Regardless of whether you’re a man or a woman, leadership is sometimes plain hard. I’ve been meaning to blog about challenges women in Christian leadership face for some time. Glad I finally got around to it.
But, you’re nothing more than delusional if you don’t recognize women encounter way more challenges in leadership than men. This is especially true for women leaders in Christian ministries, churches or organizations.
Yes, I plan to go there–all the way there. I’m gonna talk about male “hangups” and a few issues women may have too.
I could list a million reasons why women face difficulty in leadership, but lucky for you, I’ve narrowed my list to a noble list of five.
Challenge #1: Misinterpreted scripture.
I am no Bible expert. In all the years I’ve been blogging GodsyGirl you’ve never heard me say I’m a theologian. In fact, I’d rather be a constipated, 3-eyed martin than a pastor. Yet, I’ve got common sense and I know my Bible. I have a pretty good idea what it says and what it doesn’t say.
Experience and consistent Bible Study teaches that God has used women in spiritual roles usually held by men. Immediately, my mind thinks of the judge, Deborah. Then I think of Miriam, who had some role in worship. She was also a prophetess. Oftentimes, the term “prophetess” meant someone married to a prophet. I think she was more a worship leader though. Secondly, I think of Huldah. No one talks about her much. Her husband was a clothing guy (so he was not a prophet) yet, she is still esteemed [in scripture] as a prophetess. She is recorded saying “this is what the Lord God says….” Yep, she was a prophet.
God is God. He uses yielded women as He sees fit.
It’s beyond narrow-minded to say God cannot use women in leadership. Still, some people (and denominations) believe this is absolute truth. I feel for my sisters in leadership. They not only have to overcome the snares of the enemy, but they also have to watch out for the traps of ill-informed brothers and sisters in Christ. Sad.
Challenge 2: Some men just have issues.
The second challenge you’ll face in leadership is men with issues (abbreviated as MWI – not to be confused with NWA).
Sorry, let me get back on point.
Some men have mental “noise” originating from previous experiences with women. Maybe their mom was domineering or manipulative and hence, they cannot follow the leadership of a female. Perhaps, mom bullied her way through parenthood thwarting his masculine development and self-perceptions. Now, years later, he perceives every woman is trying to attack his ego and usurp his power.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, what if a guy’s mom was under-performing? If she was dim-witted and accomplished little he could be proud of, this guy may assume all women have limited capacity.
Yes, these are “issues”. The only thing you can do is pray for this guy’s deliverance (and his wife) while exercising patience.
Challenge #3: Girl, they wish they could work it like you do!
Jealousy is a factor for so many people. It’s a snare and a wicked trap to keep you second-guessing yourself. In my opinion, it usually stems from the foolishness of comparisons. You know, comparing oneself to someone else.
Sadly, women in ministry leadership will run into this “green-eyed devil” from both men and women.
It’s wild. Immature people may strive to sabotage the very folks they admire. It’s kind of crazy in a way. The very person “out to get you” likely admires you for qualities they so wish they could possess. Again, be patient. If God gifted you with massive vision and stellar leadership ability, people are going to be envious. It cannot hinder what God has designed. Just keep moving.
Challenge #4: “What if I can’t do it?”
You know this one. That ever-present enemy called “self-doubt” is a huge challenge to women in (or preparing for) Christian authority. I sort of think this one is the most difficult to conquer because it is self-inflicted and organically embedded in one’s own heart.
You know it’s true: our biggest enemy is often us.
If you search scripture, you’ll find lots of scenarios in which the “called” doubted their abilities (or lack thereof). It’s ok. Sometimes, it seems God chooses the weakest among us to solidify His plan of being glorified through us.
Our success resilience and leadership are clear results of God’s grace, power and strength. In our brokenness and frailness, we can still succeed beyond logic. The “wise” of this world watch you in amazement. Never forget our purpose is to be great, big, fat magnets drawing folks to a loving, kind and REAL God!
Get rid of the soul polluting self-doubt and activate your GOD-faith by renewing your mind in Bible study and prayer. Trust God has called you to your leadership role. You will be equipped. You will be sustained as long as you stay close to Him.
You know, I can’t think of anything I wanted to be less than a stupid pastor’s wife. Girl, in my twenties, I think I would have rather married a three-eyed speckled pig than a pastor. But, all along I knew it was part of my destiny.
All the reasons I didn’t want to do this (mostly insecurity), God equipped me with a grace that often confuses folks who know me. Hey, I’m nowhere near perfect, but I am a self-proclaimed vessel of Jesus Christ. On top of being that vessel, I’m an empty one. I have nothing to offer outside of Him. The Holy Spirit supplies the wisdom to support, help or advise others. I’m patient and consistent with my husband – all this is Him! I live in a confidence and ability that can only be supernatural.
Girl, my sufficiency is from Christ alone. And because of Him, I’m able to do anything He calls me to do. So, I don’t feel like a “stupid” pastor’s wife anymore – nor do I think it’s a stupid role. I’m an overcomer with an anointing to live out my life.
Challenge #5. Spousal Challenges
Another common challenge may be that of your spouse.
When wives come into leadership, it can be very difficult for some men. I don’t think it’s as much a reflection on the man’s character as it is on a society that influenced him. Society has held such misogynistic views of manhood that many men feel themselves superior to their feminine counterparts. It’s poisoned their minds since youth.
Be patient with your dear husband. Allow him to define his position in your ministry. I think you have to be careful inflicting your expectations on him. Instead, consider any help he provides as gravy until he is completely on board with your position.
If God has not guided him to take a role in your ministry, be wary of assigning one. Let’s face it: men are created to be leaders. God ordained them as loving, empowering heads of the family. This doesn’t change because of your leadership position. You remain under his spiritual covering for your entire tenure of leadership (and your entire life).
Be sensitive to that. Pray for him often. Pray the Holy Spirit will give you wisdom.
So, that’s my take on the challenges women face in Christian leadership.
One last point: if God called you into a leadership position, step into it. Don’t apologize for it and don’t look to your left or to your right. No! Keep your eyes focused on God in heaven. You are living to please Him first and primarily. Everything else will fall into place. You won’t be perfect and you certainly won’t live up to people’s expectations. That’s ok. Please HIM.