If you take some time to look it up in your Bible, you will probably notice there are multiple scriptures that reference drinking alcohol, including wine. Many of these scriptures discuss wine in positive terms, so long as it is not in excess. “Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do.” (Ecclesiastes 9:7) Despite seemingly positive words about wine, a stigma around drinking alcohol still exists among many Christians. For today’s blog post, we were fortunate enough to speak with a psychotherapist and counselor who has created a women’s small group Bible study where wine is actually one of the key ingredients for its success.
Meet the Author
Tamera Rasmussen is a licensed psychotherapist who owns a small group practice based in the Houston, Texas area and has been practicing for ten years. She is also a Christian woman who has come up with a creative way to use wine for cultivating relationships between women while bringing Jesus to the table. “Having come out of religion, I am aware of the stigma surrounding alcohol, and despite scripture telling us that it is God’s gift, there continues to be a stigma around it,” Rasmussen says.
When asked about her own experience with wine, Rasmussen tells us she is not a big drinker herself and that prior to writing this study, she knew very little about wine. “On a number of occasions, I felt a little bit embarrassed that I knew so little in comparison to the women around me. Most of the gatherings of women I have been invited to over the years have involved wine or spirits,” Rasmussen said. She also stated that the Lord downloaded this book to her, and around that time she had a conversation with some women about how people seem to separate these gatherings (involving wine) from Jesus.
Crafting a Study
Rasmussen says the idea for her small group Bible study, titled Titus Women & Wine, came to her after attending several gatherings of women where wine was involved. “I am a social person and have always loved these gatherings of women, but always found myself longing for relationships that challenged me spiritually and provided opportunities to grow in my faith,” Rasmussen said. She also mentioned that she questioned why Jesus could not have a seat at the table in these gatherings in a more meaningful way.
Rasmussen says Titus Women & Wine had been in the works for several years, but she didn’t feel a call to write the book until after she was searching for community and ended up starting her own small group. She says she invited women she didn’t know very well to come to her home for the study. “I had picked a study for us to do, but the Lord inspired me to write my own. I did the study with the women in my group as I was writing it. I didn’t have plans to publish it but as the weeks went on it was clear that that is what God wanted me to do,” Rasmussen said.
Jesus at the Table
Rasmussen mentioned Jesus having a seat at the table in the Titus Women & Wine group study. If you’re wondering what that means, Rasmussen says having Jesus at the table would look like, “setting the stage with a prayer, asking him to be present as you gather and guide your conversations and behavior in an edifying way. I think it would look like consuming in moderation - savoring the gift and giving thanks for it. It is being consistent across the different aspects of your life. You aren’t being one person and behaving one way in church and being an entirely different version of yourself when in fellowship. It isn’t about control or being sober in the sense that you aren’t having fun or enjoyment; it is remaining sober minded enough that you allow God to remain in control and present even in joyful times.”
One thing that makes Rasmussen’s Titus Women & Wine study unique is that it is a study for women who desire authentic connections and are no longer satisfied with superficial and conditional relationships that do not fulfill them spiritually or emotionally. “Titus Women & Wine seeks to cultivate the kind of relationships that lead to the mentorship and discipleship described in the book of Titus in the Bible,” Rasmussen says.
Titus Women & Wine is geared toward women aged 24-55 who are married or have been married or have children. Each of the 12 sessions addresses a different aspect of living out faith in the modern age. Two of the sessions specifically address marriage and parenting. “Women who are not married and do not have children can glean a lot from these sessions as well, which could help set them up for success if and when those things happen in their lives,” Rasmussen says.
Do you have to be a member of a church to participate in a Titus Women & Wine study? Rasmussen says no. She says her study is meant to bridge the gap between the churched and the unchurched. “Inviting a curious unbeliever to a Women & Wine group may be easier than an invitation to a Bible study. Furthermore, women who are not big on church or who have not attended a group before may be fearful of judgment because there is such a blatant stigma surrounding alcohol, even though many Christians are partaking in it in secret,” Rasmussen says.
“The study is rich with scripture which will allow a new believer to connect directly with the Word rather than an interpretation of it. This introduction to scripture could pave the way for new believers to feel less intimidated by the Bible and more likely to continue gleaning from it as they begin their faith journey,” Rasmussen adds.
“Titus Women & Wine is an intimate study written to unite women and spark conversations that illicit honesty and vulnerability,” Rasmussen says. For this reason, she recommends holding the study in a home or a location that lends itself to privacy. “It is difficult to have serious or emotional conversations when you are afraid someone might overhear them.” She also recommends that women take this opportunity to have a night away from their children. "I strongly encourage women to consider having the children of the group be cared for at a separate location or at the very least, cared for by a group sitter so that they can fully engage in the study,” Rasmussen added.
The Titus Women & Wine study can be completed in 3,6,9, or12 months depending on the frequency of gatherings. At the end of the study, there is an option for the women in the group to plan a getaway. The getaway is an opportunity for the women to reflect on their experience in the study, how it has impacted their lives, and take a breather from everyday life. Rasmussen says that part of the experience is “planning a service project, identifying women they could invite to a new group, a woman they can mentor or be mentored by, and share in one last celebration with Titus Women & Wine Sangria or their favorite wines and pairings from the study.” If you are a group leader and are not sure how to plan a getaway, don’t worry. “There is a getaway guide for the leader to help with planning as well as a curriculum to use during the retreat. It is designed to be a day and a half (for example, a Friday night through Saturday afternoon),” Rasmussen says.
Rasmussen adds, “Getting away builds intimacy and often solidifies bonds. I hope that these women will remain connected but willing to branch out and start groups of their own. I talk about the need to go beyond clique mentality and bring more women into the fold. One way to do that is for the women of a group to branch off and lead/create a new group.”
If you would like to learn more about Titus Women & Wine or Tamera Rasmussen and her work, you can visit her Instagram profile: @tamera_rasmussen_speaks or visit her linktree: linktr.ee/tamerarasmussen.