Teach Women to Teach What is Good, Kathie Wendland
Church leaders strive to “prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up” (Ephesians 4:12). A Lutheran leader understands that begins with leading “God’s people” into a deeper understanding of Scripture. But who should do that?
Historically, in many WELS congregations, almost all Bible study was taught by the pastor. Not only was he called by God to be the spiritual leader, but he also was the individual with the most spiritual training. However, St. Paul encourages the young pastor Titus to realize that not all teaching need to be his direct responsibility. Instead, Titus can teach others to teach God’s Word. “Teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good” (Titus 2:3). Paul goes on to explain how beneficial it is for the church when women who are spiritually mature teach and train other women to apply God’s Word to their vocations.
Congregations are looking at ways to communicate God’s Word in terms that are understood clearly in a changing culture. Small group Bible studies, run under the supervision of the pastor, have proven to be extremely beneficial in this effort. They allow many more Bible studies to be offered in a given week. Being smaller, they allow for more conversation and application. And perhaps most importantly, they can be tailored to the needs and learning styles of a group. One of those groups: women.
Why did St. Paul encourage Titus to have women teaching other women? Because Paul understood that God created man differently than he created woman. While men and women share equally in our gracious God’s blessings and purpose in life—a purpose which has at its heart a desire to declare the glories of him and his Son Jesus Christ—the created differences in men and women are manifold. We are wise to honor and make the most of those differences. This presentation will identify some of the differences in the way men and women prefer to deal with information… differences in the way they learn… and make applications for Bible study.
Blending various teaching styles that Jesus modeled, together with being flexible depending on the group dynamic, is the key to effective adult teaching. In general women prefer a different teaching style than men. Women excel in teaching other women because teacher and participant thrive in the same learning atmosphere.
Additionally, this breakout will emphasize the importance of the pastor/woman teacher relationship. As he equips her to teach other women, what exactly is his role? How are topics chosen? How do you handle questions that may arise? How do women led Bible studies coordinate with other studies offered by the congregation? We will discuss all these practical issues.
For whom is this breakout intended? It is intended for women who want to grow in their knowledge of God’s Word and could see themselves possibly serving their congregation in this capacity. And it is intended for pastors and male leaders who see Paul’s wisdom in equipping women to teach, train, and encourage other women.
Kathie Wendland, RN, BSN has been leading women’s Bible studies since 1994 under the headship of St Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church council in Mishicot, Wis. She and her husband, Pastor, missionary, Seminary professor Ernst H. Wendland returned to Kathie’s home congregation after Prof Wendland retired from teaching at Lusaka Lutheran Seminary, Lusaka, Zambia. He was called home to heaven in 2009. For Kathie, after practicing her nursing profession in the US Navy, with the Central Africa Medical Mission, in urban hospitals in Milwaukee, and in the Health Unit of the Canadian High Commission in addition to other positions, returning to the congregation that nurtured her from baptism through Sunday School and Bible classes until high school graduation was a joy.
A significant amount of good nursing includes teaching, teaching adults, teaching cross culturally, teaching women, teaching men, teaching others to teach, all in ways that are relevant to the learner who is the one who needs to understand and apply what is taught thereafter on a daily basis. The stereotypical teacher talking and “student” taking notes and repeating what the teacher says in a “one size fits all” approach is ineffective in many adult, cross cultural, or women groups. Kathie has drawn on her nursing teaching experiences as she developed a teaching style which has been consistently identified by the women able to attend the weekly St Peter’s women’s Bible studies as a blessing.