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.
Learn more about A2’s ministry here.
“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?
Absolutely! The question itself is surprising. Women lead in the home, in business, in non-profits, in sports and entertainment… Why is the Church different? Actually women lead in the Church already. What we need to address is not ‘if’ women should lead, but why this question is still an issue. Marginalizing women in the Church is like cutting the Body in half and not using it.
I believe that women are necessary and vital in leadership when it involves discipling other women or in a supporting role, however I think we must be careful to make sure we follow what scripture speaks on the subject. The tendency today is to follow the mass feminist mentality that has distracted from what the Bible speaks on the subject and the mandates it expresses. As believers we must always confer with what the Bible says as a whole as well as the specific notations regarding leadership roles. The church has a tendency to follow the latest trends and find ways to fit the Bible into backing up that ideology, rather than letting the Word of God mold our ideology through His directives and words.
This is always a sticky subject, which I have seen both views being very fanatical about it, almost enough to cause divisions among the Body of Christ. All I can say for anyone having to deal with such a situation is to seek God in prayer & apply His answer to the situation.
I am familiar with Paul’s teachings that women should not have authority over a man. I fully agree with it. If there was a man and a woman, both qualified to perform the same work in a leadership role, I would choose the man, not because I am sexist, but because the Bible declares it (but once again, prayer should be used as well). However, if there was only a woman who was qualified for the leadership role & no man is clearly qualified for it, I would choose the woman to lead (once again, prayer should be a factor as well). Many feel (& I agree) Deborah had to be a judge for Israel in the Book of Judges, simply because there were either no men qualified to do it (which is pretty messed up because Gideon called himself the least qualified, yet delivered Israel as a judge & mighty warrior; the problem appeared to be a matter of men not willing to be used of God, so God chose another & will choose a woman if no men are willing to be used).
Once again, consider it in prayer & apply God’s answer to the situation. In America, women have much more rights & respect in this country where they are able to lead if God calls them to it. However, there are many other countries in the world that believe that women have no fruitful opinion, so a woman leader trying to evangelize such a culture may find tremendous obstacles due to just being a woman. There are opinions out there that if a woman is running a country, it is thought that the country is weak because a woman is able to achieve enough power to rule it. In such situations, prayerfully consider the situation, look to God, then proceed. It could be that God will raise up a man for such as this, or will bless a woman to break down such barriers. Nothing is out of God’s power, but we must be very careful to put someone up there who appears to be qualified, when prayer would have revealed that God has a plan completely opposite of what we see in the flesh (Think David; he was the runt of the boys of Jesse & Samuel almost overlooked him until God told him that David was the one God has selected to rule Israel).
All in all, will I lose sleep if I meet a female pastor of a church? Not really, for if God is doing work there through her, who am I to stand in the way of God? But it will be a sad day to find that the reason there is a female pastor is because the men are unwilling to serve God & God had to select a willing vessel which happened to be a woman.
May the Body of Christ be blessed & spread the gospel throughout the world.
Galations 3:26-29 “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
I Tim. 2:11-14. I do not buy the argument that men, women, or anybody in particular need to be “empowered.” We are to live within the restraints of God’s Word — period. Christianity is not about Christians. Christianity is about Christ. When God endows His people with gifts, He is always faithful to give them a platform to exercise those gifts. But they ALWAYS come with restrictions. We exercise our gifts to glorify God, not “empower” ourselves. When we use those gifts outside of God’s clearly defined boundaries, He will not honor it. I’m certain that God has good reasons for telling us that women are not to be leaders over men. I also know that there have been rare exceptions (Deborah in the book of Judges comes to mind), but those also have good reasons behind them. Those are, as I just said, exceptions, not the rule. It is unbiblical for God’s people to search out the exceptions to make the case for whatever it is they want to do. I can give you about half a dozen excellent reasons why women should not be leaders. Please feel free to contact me if you want to know more. God’s Word is exceedingly plain on this matter. There is really nothing more to discuss, is there? I’m saddened that this is even a question. God has spoken; that’s plenty good enough for me.
Oklahoma City, OK