While self-promotion can devalue the personal brand of women and reduce their efforts, amplification can help women truly be heard. Let’s commit to bringing a new idea to the table: someone else’s. Let’s speak her name and put her work out for our other colleagues to consider. If we can do this, we can change the way ideas are perceived and heard in our ministry contexts.
Putting It into Practice
In Cooperative Baptist life, February is known as Martha Stearns Marshall month, and women are invited into pulpits across the country to preach as a way of highlighting their giftedness and changing perceptions about women in the pulpit. For a number of years during seminary and in an associate ministry role, I was seeking places to preach as a guest. While more churches join the effort each year, opportunities at the time were few and far between.
So, this year when I had my own pulpit, I knew immediately what to do. I called around for names of women in seminary in my area, and opened the pulpit to another woman who will graduate in just a few short months.
After hearing her sermon, it was my privilege to publicly affirm Robbie in her ministry call and gifting in the pulpit. I believe it made a difference for her, and I know it filled me with joy to amplify the voice of another woman who is called to minister.
The Art of Celebrating Success
Andy Stanley has written and taught about different states of the heart which impact leadership. One negative state of the heart he addresses is jealousy. The antidote to a jealous heart, Stanley asserts, is celebration of the one toward whom jealousy is felt. It is impossible to feel jealous and to celebrate all at once. Choosing celebration rather than envy helps to recalibrate the heart.
It isn’t easy to celebrate the success of another, particularly if you sense that their success means your missed opportunity. Oftentimes, especially in ministry life, women will be in candidate pools head on against their closest friends—particularly women just graduating from seminary. What is the right approach in those times?
“Be invested in the searches of other women, so you can celebrate and mourn together,” Durso advises. Honesty and vulnerability when women are under consideration for the same role can result in less jealousy and more celebration when one of the women succeeds.
Let us live from a place of abundance, honor one another’s successes, and amplify great ideas, even if they’re not our own. Ultimately, we must remember this: the success of one woman is the success of every woman.