Developing women in leadership for the Great Commission

By October 21, 2019

USA (MNN) — Women are a powerful force for the Great Commission, but modern missions hasn’t always included women well or known how to empower women in ministry.

This is what Wendy Wilson wants to rectify as the executive director of Women’s Development Track and the mission advisor to the Missio Nexus network for development of women.

Wilson says, “I think we’re at a time when more of our agencies are seeing that they have maybe missed an opportunity. [We are] reevaluating some traditions [and] some ways we’ve functioned sort of on autopilot that sometimes have left women out of that loop — to our detriment — so that men and women are working together more effectively to see problems and to innovate solutions. All the research says that our outcomes are far better when men and women are working together.”

(Photo courtesy of Daiga Ellaby via Unsplash)

There are women gifted with strong leadership qualities or with expertise on subjects valuable to ministry. However, Wilson says many Christian women don’t recognize their own potential in the Great Commission.

“There are other layers around that. Some are structural in the organization. Some are theological in organizations. Some are personal kinds of barriers.”

One personal barrier Christian women face in ministry leadership is confidence.

“Often I think because maybe women haven’t been in those roles, there’s sometimes a confidence issue that has to be overcome…. Even when they’re asked, sometimes they turn it down or they think they’re not able for whatever reason,” Williams says.

“So we deal with some of the external barriers and pathways and the internal barriers and pathways so that we can be the people of God more effectively as men and women working together.”

(Photo courtesy of Priscilla Du Preez via Unsplash)

Women’s Development Track and Missio Nexus want to intentionally develop women in roles of Christian leadership, not so they can overtake men, but so they can come alongside and better inform Gospel missions with their male counterparts.

“We want to make sure that they are bringing themselves and their gifts fully to the work they’re doing [and that we are] giving them what they need to do their best work. That means women of all life stages and areas of gifting.”

Wilson says especially on the global mission field, female Christian leadership shines a spotlight on the plights of women — and how Jesus speaks to them.

“There are so many cultures where there’s embedded abuse as accepted practice just because of power structures and strength issues and the way women are treated. We’re working in these fields and this is going on and it gives us some understanding of ‘What does the Gospel do in our lives so these things also are changing among the people of God?’

“So it’s like a full circle and I think that we are sitting on a really important opportunity in our time related to the fulfillment of the Great Commission.”

(Photo courtesy of Mateus Campos Felipe via Unsplash)

For further reading on Christian women and leadership, Wilson recommends “Half the Church” by Carolyn Custis James and Mary T. Lederleitner’s book, “Women in God’s Mission.”

“What I would really like to see happen among the people of God is that we really start taking up a new look at what it means to be the people of God as men and women in particular.”

Ultimately, if the Church can have honest and biblically-based conversations on how to empower women in the Great Commission — ones that honor the authority of Scripture and give grace to one another — we can grow as a Body and better represent the Gospel.

“When things affect the way we’ve always practiced, there can be some fear,” Wilson says. “But if God is going to lead us into those things and toward where He is, that’s what we want. We want to let the truth take us wherever it will, wherever God will lead us with that. We want to be willing to change our practice in any area and any generation as He leads and corrects.

“Pray that we all have courage and grace and humility toward each other as we explore some things that are close to our hearts.”



Header photo courtesy of Ben White via Unsplash.

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