Jill Spry Circle Leader * Timothy Network in Cannon County
It was a surprise phone call that turned into a big blessing for The Timothy Network. Not only would the voice on the other end enter a discipling relationship with us, she has gone on to become one of the most active members of our disciple making team. Jill Spry also eventually did a four-year stint on Timothy Network’s Board of Directors and is now our point person for women’s discipling activity in Woodbury and Cannon County. This is her testimony.
P.S. Jill will speak at “Fisherman’s Wharf” on Monday March 27th. Place and Time: The new Green House Ministries building, 307 South Academy. Brownbag lunch from 11:30 – 12:30. Come hear Jill and help us keep disciple making on the front burner! mls
It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly 10 years since our lives changed for the better. September 2013 was a pivotal month for the marriage journey Tim and I had been on. It represented a critical change of course in our spiritual lives. Promises broken, depression, grief, numbing, and a whole lot of going through legalistic motions and checklists in our spiritual lives. We needed something better. We knew there had to be more. Two needed pieces of the puzzle converged at once to set us on a course of growth and recovery.
First, a friend told me about Celebrate Recovery, a faith-based initiative that helps people overcome their “hurts, habits, and hangups.” I knew I needed something, but I wasn’t sure what (or rather who) it was. I started a “Step Study” in January 2014 with leaders Darlene Baker and Sandy Starrett Lee. A Step Study is a formal, structured process to help identify and get to the root of our issues. I needed this level of structure, but I also knew I wanted guidance through scripture and spiritual direction.
The other missing piece in my life was discipleship. My sister was a student at MTSU in the 80s and was a part of the Middle Tennessee Christian Center (now Raiders for Christ), where Mike Stroud was the campus minister. I knew of Mike and his wife, Karen, and had heard about the Timothy Network. While I was still very much in the middle of my brokenness and wading through my first remembrance of family dysfunction, I reached out to Mike. He quickly connected me with Karen, Tracy Patterson and two other women. The weekly dedication to meet, do life together, study God’s word (including how to live it out!), pray, and confess struggles is exactly what I needed. I had always gone to church but, other than my mother’s example, had not experienced discipleship. I had never been discipled.
Once I began experiencing true intentional discipleship, I knew this was something I wanted to pay forward. Of course, that is the goal of Timothy Network, i.e. making disciples who make more disciples. After completing my first Step Study in Celebrate Recovery, I’ve co-led three more. And being discipled through the efforts of Timothy Network, I have invested in other women by leading two discipling circles. I’ve also recently shared an intro session with three more women. It’s our goal to keep the chain of disciple making moving forward.
Alongside my journey, Tim connected with Mike and Steve Henegar, another Timothy Network volunteer and discipler. They discipled and trained my husband and two other ministry leaders within our congregation in Woodbury – Tim Knox and Greg Rogers. Each of them in turn paid it forward by investing in the spiritual growth of other men. My husband has since co-led three other discipling circles and plans to continue.
Collectively, we have brought twenty-one others into discipling relationships: Matt Alexander, Mike Bailey, Jonathan Bouldin, Mitch Burke, Shannon Gannon, Alana Hale, David Lovett, Stephanie Lovett, Jason Melton, Pat Nichols, Tammy Nichols, Kelsie Reed, Matt Rigsby, Shellie Rigsby, Michael Sellars, Staci Sellars, Pam Steakley, Aletha Thomas, Susan Trail, Kelley “Pepper” Weaver, and Rob Womack. While we are not aware of additional generations of discipling relationships from these individuals just yet, we certainly see the fruit of the Spirit growing exponentially in each of them.
Tim and I lived the early portion of our Christian lives as check-listing, pew dwellers; going through the motions, but not experiencing the true transformation we read about in Romans 12:1-2, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” We are grateful for the Timothy Network guiding our way.