Thinking Outside the “Women Box”
by Melissa Cain Travis
It surprises many people to hear that my ministry work rarely involves exclusively female audiences. I think there’s a pervasive (and mistaken) assumption that women working in any theology-related field are (naturally!) active in women’s ministry. The truth is, the vast majority of the teaching and training I’ve done has been for mixed audiences of men and women, from young adults to post-retirement seniors. (After all, apologetics and worldview education are not gender-specific disciplines.) This hasn’t been an intentional thing on my part; it’s simply a direct reflection of the nature of ministry invitations I’ve received. I confess that this has led me to what I have come to recognize as an unfair conclusion: that women’s ministry leaders haven’t realized the urgent need for training women in the basics of apologetics as part of focused Christian discipleship, and that women who often participate in the women’s activities at their church aren’t particularly interested in such things, anyway. I also admit that I have experienced a measure of cynicism and pessimism on this account, but I’m glad to be able to say that God has done some heart surgery on me over the course of this year, and my attitude and outlook is being transformed.
A few weeks ago, I conducted a 2-day apologetics training event for a large group of women leaders at a Bible church in southern California. When the invitation to teach had first come months before, I was quite surprised by the description of the event, and in the weeks leading up to it I wondered how well-received the material would be. It turned out to be one of the most deeply satisfying ministry experiences I’ve ever had…
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