Without dispute, women's voices in the local church have incredible significance, as these voices give way to a greater understanding of how women think and experience God and the Christian life. Any dispute generally has to do with the realm where these voices are heard, but for certain both men and women have much to learn about each other and how God is at work through these stories and experiences.
In her recent post, Tracey Bianchi wrote about the significance of women's voices as teachers in the local church.
"…a woman proclaiming God's Word with hands that smell like marinated artichokes can hit the heart of another woman in a way men cannot…women have stories to tell about life and God, just as our male partners on the journey do. The chance to preach from their perspectives is honoring God's call to the community of Christ."
Though I am not committed to Tracey's ultimate conclusions in terms of how this plays out in the pulpit, her position is clearly grounded in an authentic love for the community of believers and for God. And I embrace her core argument that there is tremendous value for men learning more about how women experience the Christian life. In further agreement, we as women teachers can reach women in ways men simply cannot—because of our shared experiences.
To what degree are women in your church equipped, encouraged, and positioned to proclaim God's Word to one another?
Local churches need mature, believing women to mentor one on one—that's a given—but also to teach in corporate settings. And yes, I mean the women in the local church and not the special speakers who, by default, do a bulk of this kind of teaching. It is necessary to add that these teaching gifts must be modeled to women by women in the local church so that recognition of these gifts in future leaders is not overshadowed by the notion of unattainable celebrity status.
But this is where we need to be very clear about the nature of corporate educational opportunities in women's ministry. It's not so much that Christ will be proclaimed from a woman's perspective or point of view, because the Word of God contains objective and unchanging truths as well as timeless stories that ultimately bring us to the foot of the Cross—regardless of gender. We can think of this as a redeemed human point of view, not so much a gender-influenced perspective. Yet there is still something about the notion of a "woman's perspective" that deserves consideration.