The following was originally posted by Angie Brown at Discerning Daughters (November 10, 2016).
Courtney Reissig is a wife, mother, and writer. She has written for numerous Christian publications including the Gospel Coalition, Christianity Today, and the Her.meneutics blog, and is also an assistant editor for the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. Courtney is the author of The Accidental Feminist: Restoring Our Delight in God’s Good Design and Glory in the Ordinary: Why Your Work in the Home Matters to God. She also writes regularly at “In View of God’s Mercy”.
1) In your experience and study, how have women in the church been impacted by feminist thinking?
Courtney: I think the two primary ways women have been influenced by feminist thinking is 1) thinking that they define themselves and 2) thinking that they can have it all. Both of these ideas run contrary to God’s design for us as humans, which is that he defines us as the creator (our identity is found in him) and that only he can “have it all.” We have bought the lie that we are the captain of our own fate, which is not just restricted to feminist thinking, but very much a part of it.
2) Why do you think gender-specific discipleship is an essential aspect of spiritual growth?
Courtney: First, I think gender-specific discipleship is important because it’s biblical (Titus 2:3-5). God has given us commands for how a church is to function and one of those practical ministries he gives us is discipleship along gender lines. I also think it’s important because he has made us relational beings. We need relationships and community with other believers in order to grow and flourish. Within these structures we see godly older men and godly older women training and teaching the next generation from a unique perspective as male and female. This is important at the practical level (helping a mom think through her season of life) but also at the theological level (helping a mom see God’s good purposes in her life). We are drawn to people who are like us, which is good and bad, and in gender specific discipleship we see that we are not the first or the last to endure whatever it is that God has called us to.
3) What would be some of the benefits of having pastors/elders intentionally investing in and equipping older women to disciple younger women? (Titus 2:1, 3-5)
Courtney: I read somewhere that pastors should care about this ministry because women are part of the flock they are called to shepherd. I liked that explanation. If a pastor cares about the souls of his people, then caring about ministry among women is one of those ministries he should care about. The church suffers if the women’s ministry is not equipped. When women are encouraged to study the Bible, love one another, and live out their faith together the entire church benefits. These are women who are working in the community, raising children in the church, loving husbands who are also members, and serving alongside other members. They are vital, so a pastor is served by investing in this ministry. He is also served because he learns the perspective of women as he is invested. This is helpful to his preaching. He is preaching to men and women, so knowing how the women are growing together helps him apply the scriptures better to their lives. The entire church is served when older women invest in younger women, so a pastor has a primary responsibility to invest in this ministry. Women are encouraged, which changes how they serve. Women feel useful, which changes how they feel towards the local church. Pastoral counseling is not the sole burden of the pastor when older women serve younger women in this way.