Growing up, the idea of a female preaching on a Sunday morning was unheard of. I recognize that it’s still somewhat controversial in some churches, but let me be clear about one thing…

I didn’t want, ask for, or look for the opportunity.

It looked for me.

I was 57 years old when my church approached me. In my heart, I thought…

I don’t know if I can do this.

Today, 10 years later, here are some things I’ve learned about being a female communicator on a Sunday morning. Some I’ve learned through success. Others, I’ve learned through failure.

Whether you’re a female communicator, or you’re looking to train one for your teaching team, I hope this is helpful for you moving forward.

 

1. If God gives you a platform, you don’t have to prove that you deserve to be there.

Because I am a woman, when I first began speaking, I always included quotes by recognized theologians in order to prove I was a student of the Word and of theology. But in I Corinthians 2:1,4- 5, Paul writes, “When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom but on God’s power.” Paul didn’t put confidence in his words to persuade or convince—or prove his worth or his message. He looked to the Holy Spirit to empower and anoint what he said. Jesus said that if He is lifted up, He will draw all men to Himself. When you speak, just give the truth and lift up the Lord and His Word, and He will draw men to Himself.

 

2. Remember who your audience is.

Speak to the men, and the women will listen. We have a brilliant young woman who speaks in our church twice a year. If she mentions the challenges she faces as a young mother, she does it in the context of a universal need (perseverance, faith, margin, etc). There is a powerful spirit about her when she speaks. I’ve tried to define it. It’s humility, certainly, but it’s also that she doesn’t act insecure or uncertain. She seems confident in the fact that this is an opportunity from God, so she wants to honor Him. She is well-prepared and presents her points with clarity and a respect for the intelligence of her audience.

Ask God what the audience needs. How do you want them to think differently as a result of your talk?

 

3. Anointing/gifting has no gender, expiration date, resume, or background check.

Paul gave high praise and recognition to women in his books of the Bible, along with the men. Years ago, the first time I got up to speak, a person got up and walked out, making it clear the reason they were doing so. It’s not your job to convince people you’re qualified; it’s your job to be obedient to God. Now that I’m older, there can be insecurity about that. I heard Jill Briscoe (in her late 60s) say not long ago that she didn’t know if the young adults at the conference where she was speaking would be receptive to her. God said to her, “Gifting does not have an expiration date.” If God gives you a platform and gives you His message, speak boldly.

Isaiah 51:16 is a verse I will read before I speak. “I have put my words in your mouth and covered you with the shadow of my hand.”

 

4. God’s word is powerful and supernatural; its truths are timeless and unwavering.

You never have to apologize for truth. I did a thorough study of the passages in Scripture that people use when expressing caution about women speaking. The book “Why Not Women” by Loren Cunningham and David J. Hamilton convinced me that God has not limited the ministry of women. Although I grew up in a conservative Bible church background, I could not argue with the writers’ knowledge of the original context and the true implications of the passages that are usually propounded. Like every other issue that people differ on, you must choose, before the Lord, where you will stand.

 

5. People’s responses don’t validate or invalidate you.

People will criticize and people will praise. That’s what people do. When they criticize a woman speaker, she may see her gender as a reason. The truth is, for every speaker, it comes with the territory. Every person must seek God’s approval before all others. Proverbs 29:25 says, “Fear of man will prove to be a snare.” Don’t get caught in the web of having certain people whose approval you are hoping for. Paul wrote in Galatians 1:10, “If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

Can we learn from constructive criticism? Certainly. But to let it hit your heart is to lose sight of the One whom you are serving. When I read that God told Ezekiel (in chapters 2 and 3) ahead of time that the people he was called to speak to would not listen to him, it helped me know that I can’t decide whether or not I heard from God based on people’s reaction. And I can’t derive my value or identity from what people thought of what I said or how I looked. God is my judge. He is the One I serve.

God has gifted you, and your gift “will make room for you.” “The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and stubborn. Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says.’ And whether they listen or fail to listen…they will know that a prophet has been among them.” Ezekiel 2:4-5

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This blog was written by our friend, Rachel Crawshaw. She’s the primary communicator at North Georgia Church in Dawsonville, Georgia

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