Chapman Chair Appointed
During Amy Gannett’s first class at Moody Bible Institute, she remembers her professor saying something that surprised her: “You are a theologian.”
As Dr. John Koessler addressed his class of freshmen students, he said, “Right now—before you've learned anything—you are a theologian. But are you a good one?”
Today, in her church work in North Carolina and on her blog, this 2011 graduate poses a similar theological question to the women she teaches. “Have you chosen your beliefs about God intentionally, or have they chosen you?”
Theology is defined simply as the study of God. And honoring the Moody tradition of “studying to show thyself approved unto God”, Amy is passionate about extending her own theological training within the local church and, specifically, to women. In addition to church planting with her husband Austin, Amy hosts theological workshops for female ministry leaders.
Amy believes studying theology provides a rich learning experience that can deepen and grow our faith. She says, “Our theological grounding is the turf from which we grow our lives. What we believe about God’s Word, about His character, about our world, that’s what we are living out of. What we believe—the roots of our lives—matters.”
After graduating from Moody in 2011, Amy attended Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where she met her husband, Austin. “He and I share a love for theology, and we would meet for lunch every Thursday and pick a topic; we called it Theology Thursday. Our dinner conversations often looked a lot like a classroom discussion,” she admits.
After they were married and joined their first church, Amy felt a growing desire to extend her interest in theology to other women in the church. “To many of the women I met, theology seemed too hard, too academic. So I started striving in my local congregation to point out that we are already thinking theologically. We already have a theological viewpoint on almost everything. But have we thought about it intentionally?”
Amy explains, “The call of the Scriptures is to lift our gaze higher—not to ourselves, but onto the Lord.” For example, she invites women to explore the theological meaning of the word redeemer (a term found in both the Old and New Testament). She says, “It helps us to more fully appreciate what it means to realize that Jesus Christ is our Redeemer.”
When Amy was just 17, she felt God leading her into ministry. And since her dad was a pastor and her mom was involved in women’s ministry, she had plenty of opportunities to, as she puts it, “flex those muscles.” During high school, Amy was chosen as a “Brio girl,” through a magazine for teenage Christian girls published by Focus on the Family. As a Brio girl, she wrote a monthly column for the magazine. “That was my first time really trying to do something with writing and the Bible and bringing those things together. It was a really sweet season of getting to say, ‘Lord, whatever gifts you want to develop in me and however you want to use them . . .’”
Amy began to look for a Bible school that would prepare her for a lifetime of ministry, and she wanted a specific focus on women’s ministry. “As soon as I heard about Moody Bible Institute, I knew it was the only place for me.” During her first year at Moody, she became interested in Bible teaching and switched to the Bible Exposition program. “In my first class with Dr. Winfred Neely, he asked why we were there. I remember saying, ‘There’s not a lot of quality speaking and preaching for women—I want to learn how to do it well.’”
It was during his class that Amy felt her God-given gifting was confirmed. “I remember thinking, This is my fit in God’s creation. This is my puzzle piece. This is what He has me to do. I feel gifted at it and I love it. It spoke to my joy. This is what the Lord has for me.”
Today Amy is committed to writing, speaking, and creating helpful theological resources for women. “I’d love to teach the Bible in conference settings. My vision is to do it in a way that feels accessible for women,” Amy says. “I’d love to see my generation, and the one to follow, do quality exegetical work and then communicate that to others."
“When I was a student, I was grateful for the donors who gave to support our tuition. But since graduating—especially as my husband and I church plant—we are so grateful not to be burdened by student loans,” Amy says. “As we start a ministry, I’m really grateful to have graduated without debt.”
On April 7, 2018, Moody Bible Institute in Chicago will host a one-day conference for women in leadership. Called: Equipping Women Who Lead to Make Disciples will be a time of theological training, encouragement, and exploring what it means to live out God’s calling in women's lives and ministries.
Through dynamic teaching, practical workshops, and a Q&A panel, women in leadership will discover more about cultivating and stewarding their calling. It’s also a great opportunity for women to equip their leadership team and connect with others in their area of ministry.
Because of your generous gifts, you are making it possible for students like Joe to graduate and represent Christ well. “Moody taught me how to live out my faith in a practical way,” Joe says. “Every day, regardless of who I’m working for, when I come to work and make decisions, I’m trying to do it for the Lord.”
Will you give another gift today to continue sending students who will live for the glory of God?