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The Genderless Gifts

GFL: What do women need to know about preaching or communicating gifts?

Jill Briscoe: I think they need to know everything men need to know. And I think that's something that needs to be said because there seems to be a growing awareness that women need equipping for the speaking. They need equipping for the speaking skills to use in church and mission, but there are a lot of programs beginning to be crafted for them that don't start with the communication basics that both men and women need.

And I think what we need to realize is that speaking, teaching, preaching are not gendered gifts. I don't believe gifts are gendered. Therefore, women need all the training you get in a seminary or other teaching institute.

GFL: How do you know if you or someone else has the gift?

Jill Briscoe: I'm looking for the technical ability to explain yourself. Good communication is explaining yourself well in words. And always it's a leadership thing.

For example, in my travels as a speaker, when I get off a plane and meet the conference host, I want this person to explain to me what I'm supposed to be doing. I ask these questions: Who is my audience? Who will be in front of me this afternoon? Whom will I be talking to? Now, if she can explain that quickly and succinctly to me, then she's gifted in communication. If I'm still trying to figure it out at the end of the conference, then she may be in leadership but she doesn't have a word gift. So with this I'm trying to say, Can this person explain what this is about?

Next, I want to know if she can explain her heart. So the second question I ask is, What is your heart for the meeting? Not your mind for it; not what you want to accomplish on paper. They've done this course. They've passed the test. But, What do you want to see happen in the leaders that have come? What's your vision for this?

Then, I listen very carefully, and sometimes I'm just blown away. I think, Oh my word! This woman is so gifted. So she might not be trained, but she gets me excited. And that's what I look for. Am I now excited? Do I feel this is my vision for the entirety of the conference? Can she sell it to me? Can she get it over to me? If so, that woman has a gift.

This can be an illiterate woman trying to fumble through an interpreter, trying to tell me what her heart is. But if she's gifted, if God has gifted her, this is wonderful. And the Spirit can use those words to inspire others to come alongside her and help her in her work.


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