By Halee Gray Scott
Published by Zondervan
Why I picked up this book:
Simply put, there is no other book on the market like it! Author and Ph.D. Halee Gray Scott has done her research and clearly presents her case with theological reflection, without defense, and through humbly sharing her story (both successes and failures) as well as the convictions and challenges of other Christian women who are leading.
Who Should Read Dare Mighty Things:
This book is for any Christian woman who currently is leading or feels called to lead. Most of the research is from the Christian nonprofit arena and would be of particular interest to that audience. However, the issues she raises are important for men and women, as men still hold key positions of leadership in the Christian community at large and can better serve as mentors and sponsors when they understand the perceptions and challenges that their sisters are up against.
What’s in Store for You:
Dr. Scott holds no punches when initially stating her conviction that “the church has failed Christian women because it has failed to cast a comprehensive vision of what God can accomplish in and through the life of a woman.” However, anyone who may be concerned as to whether she is advocating for the ordination of women, or if she is leading her readers to pick a side in the egalitarian and complementarian debate, can fear not. She follows her courageous introduction by disarming the great debaters. She gives an unbiased (however brief) presentation of both sides and then leads the way by revealing the points that they both have in common, namely: “1. Women can be leaders…2. The spiritual gifts are not gendered…3. All Christians, including women, have a responsibility to exercise and steward their giftedness…4. Communities of faith have a responsibility to ensure that women are able to exercise their giftedness in freedom.”
After uniting the readers, Halee asks and answers some basic questions like “What is leadership?” and “Why don’t women see themselves as leaders?” Then she reveals the truth and words of encouragement that all across the world, God is using women to accomplish his good work. She continues mapping the challenges and answering the questions “What is calling? Why are we called?” and centers in on the question that everyone wants to know, “What should I do with my life?”
Perhaps the four most critical chapters in the book address thoughts and beliefs about gender and leadership. “Whether we realize it or not, we do not think a woman can be both a good woman and a good leader. This discrepancy (called ‘role congruity theory of prejudice’) between our perceptions about good women and good leaders presents a sizeable challenge for female leaders to navigate in order to serve well within their communities.” Additionally, Halee addresses the great (and unrealistic) expectations that we, as women, place on ourselves to either have “it all” at the same time or compare ourselves to other women. She addresses the challenges and concerns associated with our spiritual and physical health, in addition to choices about home, marriage, parenting, and work. She continues the gender discussion by clearly presenting the challenges, conflicts, and history concerning the sexualization of females and how that affects male and female relations. She also presents a third way for Christians to view men and women as co-laborors and allies, and this leads to a balanced approach for building healthy cross-gender ministry relationships.
Finally, she closes with several leadership principles that I would like to see addressed more in Christian literature: courage, love, self-leadership, and devotion to the spiritual disciplines and virtues.
My personal take-aways?
Halee spends a significant amount of time addressing the current state of women’s ministries, how women are not seeing and preparing themselves for leadership, why women are leaving the church, and why the traditional model of women’s ministry is not working for Millennials. I have long shared her conviction that we need to develop a more effective way to minister to women. She proposes the solution of “implementing development programs, establishing mentoring and sponsorship relationships, raising awareness of gender issues, and raising the visibility of female leaders.”
Because of these convictions, I have developed a mentoring ministry for women. Through the church I attended, this ministry was a place to disciple believers on their faith journey, but also served the purpose of identifying, training, and developing new leaders. We led as a team, so relationships were developed, the visibility of female leaders increased, and women were growing together, challenging each other, and not leading in isolation.
Leadership is challenging, but I firmly believe that when women start to see themselves as leaders, receive the proper training and mentoring, and identify and cultivate their natural talents and spiritual gifts, the church thrives because God’s kingdom work is going forth with more laborers. We want to mentor and multiply more women leaders who are equipped and empowered, wise and discerning, humble, and courageous to step out and lead, even when they are afraid.
“Leadership is risky business, and so leaders (the good ones, anyway) will face several crossroads at which they can either choose to give in to their fears or choose to act courageously and do what God has called them to do.” Please don’t wait for someone to give you permission to lead. After all, being recognized as a leader often requires that you first do something so that people can choose to join you in those godly pursuits. Go ahead. Take the risk. I choose to act and live courageously! How about you?
Self-leadership is difficult, “but if leaders are to lead others, they must be capable of leading themselves.”
Train Women to #Lead: “Women need classes on theology, hermeneutics, liturgy, and the classical virtues.”
Other books I would recommend along these lines:
Reclaiming Eve: The Identity & Calling of Women in the Kingdom of God by Suzanne Burden, Carla Sunberg, and Jamie Wright
Half the Church: Recapturing God’s Global Vision for Women by Carolyn Custis James
Gifted to Lead: The Art of Leading as a Woman in the Church by Nancy Beach
Natasha Sistrunk Robinson is a writer, inspirational speaker, leadership and mentoring trainer, and human trafficking advocate. She received her M.A. in Christian Leadership from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (Charlotte) in May 2014, with concentrations in prayer and fasting, racial reconciliation, and biblical justice. Natasha has over fifteen years of experience leading and mentoring in personal, professional, and church settings. Connect with Natasha through her official website, blog, Facebook, or Twitter.