Monday, December 5, 2016

Training the Next Generation of Women in Ministry: The Rest of the Story

Anne Menear (2nd from left) with some of her "daughters"
My latest article, an interview with Anne Menear, is in the December 2016 issue of Christian Standard.  (Training the Next Generation of Women in Ministry: An Interview With Anne Menear). I encourage you to check it out, in paper or online.

Anne is the Director of the Education department at Central Christian College of the Bible, as well as the Dean of Women and the possessor of several other titles and wearer of numerous hats at CCCB.

As usual, not everything from my interviews finds its way into the published version of the article.Here, then, is more from (and about) Anne Menear:

I'll begin first with a couple of quotes from her boss, David Fincher, the president of CCCB:
“Anne has been quite dedicated to working in whatever capacity we need, as well as building strong relationships with our students and staff members. She relocated here from West Virginia in 2004 and has been all in. She has actually recruited several employees to come here as well. She has been a tremendous asset to us in that time.”
. . .
Many of the earlier restrictions upon women in all of our Christian colleges were inferred from Bible verses that specifically addressed the worship assembly and leadership polity of the first century church,” he says. “Over time more female students enrolled at Christian colleges and were being given leadership opportunities in our churches after graduation. In order to develop servant-leaders for the church, we saw that not only were there legitimate leadership needs within the church where women were being called to serve, but there were many qualified women who could effectively train both men and women for those positions. At that point, utilizing them in those capacities was difficult to criticize either biblically or culturally

Anne Menear on why she gave up coaching the CCCB women's basketball and volleyball teams:
I gave all that up to for the student development. Too much road work. I love people. I love coaching, but I’m not a professional athlete or coach by any matter.

On her passion for teaching people how to teach:
I’m in charge of the Christian Education program, since Mr. Schantz retired, so I’m the advisor for Christian Education majors and I help them with the schedules and oversee their internships.

Basically I try to teach well, to teach them how to teach. That’s one of my greatest passions is teaching to teach.

I hate that the assumption is made that you’re born a teacher. I think anybody can be taught to teach, with some basics skills.

I don’t think you should put someone in as a teacher, whether it’s for Sunday School or otherwise, just because they have a bachelor’s degree or they have a master’s in something. That does not mean that they know what they’re doing. It means they know a lot about a subject.

I think with a little bit of training anyone can be trained to be a teacher. So you teach them about discipline, teach them how to be organized,and how to put together a layout for teaching and be prepared.
On restorative discipline:
I always call it the principal of the college. When I was working in Virginia I was an assistant principal, so I had to discipline on a lower level.

Here, discipline is more based on our code of conduct. We try to do what’s call restorative or redemptive discipline. It’s a great program. It was introduced to me when I first arrived here.

It’s just the idea that we’re not going to kick you to the street because you can’t follow God’s rules; we’re all struggling with that one.

Instead, how can we restore a person and help them to overcome those things so they can be a part of the community. I get to do a lot with the young ladies around here.
I work very closely with Daryl Ammon, my boss, and with the Dean of Men, Aaron Welch. We do a lot of team type of work. The climate of today’s culture is such that you don’t want to be one on one with people, so you get into a he-said/she-said situation, It’s a really cool program
On identity as the key issue for women:
I was at the national basketball tournament in Joplin two years ago and a young lady spoke on the subject of identity, and bells and whistles went off in my head.
. . .

I think that’s been a universal issue for centuries, but I don’t think it’s gotten any better at all.

How is that different than “finding myself”? It’s more guided. There’s less drugs involved! I don’t want them to necessary want them to wander around Colorado looking for their feelings.

I know they’re going to make a lot of mistakes, a lot of its trial and error.

They need good examples. I try to have some of our dorm mentors, professors’ wives, or local ladies in the church to come in and have contact with them, just to show them you can have a direction in life, you can have an identity and it’s not necessarily just wife, mother, children’s minister, missionary, that it’s “I’m a child of the king.” Once you have that prioritized then hopefully there will be less wandering and finding yourself.

I was the main speaker at an all girls camp for 5th-8th graders at Lemoine Christian Camp last week. I told them you’re all princesses. Some of you have been acting like queens; you think everybody should be bowing before you. But you are a child of the King, and that makes you a princess.

But there’s still responsibility that comes with that. People aren’t here for your beck and call.

Your identity could be bound up in so many different things, and it could be the wrong things.

It’s a message little kids need. It’s sad, but I can’t believe how many 10 year old girls I see, and younger, struggling with that already. Wearing makeup, flirting with boys, and that kind of life. When you start that young, by the time you’re 18 and 19 and you’re going to go to bible college, those things hang on to you. They show up here with a lot of baggage.

If you came here broken like that, we can work with that, but you don’t have to go that direction.

I drive home that you don’t’ have to go that direction. You don’t have to be an alcoholic to feel the grace of God. You don’t have to have walked down those bad roads in order to get real with God. I feel fortunate to be able to catch a lot of them before they get to that.
On how she wound up at CCCB:
A friend of mine knew that I wanted to teach at the college level, saw the advertisement in the Christian Standard and passed it along to me. I kind of pooh-poohed it. There’s no way they’re going to hire a 30-year old woman – a thirty year young woman – to work at a bible college.

I sent the resume in, got an interview and got hired. I assume God was somehow orchestrating a big move away from the ocean I love to the Midwest, where the humidity is just as wettening, but not as nice. It’s a different culture than northern Virginia.
On trends among students:
I get a sense of restlessness. They’re not sure what to do or where to go.

Your generation and my generation, we went to bible college because we wanted to preach, we wanted to teach, and we had in mind where we were headed.

Now we have a lot of ones who are not sure, so they start in general studies and then they change to counseling, and then they might change their mind again three semesters into that.

Friends who work at Mizzou say the same thing.

That’s one of the hardest things to deal with is students who are flip flopping degree programs, which they don’t understand can really hurt your progress. They don’t where they want to go or what they want to do. They just know they want to do something.

This generation is really struggling with that , clarity of direction. It goes back to the identity issue.

I love something Jon Rawls said about your call. Very few people in the bible were called directly by God’s voice. “You go from here to there.”

We are all called in the general sense to spread the gospel, of course.

But whatever we choose to do should be based on our talents and what we’re trained to be able to do. And we should go ahead and do that with boldness.

So I just try to give them that kind of message. You might not hear God’s voice audibly in your bedroom tonight saying, “Go to Nigeria”, but there might be somebody who contacts you or who you meet at ICOM, who invites you to come to Nigeria. And if you’re able to see how you could fit into that, then you can see how it could be something you could do with your career.

God kind of leaves some things up to us and we’re all scared to go through those doors. I just try to explain it to them and reinforce it.
. . . and a final quote from Anne Menear:
"We could use a little less divisive subjects and more unity."