If women’s ministry is undergoing a renaissance—and many suggest that it is—then leaders like Jen Wilkin might just be the church’s latter-day Da Vincis. A speaker, writer, and Bible teacher based in Flower Mound, Texas, Jen is an active advocate for women’s place in the church, urging congregations to recognize and honor their women’s giftings even as she encourages women themselves to strive toward greater, more rigorous biblical literacy.

While most of her ministry takes place in her local church, Jen has also shared her insights with wider audiences through her writing. Her books include Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds and None Like Him: 10 Ways God Is Different from Us (and Why That’s a Good Thing, and her articles have been featured recently in Christianity Today, The Gospel Coalition, Desiring God, and other publications.

On this week’s episode of The Calling, CT Associate Editor Kate Shellnutt joins Jen in a Flower Mound coffee shop for a conversation about her work as a teacher, her love for the church, and her hopes for women’s ministry in the years ahead.

On learning to be an empathetic teacher: “When I started, I loved the Bible—but I didn’t really love women. The Lord placed me in a Sunday school class of women; they were all older than me, they had all had very difficult lives—and it became rapidly apparent to me that I could not just stand up each week and make statements about the sovereignty of God that were theologically correct but empathetically void. You’ve got a women sitting there who had a child who was an accidental drowning victim—you don’t just throw out phrases about the sovereignty of God and quote Scriptures to her. She needs to know that you know her.”

On balancing motherhood with calling: “Part of the mother that I am to my children is rooted in the gifts that the Lord has given me to serve the church. My children have a mother who has a teaching gift. For me to say ‘I’m not going to do this because I’m being the mom’ would be for me to deny a part of the person that I am.”

On why she loves the local church: “I don’t know why people would just want to subsist on podcasts. Standing in a room where the lights are up high enough that I can see the people around me, and the sound is down low enough that I can hear them singing next to me, and where we’re all coming together and saying, ‘We share this’—that matters a lot. Especially in a culture that so values individualism, it’s good for us to remember that our faith does not exist in isolation.”

On the future of women’s ministry: “Women’s ministry is at a pivotal moment. I think that it will either take the old model and ‘Pinterest it up’ so that it looks new—or it will begin to see itself as an arm of the church that is uniquely positioned to equip women for the work of discipleship.”

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The Calling is produced by Richard Clark and Jonathan Clauson.

Theme music by Lee Rosevere, used under Creative Commons 4.0.