Wednesday, June 27, 2012

my take-away from TGCW12

I had the privilege of spending last weekend in Orlando at The Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference with over 3500 women. It was a marathon of speakers and workshops, punctuated by coffee breaks and quick calls home to check in with loved ones. I knew why I had come: last summer I sat transfixed at my computer as Kathleen Nielson spoke about her hope for the conference, and about the need for sound teaching by women to women. I heard her saying exactly what I had been saying for ten years, and I sat there and sobbed. Then I blew my nose and started saving my pennies. As a retreat speaker, I don’t look for extra opportunities to spend a weekend away from my family with an accumulation of women, but there was no way I was missing this.

Were the speakers edifying? Absolutely. Were the seminars informative? Yes. But the image that stays with me from last weekend is this: young women, hordes of them, some still in their work clothes, some with strollers, some eight months pregnant, some with that look a girl gets when she knows her family is probably eating Cheerios and Skittles for dinner and she.just.doesn’ for the next forty-eight hours. Some of them from a thousand miles away. All of them out-of-their-minds excited to be taught, and taught well.

Do you know why I cried at my computer last summer? I cried because I want to end the crisis of biblical illiteracy in the church. I cried because I am determined to rescue a generation of young women from a faith grounded only in the shifting sands of emotionalism. I cried out of sheer relief that I wasn’t alone in my hope that things can change.

For too long women of belief have been the willing recipients of gender-specific teaching that patronizes their intellect and panders to their emotions. For too long churches have neglected to raise the bar, settling for a ministry model that is content to connect women in relationships without challenging them to deeper understanding of the Word. For forty-eight hours this weekend I got to hear influential voices raise a cry for a different standard. For forty-eight hours I got to entertain the very real possibility that the tide could turn.

Do you know how hard it is for the average woman to get away for the weekend? And they came by the thousands. There were many messages worth pondering at the Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference of 2012. The one written plainest on my heart is this:  “Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.” May the workers be many. May we ask this in His Name.

UPDATE: You can find audio/video of the conference sessions here.


  1. Jen,
    My husband and I go to the Village (Dallas) and have had the privilege to hear listen to the Biblical Parenting class online. Reading your blog and hearing you speak is inspiring. You have such passion and in turn evokes me to want more from my relationship with God, my understanding of His word and in my everyday life with my husband, family, friends and soon to be here son. Thank you for your obedience in sharing and teaching. :-)

  2. I so wanted to be there!!! Can't wait to listen through the website! My week was spent with 12 giggling 9-11 yr old girls at camp. 3 of them asked Jesus Christ to be their Savior--that humbled my desire to be elsewhere!
    Which session should I start with? order? Can't wait!

    1. Sure, go in order. Paige Brown's message on Friday night was magnificent. Sounds like your week was very well-spent :)

    2. Hey Jen, what is the link to listen? I caught a few sessions live streaming, but would love to hear a few more if they are available for download. Do you know?

    3. Hi Allie, I don't think they have posted the audio yet. Keep an eye on TGC's home page. I'm sure they'll make note of when they post them.

  3. amen!! I have goosebumps reading this. that's my heart's cry too and I'm so glad MANY of my friends were able to attend all the way from Canada :)

  4. Yes! I can't wait to go next time they hold one. Thank you SO much for your love for the word and teaching it clearly, articulately, and passionately.

  5. Yes yes yes!!! You are not alone. My heart is glad to hear about these seven thousands. May the workers be many. May we ask this in His Name.

  6. Hello,
    I was so blessed by what I heard at the conference! It is my heart's cry too for women to study the bible! I listened to Jenny Salt and from what I understand she teaches women how to exegesis a passage of scripture. How does she do this? I searched for a website and did not find any,she has a couple sermons on thte TGC website but as far as I can tell, it did not teach exegesis, I search for books by her but found none. How is a woman to learn how to exegesis a passage of scripture? My church is full of Health, Weath and Prosperity teaching and I REALLY need to learn how to exegete a passage of scripture to counter this false teaching. Women need to know the true meaning of scripture. Anyone have any ideas? I am going to listen to all the messages again. Can't wait.
    Thank you,


  7. This is the best write up I've seen so far - thank you! I had the same response as you with the whole sobbing thing, but mine was at TGC11 in Chicago, when I went to the womens' track (I think kind of a pilot for TGCW12). :) Like you, I think this is the beginning of a genuine sea change in the way women are taught - at least it should be!

    Cora, Carrie Sandom's break out session hits precisely what your'e asking, and if I'm not mistaken she has a book out on the same topic.

  8. Amen! You echo my heart here. Thank you for expressing so beautifully and passionately my own response to the weekend. Here is our God and He is great and good and gracious!

  9. Yes, Lord, Yes! I have been crying for the same thing. I saw the same dream fulfilled this weekend. We're praying the same thing together and I can't wait to see the fulfillment unfold. Isn't He who is in us SO good?

  10. Jen,
    I was there and felt exactly as you do in both anticipation for the conference, and in being there. I saw one young mother whose husband kept bringing her a very small infant to nurse during breaks, and I thought, How many other places could she be? More comfortable, more about "her", and definitely easier, but she's HERE. Lord, we are HUNGRY!
    I flew from Texas (just south of Dallas) alone to be at the conference. It yielded me a certain perspective that I don't think I could have gained had I come with a gaggle of my friends. I am thrilled, grateful, and humbled to have been a part. Truly, grateful.


  11. "For too long women of belief have been the willing recipients of gender-specific teaching that patronizes their intellect and panders to their emotions."

    Yes and Amen! I couldn't agree more. The weekend was refreshing and substantive. So grateful to have had the opportunity.

  12. I must admit, I've never heard of this conference and am intrigued. As a woman-to-woman Bible teacher myself, I'm always seeking wisdom from fellow women teachers. I'll have to put this on my radar for next year. Blessings!

  13. I did not attend the conference, but I did watch much of it online. I was downright giddy with excitement! I am praying fervently for the Spirit to move (and I know He is!), and that women and men would both feel convicted to offer women the entire counsel of Scripture in their ministries. I need to learn Leviticus, 1 Kings and Ezekiel, just as much as Ruth or Esther. Not just for my own personal wants or convictions, but because that's what Jesus would have for me and for other women--to sit at His feet and learn from Him. He would have us choose what is better, and He would not have that taken away from us.

    Thanks for posting this, and thank you so much for encouraging women to engage God's Word for themselves. Your gifting for teaching is quite evident, and yet you are always prompting women to open up the Bible for their own personal study. Please keep doing what you do!

  14. And now I sit here and cry and nod as I can fully relate to what you have written--your thoughts about the church and women's ministry and your sentiments about the conference! What a privilege to be there amongst thousands of women who were so richly fed and their hunger for the true Gospel was so evident! Praise God for the younger and older generations He is transforming! Thanks for your post.

  15. Thanks for your comment! I'm a women's ministry worker in Brisbane and haven't been able to put my finger on this as you have. "biblical illiteracy" is huge amongst women, and they don't know what they are missing. Women have a peculiar lack of confidence when in comes to the bible. It is my campaign to get women reading the bible together, one to one, and learning through conversation in and around the text. You can read something about what I'm trying to do here:
    Would like to make your conference but it is a bit of a drive.
    I am busy rounding up women for a bible teaching day, we get about 600 women to, but so many more are missing out.(The Women's Conference is called GROW, a QCCA event).
    Blessings to you!

  16. Thanks for sharing! Yes what a dearth of sound biblical literacy all around the world today, and what a great attempt this is to plug the gap. I think I'm going to bookmark your blog and share what you've written. :)

    All the way from Singapore,