I’m trying to figure out what makes female discipleship work.
I’m pretty sure I get the male side of discipleship. I’ve come to rely on same-sex triads (groups of three) for spiritual formation in my own life, and in the lives of those I lead in the church. For me, it’s been a natural outflow of relationships in my small groups – there’s always two or three guys I can especially count on to grow me (and I them), so we end up hanging out regularly outside the group setting.
As counterintuitive as it may sound, guys readily jump into triads. For many it’s their first opportunity to share true feelings and true weakness without being frowned upon or belittled. They like the challenge and problem solving nature of putting your junk on the table and figuring out what to do about it.
For women, I’m finding that the means and the ends are much harder to follow. Women have been forming triads for centuries without anyone’s advice or proscription. Trust seems to be distributed in sparing amounts, and with many qualifications. As a result, it appears that many women keep their close inner-circle to one or two others, and that only after great time and effort has been spent. I get that women get triads in ways that surpasses the male audience, but I don’t get what they get out of it and how they got there.
If a few of you women (and any brave man willing to venture an observation) wouldn’t mind responding to a few of my lingering questions on female discipleship, I would appreciate the enlightening…
- What does it take to build trust between one woman and another?
- What aspects of spiritual formation take place between women only after trust is truly present?
- Is it possible to expand or multiply your trusting & formative relationships to include more women? If so, clue me in on the process and the limits.
- What does a male pastor need to know most about female discipleship?