Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Things I Learn in Preaching Class

Last night in preaching class, I learned that I can get 10 out of 12 on a quiz and live to tell about it. That I can refuse my perfectionistic tendencies and embrace the fact that I am learning. That I can get an imperfect score on a quiz and still become a better and better preacher of His Word, by God's grace.

I am also learning that I have true friends and cheerleaders in the many males who populate the class. We are all in this together, in such a positive way, and since the preaching experience can be so scary and overwhelming and huge (as in, I have to GET THIS for my ministry), we commiserate and grow together. We are stronger because of the community aspect of the class. For which I thank God.

For awhile now, I think I have believed (without admitting it to myself), that men can teach and preach better than women, that they somehow carry more authority in their preaching. They have stronger voices and heartier constitutions, etc., but this is not all of it. This is the way I have been raised to think, of course, and so I, unconsciously, do.

I am starting to see, however, that truly effective preaching is not a function of gender. It is a function of getting the point across, of skillfully applying the cutting truth of God's Word to another's heart, in such a way that preaching becomes a redemptive experience.  Ask Anne Graham Lotz or Beth Moore.

At this point, some of you will be tempted to say that I should cultivate this skill to minister to women. And I understand where you are coming from--I've lived there. This last weekend, I attended a women's conference called Come to the Fire, where woman after woman got up to preach and share testimonies to 1,500 other women, and it taught me something, too.

That a sister can bring a message that will transform hearts and lives, displaying the image of God, and in a truly feminine way, pointing others to His truth and grace. There's little difference between teaching and preaching, anyhow, but these ladies were preaching. How do I know? They were proclaiming instead of just imparting truth.

Before the event was over, there was a healing service, in which ordained elders from different churches (all of them female) prayed for individuals who were confessing sin and asked for God's healing (James 5:13-16). I am naturally skeptical of healing services, but this one was entirely different, and very biblical. I felt God telling me that I need to trust Him, and so I confessed this to an elder, and she prayed for me and anointed me with oil, also praying for my struggle with infertility.

And so we stood, nose to nose, ezer to ezer, both of us with tears on our faces and hope in our hearts. The words this woman prayed to God were so specific and genuine that I almost crumbled under their weight.

And all of this reminded me of the power of God's ezers, women made in His image and set aside for His purposes. I suppose this is a circuitous way of telling you that I will teach and preach to women when given the opportunity to do so. I will also preach the beauty and truth of God's grace to anyone I can, male or female. To do less would be to ignore God's calling and His good gifts.

Acts 2:17-18
“‘In the last days, God says, 'I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.'"

1 comment:

  1. Way to find your "voice" Suzanne! Girl, that trust thing keeps knocking at the door doesn't it! Joining with you in prayer.