Jenifer Jernigan is a wife and mom of 3 whose past would spill over into her present if it weren’t for the healing power of God’s Word. As founder of Diving Deeper Ministries, her passion is to equip people of all ages to d.i.v.e. deeper into God’s Word, teaching them to study Scriptures for themselves. She is co-owner and regular writer for Internet Café Devotions and is part of a team of writers creating curriculum for Journey Church in Raleigh, NC. Her first book, Dive Deeper: Finding Deep Faith Beyond Shallow Religion (Thomas Nelson, March 2014) is available now anywhere books are sold.
1. What would you say is the main message of Dive Deeper: Finding Deep Faith Beyond Shallow Religion?
The main message of Dive Deeper is two-fold:
1) The equipping of the reader with practical tools to study Scripture for themselves after they finish Dive Deeper. And,
2) As the reader dives deeper into the book of Ephesians they will come to know deep within their heart that IN Christ is their place of healing, abundant living, and worth. Studying through the words the apostle Paul penned, they’ll see who they truly are before Jesus, a reality we must all face in order to understand the magnitude of God’s love and grace for us. They’ll come to learn that a life of religion will fan the flame to “do” in the Church solely based on a selfish, what-can-I-get-out-of-this mentality, when ultimately what God has called them to is a specific work, created just for them, within His Body in order continue furthering the Gospel message to those who need to move beyond the shallowness of religion into deeper faith in God and abundant relationship with Him.
2. Why do you feel like the Lord compelled you to share this message and write this book?
Because our churches are full of people who are Biblically ignorant. They know Jesus stories and the ins and outs of religious tradition. They do a ton for Jesus but know Him little. Many of them want more yet don’t know where to start.
Over the years there’s been a reoccurring theme in conversations I’ve had with both men and women, young and old. It goes something like this: How do I study the Bible? I don’t know where to start or what to do. Studying the Bible seems really hard and I’m not a preacher and don’t plan on becoming one so what’s the point? I’m serving and doing all this stuff in my church but I feel so lost and empty. I go to a Bible study every week and I read and answer a bunch of questions but I really want something more. Is this all there is?
Why does Biblical ignorance continue to plague the church despite the good intentions of leadership to make disciples and help people follow Jesus?
I believe the answer lies in our understanding of what a disciple truly is.
A disciple is a learner, a scholar, one who receives instruction from another. Sadly the church today tends to define a disciple as one who “does” instead of one who “learns.” We’ve been asked join this cause, find a small group, seek out an accountability partner, serve in the children’s ministry, give to the poor, greet new faces on Sunday mornings, serve on the Coffee Team, go on mission trips, give above and beyond our tithes, step out of our “comfort zones”—but rarely are we challenged to pursue the most elementary (and dare I say it…foundational) element of discipleship—wholehearted, consistent, deep, below-the-surface study of the Word. Yes, a disciple does, but if we’re not motivated to do based upon what’s been revealed to us through the Word then we’re merely serving out of obligation not overflow, out of duty not relationship.
Diving deeper into God’s story, connecting to His heart through the pages of His Word is what moves us past religious obligatory service into a lifestyle fueled by genuine relationship with Jesus. Diving deeper into God’s story is the only thing that will teach us who He is and satisfy the cravings of our heart. Diving deeper into God’s story is the only thing that will move individuals from being Biblically ignorant to Biblically literate.
3. Who are you hoping to reach with this message of diving deeper? Why?
My heart and prayer for Dive Deeper: Finding Deep Faith Beyond Shallow Religion is that the Lord would use it to equip all people–the young and old, the new believer and the seasoned one, the seeker, the satisfied, the numb, the stay-at-home mom and the woman in corporate America, the college girl trying to navigate her way through term papers and final exams and the middle school student dealing with the mean girls in her school, EVERY woman no matter her socioeconomic, marital, or parental status—to d.i.v.e. deeper into the living and active Word of God and live in His abundant freedom, fueling their lives and equipping them to embrace and live out their purpose.
Where to find Jenifer:
Ministry Website: http://jeniferjernigan.com