As women in ministry, it’s important that we’re heard and recognized at the table as serious partners with something to contribute to the conversation. Too often, we try to accomplish this by turning to self-promotion. We promote ourselves on social media, sharing our successes, our new book, our latest sermon, or our next project. Often, we apologize first by saying something like, “Shameless plug coming for my book!”
The problem with this is that self-promotion comes from a mindset of scarcity. We think, My work may not be discovered; I may slip into obscurity. I better let people know what I’m doing, so others know I am still working hard and contributing to this conversation. The effect is the opposite of what we desire: it makes women in ministry look a little desperate. Sharing our own work ad nauseam simply causes others to tune us out, rather than take notice and listen.
But the issue still remains: We need a way to raise awareness of the gifted women in ministry. This is where amplification offers a new way forward. This concept was recently made well-known when The Washington Post reported how female staffers in the White House adopted the strategy of amplification to help their female colleagues be heard. In amplification, one woman shares a great idea and her colleagues then repeat it, naming the originator of the idea once more in the process of sharing it, giving her and her idea credibility. The women unify around the message to raise it above the other noise in the room. The great news is that this simple idea works!
What would happen if, instead of promoting our own successes, we began promoting the ideas and work of other women in ministry? What if, when one woman brings a great new ministry idea to the table, writes a book or an article, or has an opportunity to minister, other women shared this, celebrated it, and credited the woman by name? Pam Durso, the executive director of Baptist Women in Ministry, thinks this could be a way forward for women in ministry. She says, “What if we publically affirmed each other’s words and gifts? What if we intentionally credited each other and spoke the names of those with good ideas out loud? What if we boldly recommended one another to pulpit committees, conference planners, and book editors?”