Nearly 900 women have registered to attend The Gospel Coalition national conference in Chicago in April, and that makes me really happy.
I’m happy because for a while it seemed to me that there wasn’t a place for me at the gospel-centered conferences that interested me as a woman who wants to grow in my ability to “rightly handle the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15). I looked at pictures from various equipping conferences and couldn’t find female faces. And I don’t generally like showing up at parties I haven’t been invited to (although there was that one time I went to a Christmas party at the wrong house that was down the street from the party I was actually invited to and ended up staying a while).
I’m happy that I will get to sit under so many sound teachers and observe the tools they use, the tack they take, and the pitfalls they avoid in effectively presenting Christ from the Old Testament.
I’m happy because I’m glad so many women are embracing a conference that is primarily about equipping preachers to preach and teachers to teach the Bible as one story of God’s plan of redemption through Christ. Because while the Bible may be taught this way from a church’s pulpit on Sunday, this approach does not always make its way into the women’s Bible studies offered Monday through Friday.
I’m happy because I’m hopeful this large number reflects a growing desire among women’s ministry leaders to move away from primarily offering topical studies that pick and choose verses from the Bible to make a point and toward Bible book studies that deepen our ability to grasp the Bible’s storyline and major themes. This is what equips us to make more sound application as we discuss passages in small groups and study it on our own.
I’m happy because I’m sure that all of the pastors who are coming forwarded registration information about the conference to the budding women Bible teachers in their churches as a way of encouraging their growth in Bible teaching skills and pointing them toward sound resources for use in women’s ministry. (You did, right?)
I’m happy because so many of my friends will be there—including nearly 900 I just haven’t met yet. (Is it possible to have too many women friends who want to think through the scriptures and talk about the scriptures and live out the scriptures?)
If you are not yet one of these 900 women, what can I say? I’m sad you can’t be there and I hope your plans might change. But if you are one of those 900 women, I look forward to seeing you at The Gospel Coalition national conference. And when you see me there, just smile and say, “I’m happy too.”
Nancy Guthrie teaches the Bible at her home church, Cornerstone Presbyterian Church in Franklin, Tennessee, as well as at conferences around the country and internationally, and through books and DVDs in the Seeing Jesus in the Old Testament series. She offers companionship and biblical insight to the grieving through Respite Retreats that she and her husband, David, host for couples who have faced the death of child, through the GriefShare video series, and through books such as Holding on to Hope and Hearing Jesus Speak into Your Sorrow.