As a woman serving in ministry over the course of many years, I have often been asked about my position on women in leadership, especially from a biblical perspective. It seems many want to “choose” a side and want me to do the same. Personally for me, it’s just never been a major issue.
I really never thought of being in leadership as a direction for my life. God chose otherwise, and to be honest, maybe being “bossy” as a kid indicated I’d lead somewhere, some day! But truly, I never knew or dreamed I’d serve the Lord in the way He has called me to do, first on a church staff, then through a denominational role. The only way I’d have done it was out of obedience (even if I kicked and screamed along the way!).
One of the first people I met when I began working at LifeWay was Selma Wilson, who at that time was editor of Journey magazine, our devotional for women. She didn’t know what God would do in the coming years as she led faithfully in various capacities at LifeWay Christian Resources and modeled effective leadership in general (and for women specifically) in a way that I know brings joy to our Father.
I particularly love (and identify with) Selma’s comments in this portion of her interview:
I am a conservative evangelical woman, so I work with mostly men (this is actually the case in most of the publishing industry, regardless of your theological view, really). In my situation, I have been so very blessed to have male supervisors along the way that have truly modeled what it means to be servant leaders and have respected my gifts and my role. They’ve empowered me.
For me, I don’t feel that I can’t be a leader even though I would identify with the complementarian view, and I have convictions about roles in the church and home that are different than the culture might have.
I am aware of the discussions about gender, but have stayed focused on the work before me and given most of my energy and leadership influence on building strategy, team, and building a successful plan for positive outcome. To be honest, I have run into gender role issues only a few times in my own leadership journey. Simply put, I’m empowered here.
When I was on a church staff doing missions and women’s ministry, I too, worked with an almost all male staff. Like Selma, I sought to keep my focus the current call in serving. Because I was so busy doing that, other things just weren’t important issues for me. I never felt limited in what God asked me to.
I’m not sure what your leadership journey has entailed as a woman, but I would just encourage you to walk so close to Christ, that when He whispers “walk this way,” “take this step,” you will see His hand leading, guiding and opening any door for you that He has chosen to lead you through.