Diane Scallon, pastor’s wife of Grace Baptist Church, Laurel, Maryland, spoke on building relationships with God and others, during the Wednesday afternoon module for women. Building on John 15:1–8, Scallon shared the acronym ABIDE: “Abounding Belief in Jesus Influences Deeper Empathy with others.” She wove verses 1–8 throughout her presentation, as she taught that believers need to first focus on their vertical relationship with God and then on their horizontal relationships with others.
“Focusing on our vertical relationship involves spending time with God in prayer and in reading His Word,” she told the women, emphasizing that “spending time with God is like a savings account, not a debit account.” She says that when believers truly understand “God’s redeeming love,” it will “affect our desires, actions and relationships.” Diane named several practical ways the women could build into the lives of others.
Those attending the workshop were seated at tables, with each woman at a table invited to give her testimony and then tell her deepest desires when it comes to friendship. Scallon then challenged the participants to change tables and meet new people. At their new tables, they shared the Bible verses and themes they were currently focusing on during their personal prayer time. This interaction at the tables gave the participants an opportunity to get out of their comfort zones and be vulnerable with each other, says Scallon. It was also a segue to her final points in building relationships with others—what she calls SOCK: “Slow down, be in God’s Word; Observe people around you, Care for others, and Keep in touch.