This weekend I travel to Grand Rapids Michigan to train 13 women in how to teach the Scriptures effectively. It’s crucial that women become trained to teach because women see and speak the Scriptures different than men. The Church needs HER mind engaging the text and HER FEMALE VOICE communicating it to God’s people.

Here’s why we need for more skilled female preachers:

Carol Gilligan’s book, In a Different Voice, provides a solid foundation for understanding developmental differences in girls and boys. These differences are destined to influence how a person preaches. In her research, Gilligan found that connectedness and relationality were key concepts in a girl’s development (as opposed to boys’ development, in which separation and individuation were cited as key concepts).Because of girls’ desire for connectedness, there is a strong tendency for women to be nurturing. They tend to take care of their relationships. Gilligan argued that women’s preference for connectedness and nurturing tends to color their approach to life itself. For example, when making moral decisions, women take into consideration how a decision affects others, the relationships involved, and how to bring about harmony. On the other hand, men tend to base decisions on rules and abstract principles.

In her book, You Just Don’t Understand, Deborah Tannen illustrated this point by demonstrating differences in the way girls and boys play together. Girls play in small groups where intimacy is key. When conflict arises, girls will cease playing the game in order to maintain harmony in the relationships of the group. However, boys tend to play in large groups that are hierarchically structured. Conflict is more prolonged with boys, “who used more insistence, appeals to rules, and threats of physical violence.”

WIPFSTOCK_TemplateWhat does this have to do with preaching? As Dr. Alice Mathews, author, professor and Dean of Gordon Conwell Seminary suggests these differences influence the way each gender approaches the Scriptures. When a man addresses issues of moral decision-making, he may approach the text through a “lens of logic and law,” whereas a woman may approach the same “issue in terms of relationship—how others will be affected and what can be done to preserve or develop the relationships involved in the dilemma.” I used to think that meant women were less trustworthy in their interpretation. Which isn’t surprising since I learned how to study the Bible from men. Whether they realized it or not they taught us to interpret the Scripture from an independent, analytical, rationality, all attributes attributed to masculinity. Approaching the Scriptures from any kind of attribute attributed to femininity was discouraged. Again, here me I am not saying only men are independent, analytical or rational. Woman can be that too. However our society raises us with ideals of what it means to be female and male. Those attributes which are deemed worthy are usually male, at least when it comes to serious bible study. We value logic and law over approaching the Scriptures from relationship. That’s feminine. I’ve changed my mind over the years. After much study of the Scriptures I comes to see the Bible speaks overwhelmingly about interdependence in relationships, community is one of God’s big emphasis in Scripture. If this is true, and it is, then t makes sense women are postured better to bring to the table what God has to say about relationships. Mathews is right when she contends it would benefit the whole body of Christ if we could learn to approach moral issues from both male and female perspectives. (taken from She Can Teach)

Pray for my mind to be clear and articulate and for theirs to grow in their knowledge of teaching the Scriptures. May we be women who “Preach the word of God. {Who are} prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. {Who} Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.” (2 Timothy 4:2)