Fred Craddock's recent book 'Craddock Stories' edited by Mike Graves and Richard F. Ward (St. Louis: Chalice Press, 2001) is a gold mine of Craddock's stories used in both preaching and teaching. Here is one sample:
"When I was in Cincinnati, I met a lot of people I was glad to see...One of them was a fellow in one of the churches in the Midwest; I'll not identify him any further. Grumpy sort. A controlling man---that was the problem I had with him. I gave Bible studies and preached in his church lots of times. He's a layman in the church, and a sort of controller, a very controlling man, one of those people that act like they're in the background-- 'Well I don't know, I don't know, I don't know"-- but they're really in charge. He controls his family, controls his kids, control his grandkids, controls the whole family, controls the church, but acts like, "I don't know, I don't know." But he did.
I saw him coming. There was nowhere to go. I shook hands with him and said 'How're you doing?' He said, 'I'm doing all right.' I didn't recognize him-- I didn't recognize him. I said, 'How's the church?' He said 'Better than we've ever been.'
'Really?' And this is what he said: 'God is at work in our church.' I never heard him say anything like that; I've just heard him criticize. 'God is at work in your church.' I said 'That is wonderful.' He said: 'We're in better shape spiritually and in every way than we've ever been in my memory.'
'This is wonderful! Who is your minister?'
He said "We have a woman.' He never did give me her name. he said 'We have a woman.'
I said 'You do?'
He said 'Yeah, I voted against her, and all my family voted against her but we got outnumbered.'
He said: 'I was wrong. I was wrong in my estimation of women.' And then he looked at me and said, 'Brother Fred, if I was wrong about her, I was probably wrong about a lot of stuff.'
Isn't that great? Finally he met the gospel, broke the pattern, and he was making a new way.'
The point of this is important. All of us have prejudices of course, and all of us have our various interpretations of various NT texts which we think are correct. But what happens when we see so clearly God's blessing of a particular person in ministry that it overcomes even the most extremely strongly held view, and causes one to ask not 'was the Bible wrong?' but rather 'was my understanding of the Bible wrong?'
It was Jesus' word that "you shall know the tree by the fruit it bears." Obviously experience is not the only criteria for deciding this issue, but it is an important one. If Jesus had not healed the blind man he would probably have never become a follower of Jesus. But his personal experience led him to think in a new way about things.
I can't not speak for others, but I have heard and had many wonderful Evangelical women teachers and preachers who have done wonderful orthodox work for the Gospel and the Kingdom. I have also often found it to be the case that those who argue most strongly against women doing these kinds of ministries are men who have never experienced such ministries at all, never mind been fed by them. This is a great tragedy and it does not have to be this way.