Tuscaloosa, ALABAMA – After teaching Experiencing God more than 40 times, one might assume Connie Estes of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, has squeezed every bit of biblical truth out of the material. But Estes said she learns something new each time she dives into the study.
“It’s so life-changing and up to date,” Estes said. “It’s an old study, but God reveals Himself in a new way every time.”
Estes grew up attending church with her mother, but she said she didn’t truly understand salvation until high school. When her first marriage ended, she drew even closer to the Lord.
“After my husband left me and my children, I buried myself in the church,” Estes said.
It was at a Bible study group for people who had experienced divorce that Estes met her second husband, John.
“The very first thing we did as a married couple was Experiencing God,” Estes said. “That was in 1999, and it dramatically altered our life.”
Through that Bible study, Estes said God led her to reflect on her priorities, and she was troubled by what she discovered.
“I came to the realization that there was so much in my life that I loved more than I loved God,” Estes said. “I put my children before Him; I put my husband before Him; I even put church activities before Him. That was the true turning point in my life, and it affected everything I did and every decision I made.”
After their church went through Your Church Experiencing God Together, Estes said she and John felt compelled to lead others through the material so they could have their lives changed too. The couple wasn’t sure where to start, but they told God they were willing to be obedient to whatever He asked them to do.
They didn’t wait long for God’s answer. That afternoon at lunch, without knowing what they had already determined, the leader of the Your Church Experiencing God Together study asked them point blank if they wanted to become involved in the ministry.”
“Well, I didn’t have to think about that!” Estes recalled. “I already knew the answer was ‘yes.’”
Since then, Estes has taught Experiencing God from California to Vermont and even as far as Indonesia.
On many occasions, her involvement didn’t make sense, she said. But she told God “yes,” and she had an abiding faith that He would provide for her needs if she remained obedient.
“God always takes care of the financial part of it,” Estes said. “I can’t say that strongly enough, because there have been times when we think we better not go, because we just don’t see how it will work. But it is always taken care of. An unexpected refund check will come. A surprise gift will show up. That’s the hard part: knowing that the Lord will take care of whatever is going on.”
For Estes, the most rewarding aspect of teaching Experiencing God, and the reason she returns to the study over and over again, is seeing that moment when the biblical truths finally click for people, and their lives are forever changed.
“I see life change every time I teach Experiencing God,” Estes said. “People tell Henry Blackaby all the time how Experiencing God has changed their life, and I’ve actually witnessed it. I’m a changed life product, and I’ve seen it go out all over the country and overseas. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. I get emotional every time I talk about it. I’ve participated in 43 Experiencing God Weekends, and I just wish it was more! There’s so much more I’d love to do.”