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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1,609 Comments

  1. Very well said, Hollie. Thank you for all you are doing to increase the Kingdom! May God bless this ministry, and all who are involved, and those who are not yet involved, but are being prepared for future classes!

    Warmth and Love,
    Theresa

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  2. Thank you for sharing your heart and story, and for your new leadership. Blessings.

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    • Hi Holly,
      My name is Blessing Chitumu from BSF Class in Nigeria.
      I want to welcome you to your new office and I thank God for having you here in this strategic season; there’s plenty of work but the labourers are few, but as we work towards knowing more of God, desiring Him more and more, listening for His guidance, may we find the right opportunities to reach out to our brethren out there who are longing for something and by The power of The Holy Spirit, they be drawn to HIM … A-M-E-N!

      Loads of Love from Nigeria!🙂❣️🙏

      Reply
  3. Hello Holly,

    My name is Rebeca leader of the Spanish Women Bible Study in West Palm Beach Florida.

    I want to welcome you into my life! I know you will have a powerful influence on me, in my memories, and in my spiritual life.
    I’m thankful to the Lord Jesus for choosing you to be our BSF deader and anointing you for this task.
    May the Lord take care of you, your family, and your ministry.

    Sincerely
    Rebeca

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  4. Hello, my name is Crystal Newman, I had requested to participate in the Matthew Bible study at then end of our Gensis’s study and have not heard who the leader will be? I have not had anything come through my email letting me know when this will be starting, the day or the time. If this is something you can help with that would be great.

    Thank You
    Crystal Newman

    Reply
    • Hi Crystal, we’re so glad you are joining BSF! Please use the “Find a Group” feature on our website to locate your group by typing in your location and finding the correct group/meeting time. Then, click “more info” and “contact” to get in touch with your Class Administrator with these questions. Thank you! https://www.bsfinternational.org/find-a-group

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  5. I came into BSF this past year, on zoom, a little over half way through Genesis. I enjoyed the study & look forward to this next study.

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  6. The Lord that has called you will equip you, strengthen you and give you the grace for the task He has given you. He will favour and protect you and your family as you take up this great responsibility in Jesus mighty name. Amen! are most welcome ma’am.

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  7. Thank you for the BSF leadership and commitment to sharing knowledge. I pray that we all will have open hearts and eyes as we delve into God’s Word.

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  8. Thank you Hollie for trusting and obeying our Lord’s voice in the ministry of BSF. I look forward to getting to know you through your blog and postings. May this study of Matthew be the best one ever. Praying for your life to be extra blessed through this new position. God’s blessings.

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  9. Dear sister Hollie, it is truly a great privilege to serve alongside you in the call to reach and build up others in knowledge and relationship of Our Lord Jesus. May the favour and protection of God be upon you and family as you take up this challenge.

    In His name
    Gerard

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  10. Dear Hollie,

    Thank you for your faithful service in BSF. You and your lovely family will always be in my prayers. Keep up your good work!!

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  11. Thank you for you obedience to the Lord in leading us in BSF. I will be praying for you

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  12. Thank you Hollie. This is inspiring to note how God used you and your husband to bring up a God fearing family who are doing the same as God has commanded us in His word.

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  13. May GOD GO BEFORE YOU AND MAY GO WITH YOU IN THE ROLE YOU RECEIVED!

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  14. Will the bible study on Wed mornings at 9:30 am be continued here in Cincinnati online?
    I understand that Corena will not be returning this year. I have only heard that the bible studies are to resume next week from another source but I don’t know how I will log in!
    I received my book of Matthew and have started reading the 1st chapter.

    Will I hear from someone before the class starts next week ! Will someone send me more information as to how to set up for the class on Wednesday? (How to connect to the group? Tell me the time it starts? Who the leader is , etc.)

    Reply
    • Hi Barbette! We’re so glad you are a part of BSF! Please use the “Find a Group” feature on our website to locate your group by typing in your location and finding the correct group/meeting time. Then, click “more info” and “contact” to get in touch with your Class Administrator with these questions. Thank you! https://www.bsfinternational.org/find-a-group. You can also use this link to find online groups or start your own WordGo group.

      Reply
  15. Hello Hollie, I pray the Lord Shepherd you as you lead us. Remember you have a multitude of believers praying for you and your team of executives. Lots of love

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  16. I believe this will be my eight year with BFS, as I was encouraged to attend by my sister-in-law Kay. Memory has never been one of my traits and now I am 80 and my memory is troubling as well as my vision. Pray the Holy Spirit will continue to draw me closer and continue to use me and open my eyes and mind to remember God’s Word thru out this Year. Also my youngest son Tim who is 56 thinks BFS is for Old People, died for 20 minutes at Butterworth Hospital and remembers only darkness two years ago. He has a negative attitude, quick to judge, bad temper and feels bitter towards family, and believes he is saved as he accepted Christ as a child. He is not talking to his Dad due to a misunderstanding. Pray the Holy Spirit will soften his Heart and mend our relationship.

