Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) hosted its annual Women’s Leadership Breakfast with guest speaker Jen Wilkin on June 15 at the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) in Anaheim, CA. This year’s breakfast centered on the importance and discipline of personal Bible study.
“As the world is quickly changing around us, it is essential that Christians be anchored spiritually, particularly Christian women in a society where our womanhood is being redefined over and over again,” said Missie Branch, assistant dean of students to women and director of graduate life at SEBTS. “Jen gave us a helpful charge concerning the practicality and value of personal Bible study for the maturing believer to protect against the enemies’ attacks on truth.”
Wilkin began by acknowledging her appreciation for the leadership at SEBTS and celebrating how SEBTS prioritizes equipping women for faithfulness to God’s word and mission. “Whenever I get the chance to partner with Southeastern, I always say, yes,” said Wilkin.
Encouraging women to embrace and use their gifts in community, Wilkin reminded attendees that God has designed their gifts as essential to building up the Church. “God does not give any gifts that are nice but unnecessary,” said Wilkin. “Your gifts are essential. The work of the Church does not go forward without men and women working together.”
Wilkin observed how much of the teaching on women’s Bible study singularly focuses on the emotions and fails to engage the mind with the immensity of God’s word and character. Wilkin noted that although this trend is lamentable, it can be remedied. “Too often, I think women have been discipled into a feelings-level faith,” said Wilkin. “However, the heart cannot love what the mind does not know. … Right thinking fuels right feeling. The statement ‘to know me is to love me’ is never truer than it is about God.”
Advocating for women to keep their minds engaged and work hard when they study God’s word, Wilkin encouraged attendees to read the Bible as revelation from God toward communion and deep delight in God. “What we want to teach people to long for is the God that the Bible proclaims,” said Wilkin. “Discipline is not dead; it just follows the most compelling message. Compel them.”
As the pressures of life, the responsibilities of work and family and the challenges of discipling others dominate one’s heart and mind, the Christian woman must not neglect communion with God in his word. “You will not have the fuel that you need to lead long-term if you are not dug-in to the scriptures,” stated Wilkin, reminding attendees not only to persevere through the hard work of personal Bible study but also to call other women to do the same with an earnest longing for God.
“The Southeastern women’s breakfast is my favorite event at SBC each year,” said Krystal Wilson, director of events at SEBTS. “I love seeing the ladies gather together in the early morning to encourage one another and fellowship. It’s a beautiful sight. This year, with so many in our culture who have been led astray by false gospels, we wanted to take our ladies back to the essentials of loving and studying the God-breathed, inerrant word. We were grateful to have such a gifted teacher like Jen Wilkin walk us through the importance and practice of personal Bible study.”
To learn more about how SEBTS is equipping and mobilizing women, visit here.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Chad Burchett is a writer for the SEBTS office of communications.)