A Casting Call for Leading Ladies
As a member of an Assemblies of God church, women in leadership positions—both inside and outside of the church—is not foreign to me. Many of my friends don't hold an egalitarian view inside the church, but are still quite comfortable with women in secular leadership, at least to a point.
Since Christian women can and do hold leadership positions in secular organizations, the church should work to equip these women with biblical guidance on godly leadership principles. That doesn't seem to be happening. Certainly, general Christian leadership books and classes are helpful, and I'm indebted to a handful of authors and teachers (all male) who have helped me navigate the leadership maze. But where are the women teaching women?
If the church doesn't provide this insight for Christian women in secular leadership, they may decide to rely on secular resources such as Barsh and Cranton's bestseller, How Remarkable Women Lead. There's definitely some good material there, but should we trust a message that tells us: "Our power comes from developing and deploying our talents, from reframing challenge into opportunity, from connecting to forge strength, from facing our fears. Power is an energy force—neither good nor evil…" (p. xxv). This view of power is definitely different from Andy Crouch's recent article positing that power is a gift from God that should be used to ensure "the flourishing of others." Should we try to increase our power through Barsh and Cranton's methods to create an "energy force" or should we be relying on our relationship with God to help us develop this gift in order to serve others? Are we as Christian women willing to settle for the world's take on what female leaders should do, or should we be carving our own course, one grounded on biblical principles and God's definition of success?
My usual resources having failed me, I turned to my pastor, who suggested creating a growth group for professional Christian women. He helped identify a handful of women in law, health, education, banking, and other professions who might be interested in participating.
We're currently hammering out what we want this group to do and how it will function, but we're all in agreement that we need both insight and accountability to discuss tough issues like, Who can I talk to at work when there are no other females on my leadership level? How do I lead decisively without looking like a witch? When and how should I share my faith so it doesn't look like I'm force feeding Christianity to my employees? How do I interact with male leaders in a way that's both effective for my organization and pleasing to God?
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