Dr. Jackie Roese has been teaching women for a long time. And doing it well. Really well. The woman can preach. She’s even trained lots of others to do the same.
And she has a key concern: those women who are most committed to the biblical text are the least likely to receive formal training in homiletics. The few among us who actually do get formal training end up reading books by men that speak to a male audience and include all-male examples. He, he, he. Not funny. So She Can Teach (Wipf & Stock, 2013) is by a woman for women, and it is designed to capitalize on women’s unique perspectives.
Roese acknowledges that the minute we talk about training women to teach/preach, people bring up the debate about whether women can preach to men. But that topic, while important, she says, is for someone else to address. She Can Teach focuses entirely on training women to preach to women.
The work begins with an exploration of historical influences that have led to the current state of affairs in women’s Bible teaching. Roese challenges women with the gift of teaching that we are not only called but expected to teach God’s word. And she wants readers to use our female voices and perspectives to full advantage. In doing so, she does not take sides on the gender debate about whether male/female differences are innate or learned, though she does lean toward Carol Gilligan’s theory (1982) as well as Deborah Tannen’s (1990).
The book is not about how to study the Bible as part of the preparation process. Other works tell how to do observation, interpretation, and application. Surprisingly, it also does not include the exegetical/ theological/ homiletical process—that is, how to explore the text’s original audience, determine its timeless word, and craft a message for today’s audience. But she does cover how to analyze the audience, come up with the central proposition, draft an outline, provide supporting material, find an interesting hook, and provide a strong conclusion. She also gives excellent suggestions for creative brainstorming in community.
I followed her advice last week, and I think it improved what I taught. And I also came away with some good ideas for where to go next thanks to an appendix of examples from her own group’s idea-swap. A few of the suggestions could have benefited from a parenthetical explanation, but mostly they were quite helpful.
Roese has an easy-to-follow writing style that comes through as humble and personable. And she draws on a broad range of quotes and examples. Her personal stories and insights add to the quality of the resource. Brava!
A word about the author: Today Jackie is the president of the Marcella Project, a ministry committed to empowering (my word, not hers) women through the teaching of God’s word. She has a MA/CE from DTS and a DMin in Preaching from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. Prior to founding the Marcella Project, she was the Teaching Pastor to Women at a Dallas megachurch.