God is placing more women in ministry leadership roles today than ever before. The number of God-fearing women serving in leadership roles traditionally held by men in churches, ministries and Christian organizations of every kind is growing. How exciting to see godly men and women serving together at every level and the body of Christ more closely resembling the fullness of our Creator.
If you are called to be a leader in Christian ministry, God will bring it about. Psalm 75:6-7 tells us that promotion comes from the Lord. He also determines how long each leader serves. It is not up to us to prove or position ourselves for leadership. It is up to us only to be prepared and to live pure lives of obedience as we walk with God. That knowledge relieves the pressure of having to "perform" or to please people. We need to please only God.
My own journey in Christian leadership has been filled with blessings as well as challenges and changes. As I continually submit my ministry to the Lord, He has directed my steps and shown me His great wisdom. He also has taught me some key principles of Christian leadership that women need in order to be effective.
WALK IN HUMILITY Leaders who walk in humility not only engender the favor of the Lord, but also evoke trust, honesty and support from their peers and staff. Having a woman serve in ministry or church leadership is a fairly new phenomenon for many men who have been in ministry for years. A spirit of humility will help disarm the internal conflict they may be confronting.
Our accuser, the devil, will use any opening to sow distrust and disunity among ministry leaders. A hint of pride can be misconstrued as a manipulative "Jezebel" spirit. James 4:10 tells us to humble ourselves before God, and He will exalt us.
A spirit of humility also overcomes the spirits of pride and arrogance that leaders are sure to encounter along the way. It is very tempting to take an aloof, self-righteous posture when decisions are questioned or mistakes pointed out. Fight that with humility. Hear what is said, and take it to the Lord.
Several years ago, one of my peers came to me with an offense. I honestly did not think I had done anything wrong and was tempted to shrug off the whole thing. However, tension was building between the two of us and between our teams.
We both took the matter to prayer and made some visible adjustments in our relationship. Our simple act made a significant change in the spiritual climate of the entire organization. Godly leaders will make changes in themselves and override previous decisions if necessary to stay in line with God's Word and on track with the vision.
KNOW YOUR BOUNDARIES Leaders should have a clear understanding of their mission, scope of authority and responsibilities. Having unclear boundaries leaves the door wide open for problems.
God is doing many exciting things in the world today. It may be enticing to jump on every opportunity that comes your way. Doing so, however, can distract you from your primary mission, dilute your effectiveness and hinder those who are ordained for those roles.
Having a clear vision of your mission will keep you on track, especially when opposition is fierce and problems are abundant. Be ready and willing to make tough decisions, to lead against the tide and to intercede for wisdom and victory. In ministry, the buck stops with the leader. If that is you, the buck stops with you.
As a woman leader, be vigilant against anyone who tries to assume the authority given to you. Some men, and possibly women, may try to undermine or take over that authority simply because you are a woman. Use the apostle Paul as an example. He exerted his God-given authority without apology to ensure the good of the churches under his care.
Paul rebuked those who tried to take over spiritual leadership that was his and was careful to stick to the field God had given him. Know your scope of authority, take responsibility for it and stick to it! (See 2 Cor. 10:13-15.)
A leader's responsibility includes caring for the people God brings alongside her. Jesus declared that, "Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant" (Matt. 20:26, NLT). Serving is our responsibility. It keeps us humble and keeps us in touch with the health of our team. Most of all, it sets a godly tone even in stressful situations.
This has been an area of struggle for me. God moved me into a leadership role when I was still young. I feared that if I was seen serving others, my credibility as a leader would be eroded. I feared my male counterparts would not see me as a person in authority.
I should have trusted that when God makes a place for us, no one can take it away. Our gracious and loving Father did not humiliate me in any way, but has continually and lovingly prodded me to take on the nature of His Son, the nature of a servant. I learned firsthand that as we serve, our authority in Christ grows.
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