    Reply
    • Dear Gordon……I think it’s exciting to see “old” people studying God’s Word. I pray that God’s Word will grow deep in your heart and produce fruit, that His Word will quicken your mind and be your strength, as Jesus Himself is the Word spoken of in John 1. Be encouraged…..God sees your heart and hears your prayers for your son. Through your heartache you can draw closer to Him. Our prayers for children and grandchildren don’t stop here but continue working on even after we ourselves are gone. Your son doesn’t sound happy. I pray that He will find that treasure in the field that will cause him to rejoice and sell all that he has to purchase it! May God use you to give hope to others and make you an example to all those around you!

      Reply
  17. Hi Hollie, I love the way that you said we are to look at each person in our group as a part of GOD’s thread in His plans. Each of us are apart of this. Great respect for your input in my learning. Praying for you and all leadership of BSF and all the small groups and children.

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  18. Grace to you Hollie,
    May blessing abound upon you and yours in this new chapter of your life. Ive been in BSF for over 10yrs and am grounded every series on how much the Word brings life, purpose and meaning to me and those who join this ministry. We are all called to serve in some capacity and I encourage you to keep up the fight for the gospel in this opportunity that He has provided you before you even were – Ps 139:16.

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  19. May God bless your every step & watch over you & your family for the love that you show to your fellow man.

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  20. Welcome Hollie 🙂 I pray you will blessed in your new role. I believe the Lord loves BSF and has chosen you to be the Executive Director. I am so comforted by the fact that all of BSF is guided through prayers to our Lord and Savior. I also consider it a wonder that He equips us for whatever He guides us to do. What an amazing God!

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  21. Hello Hollie and Welcome!
    I know you will do great!! and I’m looking forward to getting to know you better. Through you God will do beautiful things for BSF. I’m
    glad to be a part of your journey!
    Thank you for stepping out in faith to this calling

    Much love and Blessings
    Carie children’s leader

    Reply
  22. Kathy – It is so refreshing to hear Hollie’s commens and to know that we have rreal genuine people in BSF. I will pray for all of our leadership and their goals for BSF this year as we study Matthew.

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  23. Welcome, Hollie! Thank you for your testimony, vision, and commitment to us and to the world in leading BSF into God’s journey for His people to save the lost.

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  24. Thank you Hollie. I was preparing my Awana lesson for 4th grade girls this morning. One of the discussion questions was to recount miracles in my life. I couldn’t think of any obvious miracles although I have know the Lord for 46 years. This is the same question that always stops me in some BSF questions. I have been in BSF for 24 years and have served as a CL and a GL. Applications for my life yes but miracles? God has worked in my life but I can’t share my husbands unfaithfulness, my daughter’s addition, my son coming out as gay and married to a man. But he has quietly walked with me. My husband is with me and walking with the Lord (although our relationship will never be what it could have), my daughter is healed and I have a great relationship with my son and his “husband”. Like I am going to share those things which I do count as miracles. Just as in Christ’s genealogy, I am not Abraham but HE knows my name and his walked with me. Thank you for your story. It has helped me appreciate my worth and to see HIS presence in my life. Thank you for serving and I look forward to Matthew again. (I am currently not serving in BSF. I am 73 and my energy is not what it used to be)

    Reply
    • Judy, thank you for sharing what God has done! He is so good to meet us in all seasons

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  25. BSF is new for me, a long time follower of Christ. I’m excited to begin this study in Matthew, and delve deeper into scripture and relationship with our Father; as well as become more familiar with BSF.
    Congratulations Hollie on your new position.

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  26. Welcome Hollie Roberts to the new leadership role. Glad to be under your leadership as we magnify God together.

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  27. Thank you for making BSF very accessible for more people to join and study the Word. I’m blessed for the opportunity given. God bless!

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  28. A hunger and thirst continues in my heart for the truth of God’s Word. I can identify with your growth pattern, Holly. The truth of Scripture is opening up more truth that gives hope and joy, because I’m learning and sensing the awesomeness of my Heavenly Father, my Savior, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit who resides within me.

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  29. Thanks for that encouraging note.
    Best wishes on your new role and responsibilities.

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  30. Welcome, Hollie! Praying Romans 15:30 for you as you start your new season with BSF, Excited to take part in this new year of BSF with you, and see how God moves mightily among all of us.

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  31. Congratulations on your leadership position at BSF. God bless you.

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  32. Thank you for all you are doing! So thankful for BSF.

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  33. I started BSF during the difficult lock downs of covid and it was amazing to have a group of men to connect with during a time of great isolation!!! I start my second semester in a few weeks and really looking forward to it!!! Thank you Hollie for serving and all the sacrifices that go along with it!!!

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  34. well come Hollie as a new ED of BSF. May the Holy spirit guide you and your service be fruitful!

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  35. Joining my prayers, with the many others, that the Lord would grant favour and establish the work of your hands. Welcome and thank you for your commitment to the Lord’s work.

    Reply

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