Our team has been friends with Nicole for a couple years and we are kicking ourselves for not having her on the podcast sooner. Currently, Nicole is the Director of U.S. Ministry at the American Bible Society. She is the author of two books Made to Lead: Empowering Women for Ministry and Leadership and Leaning In, Letting Go: A Lenten Devotional. She earned her Doctorate at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary where she also is an adjunct professor. Nicole is the founder of The Clergy Women of Charlotte and the Director of SoulFire International Ministries. She lives in Baltimore with her husband and 2 daughters.
It’s bittersweet to jump into our final episode of our Visionary Women series to learn from Nicole where she will:
- Share how her passion for Bible studies turned into a full time job!
- Dive deeper into how American Bible Society can be a resource for your city.
- Give us insight into Scripture engagement being key for city transformation.
Who is Dr. Reverend Nicole Martin?
Nicole has loved the Word of God since she was a little girl. As a middle school student she can remember trying to share her faith with her peers. Then in college while she was pursuing three majors, she prioritized inviting women to her weekly Bible study. After she graduated, Nicole pursued a job in consulting because she wanted to pay off student loans, but her heart was yearning to work with God’s Word. She decided to make a change in career when she heard her professor say, “Life is short, and you want to do what you love.” Nicole says, “I laughed to myself and said ‘God what I love is Bible study. I love seeing lights go on when people dig into Your word. I love when people draw closer to You through Your word.'”
Nicole’s love for studying scripture and confession of her passion for the Word led her out of her consulting job and into seminary. During seminary her eyes were opened to God’s heart for cities and she started to grow a passion for city transformation. After she graduated from seminary she went to Gordon-Conwell for her doctorate which led her to her dream job at American Bible Society (ABS) today. Wondering how Nicole used her passions to find her calling? Nicole dives deeper into this journey in the episode. She says, “I get the privilege of living out my calling, this heart that God has given me for the city. That God’s Church might be lifted in such a way that cities can find healing through Gods’ word.”
City transformation and Scripture
It’s not enough for Nicole to be passionate about Bible study and city transformation, she encourages us to be challenged to think more deeply about the two. The story of Moses is a great analogy she uses to think about what we can do in our cities. Nicole says, “Moses was freaking out about leading the people of Israel out of Egypt. Yet, God just asks a simple question, ‘What is in your hand?’
For herself, Nicole realized the only way she could engage in city transformation is a transformation within herself. She reflects on a “pain point” her city was experiencing that led to her life transformation. During this time, she realized the Church of the city was so divided and wouldn’t be able to have a unite response to the pain in her city. Nicole had to ask herself, “What does it look like for me to use what’s in my hand, which is my love of Bible study, to create a movement that just might transform my city?”
This isn’t just a question Nicole asks herself but asks us to think about more. Ask yourself these questions:
- What is it that God has put in your hand that you get deeply excited about?
- What is it in your city that deeply burdens you?
- How does that burden show up in the life of your church? If it doesn’t show up in the life of the Church, could that be your burden to change?
What does the American Bible Society do?
ABS is deeply passionate about every person having access to the power of God and His word. They have many resources for the Bible and you can learn more about their resources here. Their focus in the U.S. has shifted from people having access to the Bible because there are many avenues to reading God’s word. However, ABS knows it is not enough to have access to it, but to get people engaged in it.
We asked Nicole, “What will it take to increase scripture engagement in our context, so that cities might be changed and what does this process look like?” Very honestly, she said, “We haven’t solved it, but we have found pieces that are leading us there.” They have been able to identify key ingredients that help them to discover how to increase scripture engagement. The three components are discovery, engagement, connect and sustain. We hear how each stage is key to learning how scripture engagement can increase our cities being transformed. Listen to the full episode to hear Nicole break down each component.
Get in touch
A great sample resource of what ABS is doing can be found at Arlington.bible – this website is a prototype of how they are working in cities.