HOW IT ALL BEGAN
Women in the Word was started in 1999 in a home setting for the purpose to share the Gospel message with six women. Sharon Longbottom who led this informal group was a Christian communicator and Bible teacher with a contagious sense of humor and love for Jesus. Now over 20 years later, hundreds of women have been blessed by her example to serve the Lord by “training up” women to study the Word, to use the power of prayer daily, and to love Jesus and share that love with others. Sharon’s one passion was that women who attended this group would experience the love of Jesus and that is still our heart’s desire today.
It was what Sharon was that taught us. It was her availability to God when He sent her to our door. It was the surrender of her time, an offering to Him for our sake. It was her readiness to get involved, to lay down her life for many seeking study. Above all, she herself, a simple southern woman, was the message.
In Loving Memory of Sharon Longbottom
A Life Well Lived
October 31, 1939 – June 17, 2006
Women in the Word seeks to equip women throughout their personal pilgrimages by studying, interpreting, and applying the Word of God; by loving God and each other, and by sharing their stories.
Women in the Word seeks to produce Godly, Christ-centered women who through the study of God's Word seek to glorify Him and fulfill His calling for their lives by way of His grace and in humble dependence on His power.
As we have watched the Lord shape the ministry of this Bible study over the last few years, we stand firm in the belief that our testimony can be summed up in two simple yet profound words... "BUT GOD..."
WE BELIEVE ...
that God is the sovereign Lord of the universe and the Creator of all life, and that all created things exist for His pleasure and purpose to bring Him glory. (1Cor 8:6, Col 1:16, Rev 4:11)
that we each have a responsibility to share the Gospel and live sacrificially being transformed by the renewing of our minds though His Word and the grace given to us. (Matt 28:19-20, Romans 12:1-2)
that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who became flesh and made his dwelling among us. Jesus lived a sinless life and was the perfect sacrifice for our sins. He bore the punishment we deserved so we can be pure, blameless and righteous before God. He overcame death so that we can live. Jesus Christ is the only way to God the Father. All who believe in Him as their personal Lord and Savior shall not die but have eternal life.
(John 1:12-14, 3:16-17, 14:6, 1Peter 2:22, Romans 3:22-26)
that Jesus reigns in Heaven preparing a place for us and he will return for us as a bridegroom claims his bride. For this reason, we are on guard and alert to purpose to live “this day” in preparation for “that day.”
(John 14:2-3, Heb 10:23-25, 37-39, 2Peter 3:11-14)
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
Neither are your ways my ways.
As the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are my ways higher than your ways
And my thoughts than your thoughts.
Joanne was born and raised in Pennsylvania, moving to Florida in 1988. John, her high school sweetheart and husband of 33 years and two French bulldogs call Dunedin their home. They have two adult children, Matthew (29) and Madison (23) who both live and work in Tampa. God has proven faithful again and again as He sustains, strengthens, and leads them as a family. Although Joanne grew up attending church, she received God’s gracious gift of salvation in 1994 and has been on fire for the Lord ever since!
Joanne worked as a cardiac nurse until 1999, when the Lord called her to be a stay-at-home mom. In addition to leading and teaching the Women in the Word Ministry, Joanne teaches middle school Bible at NorthBay Christian Academy and disciples middle and high school aged girls on Sunday mornings at Live Oaks Bible Church.
In 2000, Joanne began attending Women in the Word Bible Study led by Sharon Longbottom. In 2004, Sharon passed the mantle of teaching the Bible Study to Joanne. Since that time, Joanne has taught over 40 studies, led 19 retreats and recorded over 500 video teachings. She has remained faithfully obedient to God’s call on her life as she shares God’s Word not as a trained theologian, but as a woman seeking Christ and diligently working to fulfill His Will as she yields moment by moment to His Spirit. Joanne has a way of sharing her life, touching the lives of women and passionately sharing the Word and love of Christ. Her desire is for women to intimately know the love of Christ, love God, love His Word, and be able to apply His Truth in their daily lives and be transformed.