I will most likely be a off my regular posting cycle this month since I have several articles being published and some changes in my schedule. So we have a leadership topic on a Tuesday. Specifically, I am excited to share part one of a three part mini-series I have written for the Missio Alliance‘s #ChurchTrending theme.
Can the Church Lead the Way, Part 1 (Women and Leadership)
Is the church, meaning the people of God, leading the culture or is culture leading the church? This is a vital question that gauges whether we are on-mission in proactively building God’s Kingdom or merely basing our efforts on catching up with what is culturally happening around us. Any amount of verbal response is not nearly as important as how we are practically living out our mission.
A secondary point to ponder is whether all Christians understand their universal call to lead in the first place. At various points in life, we can all have a lack of knowledge or theological understanding concerning our cultural calling. It is paramount, however, that the church collectively embraces its responsibilities to lead the world. There are two major hindrances that prevent us from embracing this calling: first, whether we care to admit it or not, we are often too busy following the ways of the world and second, we are too distracted with inward fighting and divisions.
There are at least three divisions within the church which hinder our effectiveness to lead the world: 1.) Women and Leadership, 2.) Racial and Ethnic Reconciliation (which often includes layers of socioeconomic injustice), and 3.) Generational Conflict. Christ died for the whole church—which includes women and diverse people groups—to impact all nations and all creation for all time. So what would it mean for a collective “us” to honor the power of his death and resurrection in the ways that we lead?
To get our spiritual house in order, we must faithfully live as reconciled people within the body of Christ. For Christ communicated the importance of unity in his High Priestly Prayer of John 17:20-23. There, he interceded for his disciples concerning their ministry and message of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18). Today, we confront the challenge of reconciling our conclusions about women and their leadership.
I recall listening intensely to the 2014 Justice Conference simulcast where a pastor whom I respect made the statement, “There is no older injustice in this world than the injustices against women.” That statement hit me in the chest, and shortly thereafter, he directed his comments to the men in the room and said, “Let women lead!”
“That’s interesting,” I thought because my mind does not recall a time when I—a woman—did not lead. My peers in middle and high school thought I was a leader when they voted for me to represent them as Student Body President. Those formative years of dreaming, vision casting, setting goals, following through, and asking others to join in lay the foundation for my becoming an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps. Leadership was a gift and skill that was affirmed and nurtured long before my personal relationship with Christ was cultivated. I did not come to the church for permission to lead.
Continue Reading at Missio Alliance.