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 Women invites 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 Women is an important guide for seminary students preparing for ministry and pastors who want to reach the entire congregation.
Alice Mathews breaks new ground. . . . This book opens the eyes of men and women preachers alike, and it will begin to revolutionize how preachers view listeners in their pews.
—Journal of the Evangelical Homiletics Society
What a book! Anyone who stands in the pulpit to preach God’s truth needs to read this book. I found it both enlightening and convicting. Thank you, Alice.
—Edward G. Dobson, senior pastor, Calvary Church, Grand Rapids, MI
Alice Mathews has not only written a lucid and irenic summary of gender research but has also insightfully explored how this research bears on the task of preaching to all God’s people. I hope that the audience of this book will not be limited to men wanting to address women more effectively, for the volume is relevant to anyone called to a pulpit ministry. It brings home how different life experiences lead hearers to receive different messages from the same sermon, and it helps preachers to consider ways to build up in Christ all those in their care. It is high time Mathews’ words were heeded.
—Marguerite Shuster, Harold John Ockenga Professor of Preaching, Fuller Theological Seminary
Don’t be misled by the title of this outstanding book. It’s not just for preachers or lecturers or teachers. It’s strongly recommended for all readers, women as well as men, who are looking for an irenic work that demythologizes common beliefs concerning ‘the second sex.’ It’s really a sparkling course on how to make human communication more effective.
—Vernon Grounds, former chancellor, Denver Seminary
If Alice is right, some of us need to do some urgent, thoughtful work on the gap that exists between what we think we are communicating and what many women in our congregations are actually hearing.
—Martin Dehaan, founder, Radio Bible Class
Preaching That Speaks to Women is a must read for any preacher serious about impacting ‘all’ of a congregation. Mathews not only does a masterful job of describing the key differences in the ways men and women listen and make application from Scripture but also gives very practical ways to bridge the gaps. Get this book—if you’re serious about reaching and impacting 60 percent of congregants who fill the pews each week.
—Rodney Cooper, Kenneth and Jean Hansen Professor of Discipleship and Leadership, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
From her own deep well of faith, generosity, and experience, Alice Mathews draws up an overflowing bucket of wisdom for preachers. Preaching That Speaks to Women is so good, it should be a required text in all preaching courses.
—Leanne Van Dyk, professor of reformed theology, Western Theological Seminary
Alice P. Mathews is Lois W. Bennett Distinguished Associate Professor of Educational Ministries and Women’s Ministries at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Previously, Alice served as a missionary in Europe for 17 years, taught at Denver Seminary, and was dean of the Seminary of the East (Philadelphia Center). She is widely known as cohost (with Haddon Robinson) of the daily Bible-teaching radio program Discover the Word.