3 - Gender

How Should Christians Think About Gender?

Up to this point, we have taken a look at some of the problems plaguing the church around the topic of sexuality. As a way of helping curb the confusion, we examined practical ways for pursuing God-honoring conversations about the function of sexuality in life. Another area of difficulty for the church is the issue of gender. In this third session, we will turn our attention to gender, and work toward strengthening our ability to empathize and relate to those struggling with gender identity confusion.

Gender can be a difficult concept to consider. Is it biologically determined? Socially constructed? The result of personal choice? Bruce proposed five dimensions for thinking about the ways gender affects us in life:
  1. Biological Gender
  2. Self-PerceptionHeart (Romantic Inclinations)
  3. Gender Roles
  4. Sexual Engagement
Rather than oversimplifying a difficult topic, these categories help us to think in broader terms to strengthen our abilities for appropriate conversation. 

What are some of the issues/questions surrounding gender that you have had to work through in your church? What resulted from those circumstances? Would you change anything about how you handled them? If so, what?
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Did the five dimensions Bruce mentioned prompt you to think differently about gender? If so, how? What specifically stood out to you and why?
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Thinking back on your experience, how has your church sought to address the topic of gender? In light of Bruce's suggestions, can you recognize parts of your message that need to change? If so, what are they? How will you use your leadership to begin bringing about that change?
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Can you think of anyone struggling with gender issues in your church? How have you sought to minister to them? How will you utilize this session to enhance your approach? How will it change the way you pastor them?
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When it comes to gender, there are no easy answers. We are made in the image of a complex God, which means our answers must reflect a patient commitment to the complexities of humanity as well as the ways in which we have been broken by sin. Adding nuance to your understanding of gender is not the same thing as capitulating on the truth of Scripture. Devote yourself to thinking deeply about this topic and use your leadership to model an example of grace and truth in ministry to those who are struggling.