By Patrice Burrell, Crosswalk.com
In His infinite wisdom, God has uniquely created men and women after His likeness and in His image. The church is blessed to have the gifts and talents both offer and contribute to the Kingdom of God. Although sometimes pitted against each other, women and men are designed to work in unity for the good of the church. We are meant to complement one another, not compete against each other. It is possible to function in harmony and honor God as we all accomplish the goal of serving Him, even as we lead and minister to God's people.
Women bring unique contributions to church leadership. As a matter of fact, within a church's ministry leadership, it is important to reflect the diversity of its membership, which often includes women. In many instances, women depict the majority representation within local church membership. It is only natural they should function in leadership roles within their congregations.
Jesus used women to carry the message of the Gospel. The first to see Jesus after His resurrection and tell others of our risen Savior was a woman, Mary of Magdalene (see John 20:14-18). Priscilla and her husband Aquila were used to teach the Word of God (see Acts 18:24-26). Phillip, an evangelist reference in the book of Acts, had four unmarried daughters who used their gifts of prophecy (see Acts 21:7-90). The Apostle Paul recognizes Phoebe as a deacon in the church and commends her for being a benefactor to many, including himself. (see Romans 16:1-2).
Since women are accepted into the Family of God, and since Jesus himself never discriminated based on gender, it is praiseworthy to celebrate God's provision for women to have a place in church leadership and partake in the roles and responsibilities of serving the Lord's church. Here are three distinct ways women can do just that.
1. Women Can Model Leadership Excellence
The VOICE translation of Proverbs 31:10 reads, "Who can find a truly excellent woman? One who is superior in all that she is and all that she does? Her worth far exceeds that of rubies and expensive jewelry." Excellence, according to dictionary.com, is defined as: "the fact or state of excelling; superiority; eminence." Women who are excellent, godly leaders add value to their environment. In the context of ministry and church leadership, having such women as part of the leadership team promotes ministry in ways that glorify God, ultimately building the church and God's people.
Women can exemplify excellent leadership in multiple spheres of influence, so it is no surprise that they can successfully lead within church ministry. All of us, in some way, shape, or form, have benefitted from a woman's leadership at some point in our lives. Women not only leave their mark on our world but undeniably upon our hearts because they allow God's love and light to shine through them.
Why does excellent leadership in women matter for the church? Because women who model leadership excellence are necessary contributors offering unique perspectives as it relates to decision-making and problem-solving for the good of a ministry. These women are innovative and creative thinkers. They are committed to advancing the Gospel and demonstrate their commitment through their speech and conduct. Women who model leadership excellence lead by example and are assets to the executive aspects of the church as well as the people they serve in ministry.
2. Women Can Support Other Women
Women share a special bond with one another. And yes, even though female relationships can be difficult to navigate at times, the fact remains that women understand women. We get each other because we share more similarities than differences. Who better to support other women in a church than a woman in leadership?
There is an advantage to having a woman in church leadership who is assigned to care for women within a congregation. Women can relate to the needs of other women because we universally share so much in common. A woman is familiar with the multiple roles that impact the soul of women. Sometimes we need ministry consideration specific to our lives as a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, career woman, and the list goes on and on.
Proverbs 31:26 (NKJV) says, "She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness." A woman in church leadership who is anointed to serve other women will often be led by the Holy Spirit to speak the right words, in the right way, at the right time. They operate in God's wisdom with God's grace as they build up other sisters in the congregation. Women in ministry leadership offer sensitivity, compassion, attentiveness, understanding, and gentleness as they nurture and support other women's spiritual needs.
3. Women Can Support Men
One of the vital ways women evidence leadership in the church is to support the men of the church – both in ministry leadership and within the congregation. John Maxwell, a respected leadership influencer, said, "The bottom line in leadership isn't how far we advance ourselves but how far we advance others." True leaders are not invested in pushing their own personal agendas and motives. They are invested in pushing people to achieve God-ordained purposes.
Christian women leaders know the importance of supporting the God-ordained vision for a ministry. They also know how to support the visionary of the ministry, which in many cases is a male senior leader. This is not an insignificant or inferior role. As a matter of fact, it takes strong women with strong faith to maturely thrive in balance with men who are also called to lead in ministry. It is because of their God-given courage and confidence they are able to serve and support their brothers in the Body of Christ.
Support can take on many functions, depending on the needs of the men being supported. It can look extremely practical based on the context of the ministry. In Scripture, we observe how women supported Jesus' earthly ministry. Luke 8:3 (ESV) records, "and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod's household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means." Also, in Mark 15:40-41 (ESV), we learn how women supported Jesus, even as He died on the cross: "There were also women looking on from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. When he was in Galilee, they followed him and ministered to him, and there were also many other women who came up with him to Jerusalem."
These women model the importance of leading as a helper. Leadership is just as much about supporting as it is about any other element. Helping the men God has placed in our path to soar in ministry and their personal relationship with Christ is a trusted honor as we provide leadership to them. Jesus said it best in Matthew 23:11-12 (NIV), "The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted."
Championing women to live authentically and pursue God passionately, Patrice Burrell is called to lead others to the grace of God, rooted in the truth of scripture. She is an author, life coach, and worship leader who loves practicing the presence of God through a lifestyle anchored in spiritual disciplines. As a Bible teacher and preacher, she exhorts women to remember their true identity is defined in Christ, not culture. When not serving at her local church with the small groups and singles' ministries, Patrice enjoys visiting local Orlando attractions, reading books while sitting along the beach, and finding unique ways to explore her writing creativity. You can connect with Patrice on her blog, Warrior Woman Blog, on social media in her Facebook community, Warrior Women, and @patriceburrellministries on Facebook and Instagram. Patrice is excited about her new book release, Living My Best Life: Embracing God’s Gift of Living Full and Single. It is a six-session Bible study designed especially for single women. You can also check out her debut book, Warrior Slay, a devotional book on the power of worship and prayer.
The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Salem Web Network and Salem Media Group.
You can read Rhonda's full article here.
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