Is Learning from Women Essential for Pastoral Competence?

Woman teacher

Like so many others, I’ve listened to Pastor John Piper’s statement that women should not be allowed to teach at seminaries because they would assume a pastoral position of authority above men who are being trained to pastor. Buried within his response is the statement,

The issue, as always, is not the competence of women teachers or intelligence or knowledge or pedagogical skill. It’s never competence!

I believe that competence is an important issue of consideration in the home, church, and seminary leadership. For that wisdom, we need to look to our most competent head of the church, the pastor and high priest, Jesus, who models the seminary teaching office for everyone.

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Author, Carolyn Custis James, reviews “Mentor for Life”

It isn’t every day a former Marine officer and U.S. Naval Academy graduate steps up to mentor women in the church. Natasha Sistrunk Robinson has done exactly that in her excellent book, Mentor for Life: Finding Purpose through Intentional Discipleship.

Mentor for Life Book CoverLest anyone get the wrong idea, this book does not contain anything like the
grueling physical boot-camp ordeal or loudmouth sergeants abusing recruits one braces for in the military. But the purpose and content are every bit as dead serious and substantial as what Marines expect (and the country counts on them getting) from those who mentor and train them.

Mentoring as Mission
Having said that, Natasha’s military background beautifully informs and shapes both her passion for others and the sense of urgency she expresses as she unfolds the mentoring plan she’s developed and tested. Strong parallels exist between those who battle for their country and the training she’s proposing for those entrusted with the good news of Jesus Christ, but who face a formidably relentless enemy.

I love how she draws on her military experiences to argue that strong, intentional mentoring activity is urgently needed within the body of Christ—for both women and men. This is not only for our own good, but also because of the vital mission Jesus calls us to undertake. That alone distinguishes this mentoring plan from a simple personal-betterment or educational mentoring program.

First, like military training, so also true spiritual mentoring is never an end in itself. Both come within a larger pressing context. Soldiers don’t train simply for their own sakes, but because they’ve answered a call to something far bigger and more consequential than themselves. Believers too have answered a call to become part of something vast and monumental. Our smaller diverse stories are part of God’s bigger global story. We are participants in God’s mission for the world. The seriousness of this bigger context means we cannot take our own readiness lightly.

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Leading Female Voices of Missio Alliance

Leading Female Voices of Missio Alliance

I am thrilled to be a part of the Missio Alliance community! Particularly, I’m getting the opportunity to hear and learn from a diverse and thoughtful group of Christian leaders who care deeply about the Bible, Jesus, and his messy church. Today, I am honored to share the female leading voices of Missio Alliance, Carolyn Custis James and Dr. MaryKate Morse.

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