How Susan Hunt Beat the Evangelical Machine

Last weekend I had the privilege to attend a women’s conference featuring Susan Hunt as the speaker. It was a small gathering at a quaint, PCA church in Frederick, MD. Faith PCA was hospitable enough to open their event to the local churches. And so 106 women from 15 different churches filled their modest sanctuary.

Have you heard of Susan Hunt? Maybe not. She wasn’t at any of the recent major women’s conferences. You didn’t see her at the last TGC or the IF:Gathering. She isn’t tweeting or podcasting. I don’t think she’s done any rounds at the homeschool conventions and she certainly doesn’t carry nunchucks. But Susan is tough, and she has influenced both men and women in the church.

The first reason I would call such a graceful and classy woman like Susan tough is because she pioneered the women’s education and ministries for the PCA church. She was the first official Director of Women’s Ministries for the PCA (Georgia Settle established the women’s ministry for the PCA), accepting a position that had absolutely no material for her to work with, except her Bible. Susan created the material, writing books educating women on their design, engaging in the lies our culture wants us to believe, highlighting the importance of gender distinction, and working with others such as Ligon Duncan to write on the importance of women’s ministry in the local church and how to start one. Susan made the curriculum for women and their churches. And she didn’t stop there. She has written for children and teens as well.

Susan Hunt superseded her job description of Director of Women’s Ministries for the PCA because she didn’t only care for women in the PCA. Susan speaks to those who who listen. And she doesn’t think of herself too highly or her time more valuable than others. You don’t need to have at least 500 people and $5,000 to invite Susan to speak at your church. You will find her walking around, getting to know the women who are there to listen and learn. How many speakers do you know who give away their personal email in the handouts? She invites women to bring their daughters to these events because she truly believes in Titus 2 mentoring. And the young women aren’t invisible to her. Susan invites them up front, gives away copies of her books (yes, even authors have to pay for their books), and challenges the older women to pray for them.

Susan inconveniences herself for her message. She has served for a number of years with a group of reformed Baptist women from Iglesia Biblica del Señor Jesucristo (a large church in Santo Domingo, DR), and traveled there just last year to deliver the same talk to 1,000 women (with the help of a Spanish translator) that she gave to our small group last weekend. A friend of mine traveled with Susan to the Dominican Republic and was there for this recent talk. She is always taken back at how fresh and passionate Susan delivers her message each time. Susan made the comment to me that she’s always amazed that people would come hear her give the same message they’ve already heard. But then again, she’s always excited to deliver it, so she’s happy people are just as encouraged to hear it over.

But last weekend, some of my friends and I were thinking about how amazing it is that in her mid-seventies, when Susan can respectfully retire from the rigamarole of traveling and speaking, she would agree to hop on a plane and come and talk to us about “Biblical Womanhood: Generation to Generation.” She’s tough! And she’s the real deal. She takes her responsibility as an older woman in Christ seriously and passionately wants to to teach women about Christ.

Susan isn’t a big personality. She’s just a little woman who has done very big things--things that she believed herself to be inadequate to do, but Christ provided. When she is speaking, she’s not interested in drawing us in with a bunch of sentimentality. She delivers a heavy theological message, taking us through the scriptures. And she doesn’t point us to Susan, even though we could look at her life and accomplishments and learn a lot.

Susan doesn’t care about her profile or her status in the evangelical market. She cares about God’s people and she cares about the truth. Sure, Susan has participated in big conferences, speaking to many people. There were plenty of opportunities for her to become one of the gears in the evangelical machine, well-oiled and programed for big numbers and accolades. But she didn’t. That’s why I wanted to hold up a picture of a woman who has faithfully lived her life in service for God, written many books, someone who has interacted with plenty of Christian "celebrities," very easily could have been one herself, but has managed to avoid the self-importance hype, and is still happy to speak to a small church of women. She isn't hip or young, doesn't appeal to sentimentalism, or use a bunch of technology in her presentation, yet managed to make women from a diverse group of churches in the community care about good theology and God’s design for women.

Susan emulates the “life-givers” she encourages us to be in Christ. What a beautiful woman.