GodTalks - Women Teaching Truth

Kabwe Benaya looked out at the crowded auditorium as Dallas Theological Seminary’s Department of Educational Ministries & Leadership kicked off the seminary’s centennial-year celebration with their second annual women’s conference, GodTalks: Women Teaching Truth. She opened her Bible to the book of James, smiled, and began to teach. She’d been waiting for this moment for months.

Benaya joined five other women, selected by Dr. Sue Edwards, Dr. Joye Baker, and graduate teaching assistant Rebecca Carrell, who took the stage to deliver messages they’d crafted in DTS’s class, Women Teaching Women. Edwards and Baker designed the class in 2007 for women who want to lead women’s ministries, speak at women’s conferences or retreats, or write and teach Bible studies for their churches. A long-time champion of in-person Bible study instructors, Edwards says, “Postmodern women want to know their teachers personally. They want to learn from a woman who can answer their questions, and they want to see her model what she teaches. They want to know she’s available with hugs and warm personal words.”

And that, says Baker, is why she and Edwards offer the Women Teaching Women course and the GodTalks conference. “DTS is committed to preparing women to teach the Bible so that they will be equipped to offer churches and other Christian organizations live speakers and teachers who can connect personally with their audiences. The most impactful teaching,” affirms Baker, “is given in the context of a relationship, just as Jesus came to earth to be face-to-face with people. Our female students are being trained to model their Savior and offer his love, hope, and truth to others worldwide.”

The GodTalks conference originated with an idea from Jennifer McCann, a Master in Arts in Christian Education student, in 2021. “Women work so hard on their messages for the class,” she said to Edwards and Baker. “But then they may not have another opportunity to share them. At a conference, they could teach in front of a large audience and receive valuable feedback.”

The feedback sets the conference apart from other events. Carrell, the event’s emcee, pointed to the evaluation forms for the audience to fill out. “This is where the women get their money’s worth,” she said. “Once they leave seminary, they won’t often find people with the courage to tell them how they could strengthen their teaching.” After each session, audience members took five minutes to evaluate the speakers on clarity, biblical and theological accuracy, and style. The women received a wealth of affirming and constructive comments.

What the speakers shared connected deeply with the audience. More than one person choked back tears as Callie Millier shared her struggle with infertility and how God ministers to his people through trials. Lisa Adams spoke about the sanctifying nature of life’s storms. Natasha Mathilda encouraged the crowd to “Choose Unity through Humility.” Kristi Briggs reminded the audience that every person has a role in God’s kingdom. And Cameron Ward, recalling how the church surrounded her when she lost her mother, delivered a powerful message about the compassion of Christ.

In addition to experience and feedback, GodTalks also gives women visibility. After last year’s conference, several GodTalks speakers received invitations to teach at local women’s events. That’s what McCann hoped for, right from the beginning. “Many of our graduates have to wait years before teaching opportunities come along,” she said. “We want our students to start using their skills now, not four years from now.”

DTS President Dr. Mark Yarbrough agrees. He opened the conference with a word of gratitude for the many women who helped shape the seminary into the institution it is today. “I have benefited from the work and wisdom of Dr. Edwards and Dr. Baker,” he said. The school opened its doors to women in 1975. Today, women make up over forty percent of the seminary’s enrollment.

Carrell, a regular on the women’s conference and retreat speaking circuit, expects the female enrollment growth trend to continue. “I’ve seen it for years,” she said. “God is doing something among his daughters. They hunger for God’s Word and want to go deeper into the Bible.” Training female students to teach in the local church will bring the theological depth women crave.

Mark your calendar for next year’s GodTalks conference on January 25, 2025. Six women will bring messages of hope and exhortation as Dallas Theological Seminary continues its rich tradition—more than a century of teaching truth and loving well.

1 Sue Edwards and Kelley Mathews, Organic Ministry for Women: A Guide to Transformational Ministry with Next Generation Women (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Kregel Publications, 2019), 97.

About the Contributors

Rebecca Carrell

Rebecca Carrell is, in order of importance, a joyful Jesus follower, wife to Mike, mother to Caitlyn and Nick, Bible teacher, conference speaker, author, and an award-winning broadcaster. After spending over twenty years on the radio in Dallas/Fort Worth, she now mentors and teaches students at Dallas Theological Seminary in the Media Arts and Worship Department as she works toward her Doctorate in Educational Ministry.  

Rebecca hosts and produces the podcast Honestly, Though: Real Talk. Real Life. Real Faith. Her books include Holy Jellybeans: Finding God through Everyday Things, Holy Hiking Boots: When God Makes the Ordinary Extraordinary, and Anxious for Nothing: An Inductive Study of Paul’s Letter to the Philippians. She recently joined Dr. Sue Edwards as a co-writer of the Discover Together Bible Study Series, and 1 Timothy is available in stores now.