In most twenty-first century congregations, women outnumber men. Unfortunately, masculine anecdotes still dominate many sermons and many church leaders don't understand the differences in the ways women and men listen, learn, and perceive ideas of leadership and power. The result is that many women feel detached from the messages conveyed from the pulpit.
How can a pastor effectively minister to both men and women?Preaching That Speaks to Womeninvites preachers to consider how gender affects the way sermons are understood and calls them to preaching that relates to the entire congregation.
Drawing on her many years of speaking to women, men, and preachers, Alice Mathews explores both the myths and the realities of women as listeners. She considers the ways women think about themselves, make ethical decisions, handle stress, learn, and view leadership and power and applies the results to the task of preaching. Mathews urges preachers to be mindful of language and advocates the use of anecdotes that do not ignore women or merely typecast women in narrowly defined roles.
Preaching That Speaks to Womenis an important guide for seminary students preparing for ministry and pastors who want to reach the entire congregation.
"Those of us who have worked closely with Haddon Robinson over the years have often heard him describe the difference between amateur and professional or skilled speakers in this way: An amateur speaker usually leads off with the question 'What should I talk about?' The skilled speaker starts with the question 'Who is my audience?' Before you can decide on a topic, you need to know whether you are being asked to talk to a group of teens, a group of business people, or a group of senior citizens. In such groups, the differences in interests, attitudes, and even vocabularies are somewhat self-evident.
Less self-evident are the possible differences in interests, attitudes, and even vocabularies between a group of men, a group of women, and a mixed audience. Consequently, the tendency in preaching is to think that where gender is concerned, one size fits all. Unfortunately, failure to recognize powerful social differences between women and men can result in failure to communicate truth at a level that reaches people's lives."
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