some names are familiar, such as Ruth and David, but who is “Eliud the father of Eleazar” or “Azor the father of Zadok”?  

These are easy verses to want to skip. But like every word of Scripture, God included this list for a reason. He knit together each story as part of His grand narrative – His salvation plan for humanity through His Son.  

Every name on this list is a person who matters to God. Psalm 139 tells us God created their inmost being. He knit them together in their mothers’ wombs. He knew their fears, their worries, their sins, and their hopes. He walked beside them as they led thousands and comforted them in great loss.  

God intimately knew every man and woman included in Matthew 1. And God knows you completely. There may not be a book in the Bible called “Azor,” or even a passage about his life, but his value before the Creator of the universe is absolute.  

So often, we want to become an Abraham or a David. We long to measure our faith by the actions of Ruth and Rahab. But David did not become “a man after God’s own heart” in a day. And God spent years preparing Abraham for the moment that his belief was “credited to him as righteousness.” God built these men and women of faith over a lifetime. He met them in the small, everyday moments, preparing them for the times their faith would be tested. 

We may not know anything about Azor’s life, but God does. And if God used Azor to weave the bloodline of Christ, how might He be using you? 

Woven together

Genealogies throughout Scripture remind us that God links us together, from one generation to the next. Matthew 1 is a collection of wealthy and powerful leaders divinely linked to outcasts and exiles. Together, this group leads to the birth of the greatest Leader and Outcast the world has ever known: Jesus Christ, our Unexpected King. 

The genealogical path to the Messiah was crooked and messy. But that was God’s perfect plan. 

In these names we see that God is sovereign over all things. No wealth, power, influence, or affluence was greater than God’s plan. And no tears, pain, struggles, or hardship escape His notice.  

Nothing we do has the authority to shift God’s purposes or plans. But through His kindness and grace, we are invited to participate in His story. 

So how will your story make an impact this year? And whom will God use to help you write it? 

Just as every person listed in Matthew 1 matters to God, so does every person in your BSF group. He knows the woman on your Zoom screen and the man sitting next to you as you learn from one another. Will you take time to know them, too?

Without a Group Leader who was willing to get to know me years ago, I would not be writing this blog today. I pray that each of us, whether the world sees us as Abrahams or Azors, would see one another as God does. Through His Spirit and the power of His Word, we are all connected as part of God’s wonderful redemption story. 

May we remember Matthew 1 as we meet each person who comes to our groups. May we invite those whom God places in our paths. May our group list read like the genealogies in Scripture. There is room for anyone and everyone who wants to come. 

Hollie Roberts

BSF Executive Director

Hollie joined the BSF Headquarters Staff in 2018. She served as a Regional Director and Chief Field Development Officer before becoming the Executive Director. Hollie first attended BSF in Amarillo, Texas, where she began serving in leadership as a Children’s Leader (CL) and Group Leader (GL). After moving to Houston, Texas she continued to serve as a CL and GL, before becoming a Teaching Leader. Hollie and her husband Kevin have two sons, a daughter-in-law, and two grandchildren. Her family is actively involved in BSF.


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  1. Dear Hollie, May God bless your new role, be magnified through every word and deed, multiply this ministry in manifolds and be glorified. Love n prayers

  2. Thanks for a good engagement.

  3. It was an honour and joy to meet you dear Hollie in person when you visited Amman, Jordan.
    We pray weekly for you and the whole team that God will bless you and use you in a mighty way 🙏❤.

  4. Looking forward to the study of Matthew, will come to each class praying and as humble as I know how, willing to listen and learn. May not always speak but I will when I can.

  5. God bless you for receiving and accepting your new position. Sending prayers as I write this share.

  6. I am looking forward to study the book of Matthew!

  7. Hi Holly, I’m glad our God has lead you to this place and that you have followed. Continue in His care and be blessed this year.
    BSF has blessed me many years as I have followed Him. It is truly a lifeline God has used greatly in my life. I want to go nowhere without my God.

  8. Wow, 3 generations of BSF. It will be lovely to hear more of her testimony during times of trials

  9. Hollie. Can u help me I havent received anything for what class I’m in I’m unable to come to the church but plan to attend at home Iattended last semester need the zoom code thank you

    • Hi Rose! Please use our “Find a Group” feature to contact your local class leadership and get this information from them: https://www.bsfinternational.org/find-a-group. Simply choose what type of class you attend, search for your class via location or name, and then click “contact.” Thank you!

  10. Welcome Hollie and I pray that we may find those and lead those that are hungry and thirsty for the Lord.
    Thank you for taking on this Leadership role during Covid. God’s timing is perfect and He is working mightily in you. Excited about Mathew study!
    Love in Christ Jesus,

  11. Looking forward to the study of Matthew starting September 14.

  12. Praying for God’s continued favor on BSF, for blessing, and mulitpying of saved souls, due to their understanding of Who Jesus is, and their need for Him as Savior and Lord of their lives. Praying God is glorified and hearts and minds are matured in faith as they seek Him through the study of Matthew in BSF’s “The Unexpected King,” Matthew’s Account of Jesus. Praying for you, Holly, as you serve in your role as executive director. God is faithful! He will not leave or forsake, and He has prepared you for such a time as this. I love what you said about facts become truths, and then FEELING the experiences of the biblical accounts. This has been so true for me. God bless and keep you, use you for His great purpose, and give you peace and joy in the journey.

    • Hi Hollie, your blog on the genealogies in Matthew chapter 1 has inspired me so much. Thank you Hollie.

  13. Hi Hollie, I just watched your video. Very inspiring and encouraging. I started BSF the Fall of 2013 at the satellite location in Elk Grove Village. At the end of your video I felt like you were talkin about me. OMG!!! I hunger and thirst for the word! I was seeking for years that a bible study would satisfy my hunger and help give me understanding of the Word. His Word.
    Even though my hunger has been met through BSF! I still continue to hunger and thirst for Him and the Word. Isn’t it Amazing!!! We eat food every day. And we wake-up hungry again

    • Thank you Hollie, expecting the unexpected!! God bless you!!

  14. Very sorry, I am too slow to respond, I’m too slow to respond. I’m glad to join this group, thank you. God bless

  15. Thank you for sharing your story Holly.

  16. Thank you Hollie for capturing or describing how Bible study gradually moves you from initial learning of scriptural facts toward eventual internalization, understanding, and realization that these facts are TRUTHS all about who our Creator and Sovereign, Holy God IS— His Goodness, Power, Purpose, Promises Provision, Grace and Mercy for all of us followers/believers in Jesus Christ

  17. Welcome Holly ,BSF has made a huge impact on my life in person first in my 20’s when raising my young children and now on life in my 60’s in retirement. Gods word has always been a double edge sword and comfort for me.
    I pray The Lord will continue to bless you and your family and keep you from all harm. I’m Christ

  18. Im really inspired. Looking forward for studying Matthew. Welcome!

  19. Hi dear Hollie Roberts,
    Praise the Lord, thank you for touch in mail, and sorry for late reply, I living in San Francisco,CA, I came here from India, hydrabad, last year l was bible study fellowship in Hyderabad about Genesis, now I am in San Francisco even though I am attending bsf through zoom app with them, I am not perfect in English language so I am attending the bsf through zoom app. Thank you .

  20. Wow, it’s wonderful how BSF filters into our lives and is a resource for truth ❤️ It has taught me how to have a relationship with the lord so intimately!!

  21. A Warm to Hollie.
    The Lord bless and anoint you more as you take on Leadership of BSF.

  22. Welcome Hollie- may God bless you in your new leadership position.


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