International (MNN) — Putting women in leadership has been a controversial subject since the turn of the century, both in sacred and secular circles. Over the next few days, MNN will investigate the issue as it relates to global missions.
The goal of this mini-series is not to debate or choose a side (i.e. women leaders are better than men leaders, or vice-versa). Instead, these reports explore the advantages and disadvantages of women in leadership roles, as well as ministry opportunities and challenges the issue presents.
“We’ve got to expand [our] investing in women,” Joe Handley of Asian Access (A2) states boldly. “It’s important that we empower and platform people from any walk of life.
“It doesn’t matter if they’re women or young people, [a] different ethnic group, whatever; we need to empower [people] to expand the Kingdom.”
Empowering women leaders
A2’s mission is to develop and empower national church leaders who can share the Gospel and make disciples in Asia. While that has traditionally involved training men in leadership skills, A2 has been “branching out” in recent years to include women.
“We’re not doing it big-scale yet,” Handley clarifies, “but we have a vision to ‘ramp that up’ in the future.”
In one Asian nation, unnamed for security reasons, A2 has been training women in leadership skills for several years.
“The results have been profound,” says Handley. “They bring together women four times a year for an intense, deep dive with Jesus, and an intense, deep dive with ‘how do you grow as a leader?'”
At the quarterly retreat, women in this country are mentored by other female leaders and taught how to develop the leadership skills God has gifted them with.
“The six of us attending A2 from our church are all cell group leaders, and we have changed,” says one participant in a written testimony. “Through A2, we have learned that the Christian life is not just about performance or service, but rather our personal relationship with God. We want to help our brothers and sisters deepen their relationships with Jesus as ours have deepened.”
Please pray for A2 as they develop this area of ministry.
“We know that we’re just scratching the surface,” Handley admits. “We need a lot more work in this area.”
Tomorrow, we’ll explore the advantages and disadvantages of placing women in leadership with Kӓrin Primuth, the only female member of A2’s Board of Directors, and Wendy Wilson, leader of the Women’s Development Track for Missio Nexus.
In the Comments section below, please let us know what you think: should women be placed in leadership roles? Why or why not?