What We Are Learning Training Women to Teach
Training women to teach the Bible to women is something we have been doing through the Charles Simeon Trust since 2005. Our engagement in this work is rooted in a conviction that while all men and women should be trained for ministry (Ephesians 4:11–13), some women need to be trained to teach (Titus 2). We ourselves are constantly learning as we endeavor to train women to handle the Word rightly. Here are a few things we are currently seeing:
1. The opportunity is great.
In the coming year, we will run 14 training Workshops for women. We expect more than 1,000 attendees. This is in addition to our online course for women where 900 have already registered in the last year to equip themselves in teaching the Bible to women. To put it directly, we see a pent-up demand. In fact, the demand far exceeds opportunities. For our women’s Workshops, we now assume every location will sell out every year. That stands in stark contrast to our Workshops for pastors. In fact, most of our Workshops for women are sold out in days, not weeks. This tells us that women really care about getting trained. And even more so, they will do what they can to take advantage of opportunities to get training.
By God’s grace, we have seen other networks that share our convictions offer some training to women, including Women in the Word and, more recently, TGC’s Women’s Training Network.
2. We are behind the curve.
Churches needs a firmer grasp on ministry among women. Giving a vision for women teaching the Bible to women is new for a lot of churches. From what we are observing, many women who participate in our events come from churches where generations of women’s ministry has been limited to social activities. To put it simply, churches that share our theological convictions are late to the game in understanding and implementing this ministry.
Paul’s instruction for women to “teach what is good” to other women so “that the Word of God may not be reviled” seems to require something more substantive than social events (Titus 2:3–5). Very simply, Paul’s vision for church ministry includes women teaching and training women. More churches need to think substantively about this.
Women will often come to our Workshops because a friend brought them, but then leave freshly convinced that their topical studies won’t cut it anymore. Their appetite changes, and they leave convinced they should give themselves to expositional ministry. And yet, far too often, these godly women return to churches where a vision for this type of ministry is nearly nonexistent.
3. Ownership is key.
Women’s ministry should include training by women. This makes sense. It’s Paul’s prescription in Titus 2. The older (or spiritually mature) women take a leading role in training other women. But it also makes practical sense. Without doubting the essential pastoral and teaching roles of the pastors/elders in a church, women should help lead in this kind of ministry.
From the Apostle Paul’s words in Titus 2:3–5, we know that it wasn’t God’s intention for women only to be discipled by the pastor’s teaching in corporate worship. Some of the teaching that was to be done for women needed to be carried out by women. And if this is to occur, women need to be trained to teach, and how beneficial when that includes training in Bible exposition and ministry skills. It’s to the benefit of the women and the church at large.
4. A pipeline is needed.
Pastors should lead the way in developing a ministry of the Word that’s committed to offering training for women. They should prepare their churches and cast a vision for this among women, ensuring that training is done by women, while even being open to creating paid positions that are open to women.
A pastor will need to guide their women’s ministry leaders where to get resources and find training. And they have to get over the awkwardness of supervising women’s ministry leaders that’s inherent in many complementarian contexts. Over the years, we’ve seen pastors guide the women’s ministry through women leaders. In these situations, the churches are healthier because of their investment in training women for ministry.