Many of you know Christine Smith as a leader at the Womens Bible Cafe, so we thought you’d like to know more about her in our Getting to Know You series. Christine was raised by a Catholic Grandmother and a Lutheran Mom, so she was exposed to two religious faiths. Her parents decided not to baptize their children and allow them to make their own choice when they were ready. Her mom enrolled her in Lutheran Sunday school and her Grandmother encouraged her attendance at a Catholic School. When she was 12 years old Christine chose to be baptized before her entire school. She enjoyed both segments of her education and spent years under the direction of “the nuns” whom she loved. Christine attended an all-girls Catholic High School where she learned compassionate caring for others and putting God first. While in college, she strayed from God and went on a prodigal run.
Christine returned to God when her second daughter was born, just a few days after the American 9/11. A series of life-changing events opened her eyes to her Father God, and she started exploring churches as well as bible study. She first returned to the Catholic church of her education, joined a women’s Bible study then eventually followed her husband and sister into a “new church” where the sermons were 45 minute Bible lessons. It took more than a year before she let go of the guilt of attending a new church- it weighed on her heart that this church was different. She felt like a traitor, though everyone accepted her and the pastor was really great. Eventually, the church grew to more than 12,000 members and it became a family to her. It was here that she found Beth Moore, Max Lucado, Jennifer Rothschild and other Bible study authors she never knew existed.
The most value gained from her Bible studies has been an awakening of Spirit. Christine feels a deep connection to the Holy Spirit and a closeness to Jesus, walking hand-in-hand with Him throughout her day. She never doubts he is near, as counselor, friend, father, spouse and guide. Bible study has become a LIVING WORD, more than two-thousand years old. It is not a religion- it is the presence of the Living Son within each of us and a personal relationship with God. Knowing this has changed her life forever.
Getting started and staying on track has been the most difficult challenge of Bible study for Christine. Life gets in the way, exhaustion tempts sleeping in, work pulls her heart- there are so many things that compete for God’s time. Often when she falls behind, she’ll read the words on a day when they have significant value. Something will happen the day before, she opens her bible study, and the EXACT scripture lesson is placed before her eyes. It has happened so many times, she no longer condemns herself for falling behind, she simply grabs the hand of Jesus and moves forward with Joy in her heart.
Christine created the Women’s Bible Cafe when she saw women in her church small group unable to attend because of illness, work or family issues. These women wanted to draw near to God, they wanted to read the popular Beth Moore Bible studies, and their lives made it impossible. She saw one lady get into an elevator with a crutch and walking cast, and pain evidenced with each step. Another woman in her group was an international celebrity, and unable to share her personal testimony for fear it would be public information. Christine’s small group leader was in a wheelchair with an oxygen tank, her body decaying from earlier years of anorexia. Christine’s heart broke for what these women went through just to get to their Bible study, and she knew Jesus’ heart was broken too because many more women were sitting at home, isolated from the Word of God. She created the Women’s Bible Cafe after reading the book A Different Kind of Wild, Is Your Faith Too Tame, written by her women’s pastor Debbie Alsdorf. As she read the book, Christine kept asking God “you’re not going to make me lead a women’s Bible study, are You?” He did… and he equipped her for it.
Every Bible study has impacted Christine’s life, and she does not prefer one over the other. Initially, she walked out of her first bible study, and another christian woman redirected her steps. She has a preference for Beth Moore studies, because they are very in-depth and the author is transparent with her own walk of faith. She alternates with other Bible study authors to ensure she is not more focused on the author than the Word of God. Her desire is to read studies by various authors and studies written for both genders, not just women. She continues to enjoy live Bible study teachings at her local church.
Christine lives in California in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband of 20 years and her two daughters. The best way to connect with Christine is through your participation in the group discussions of bible study. You can also find Christine at these locations: