I wanted to close out our Gifted to Lead discussion by featuring the voice of a woman with whom I share a passion. Amy Simpson understands that women are gifted to lead for God’s glory alone. Through her writing and editing at Christianity Today’s Gifted for Leadership, she leads and encourages women on this great journey.
Leadership: Gifts and Giving By Amy Simpson
The Mommy Wars. Fighting over feminism. The ongoing battle between complementarians and egalitarians. Leaning In versus leaving the workplace. Seems we women, even within the church, are intent on battling one another.
And as long as we’re fighting, we will be distracted from the real work God has set before us.
I serve as the editor of Christianity Today’s Gifted for Leadership, a resource that exists to encourage, equip, and challenge women in church ministry. This role is a great way for me to express one of the passions God has given me: strengthening women leaders. Because church leadership is one of the flashpoints in this war between women, at first glance this ministry might look like a line in the proverbial sand, advocating for women to have their equal share of the leadership pie in churches. Gifted for Leadership might look like another piece of artillery, rolled out and armed for another skirmish in another battle over doctrine.
But I’m not interested in helping women fight each other. Nor do I think men and women—or anyone in the body of Christ—should be at war. We’re fools to believe our fight is with each other. “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). Infighting is the most effective way to ensure that, ultimately, everyone loses.
Instead, I want to encourage each woman to do what really matters: to respond to the call God has given her. Whether that means running the best church nursery in the galaxy or delivering a sermon that “correctly explains the word of truth,” mobilizing her women’s ministry for an outpouring of compassion or hearing and obeying the Holy Spirit when he tells her to stop and listen to someone in pain.
God gives his people gifts not for our own enjoyment, not to wield as weapons against each other. He gives us gifts to use in his service, plain and simple. “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us. A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other” (1 Corinthians 12:4-7).
It’s not up to us to decide whether a gift from God is worth using. For those who belong to Christ, “Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15). People—women and men—to whom God has given the gift of leadership must use that gift in service to Christ and his people.
I’m passionate about encouraging women to lead—not for our own glory, the pursuit of equality, the fun of it, or a power grab, but ultimately for God’s glory and the joy of being faithful to the calling he has placed on our lives.
In response to the call God has granted me, I also work as a freelance writer. I eagerly anticipate the release of my new book in May, Troubled Minds: Mental Illness and the Church’s Mission. In this book, I call the church to better ministry to suffering people. I also highlight the story of a woman I admire for her faith and courage: my mother, who suffers from schizophrenia. She is a living testimony to the truth that no one is beyond the reach of redemption and hope through Christ. And the road my family has walked, while not an easy one, has become part of my calling, for God’s glory.
Amy Simpson is editor of Christianity Today’s Gifted for Leadership, a freelance writer, and author of Troubled Minds: Mental Illness and the Church’s Mission (InterVarsity Press). You can find her at www.AmySimpsonOnline.com and on Twitter @aresimpson.