WEEK 2 - Clearly define what you believe

Before You Get Started

Welcome to Week 2 of the Developing Female Leaders course! I trust you learned a lot in your 2×2 conversations. If you are meeting as a team, take a minute and talk through what you learned and any biases you have uncovered in your own thinking.

When you are ready, below is your quick teaching video on Best Practice #2 and your challenge for this week.

In this lesson, I reference a Theological Cheat Sheet that you can download here.

We hope you enjoy learning about this week’s Best Practice and we will be praying for you as you develop the female leaders on your team!

Kadi

If you are experiencing any technical issues, please contact us at kate.lincoln@leadnet.org.

Video One: Seek to Understand

This Week's Challenge...

Download the Theological Cheat Sheet and mark 3 things:

  1. What is the environment you grew up in?

  2. What is your current church’s viewpoint?

  3. What is your personal belief?

Discuss With Your Team...

Take some time this week to have some valuable discussion with your team. Discuss these questions:

  1. Looking at the theological chart, where would you plot your beliefs growing up? Your church’s beliefs?

  2. On a scale of 1 to 5, how aligned do you think the daily practices throughout your church’s culture are with your theological beliefs?

  3. What are your next steps as a team to bring more clarity and consistency to this topic?

Video - Katie Allred

Katie is the Founder of ChurchCommunications.com, and is the Assistant Professor of Software Development and Digital Media at the University of Mobile.

Overview - Week 2

I had the privilege of spiritually growing up in a variety of theological settings, especially when it comes to beliefs about the role of women as leaders in the church.

From my early growing up years in a conservative missions church in the mountains of Montana, to a progressive Christian University in the Pacific Northwest, a seeker style church in the south, a multisite church in the midwest, to leading at an executive level at one of America’s largest multisite churches that actually shifted its view about women in leadership from one side of this issue to the other, I have learned from and fruitfully led in each of these settings. And my love, respect, and appreciation for each of their viewpoints run very deep.

I can honestly say I have no agenda when it comes to your theological view. I value and support wherever you land on the theological spectrum. But, I DO have an agenda. I care deeply about your effectiveness as a team and your ability as leaders to help the women on your team flourish in the calling on their lives and in your church. And one of the top issues that hold women back in ministry effectiveness is that they, and the people they work with, are not exactly sure what is or is not appropriate for them to be leading.

In our research, we found that even in environments in which, theologically, women are free to lead at all level in the church, very few churches have more than one or maybe two women leading at high levels. In many of my interviews, incredibly talented and gifted female leaders were holding back. Or, they felt such resistance from their male peers, that it made them question whether the church really believed what they said they believed.

Think about the type of leaders you want on your team, whether they are male or female. You want someone spiritually mature, right? So that means that they have been walking with the Lord for a while. You want someone who has character and skilled at navigating relationships well. Now I love the potential of a sharp seventeen-year-old, but when I think of the highest levels of leadership in a church, I want someone who has been around the block a couple of times and comes out on the side with the Lord and having faithfully overcome the natural tests of life. You probably want leaders who have professional abilities and mature skills and talents. But you also want a humble heart. Someone who isn’t grabbing for authority or spending time promoting themselves. I like to call these types of folks “reluctant leaders” – they have the ability and willingness to serve but are a little reluctant to go after leadership without being invited first. In other words, they are personally and spiritually mature.

When you put all those trustworthy leadership qualities into a woman, chances are this is someone who has been in church for a while and so she is aware of the differences in theology about women in leadership. Mature Christian women know there is a line somewhere and they are not interested in crossing the line. Mature believers don’t want to knowingly sin. So without CLARITY on where, exactly, your theological line is, you are likely losing out on a lot of leadership potential.

Let me explain:

If this is your theological line:

Godly women, who aren’t interesting in crossing that line or even bumping up into it, will lead way below to make sure that they don’t do something wrong. And there will be confusion even down here about what someone can or should do. There tends to be misunderstandings and a lot of sideways energy exerted way down here.

But this gap up here, this is where there is a lot of leadership that you are simply leaving on the table because your team is unclear.

I talk with a lot of pastors who are reluctant to bring clarity to their theology on this issue. And I understand. It can be awkward and no matter what your position, you are going to have people who won’t agree and might even leave your church over it. But I want to encourage you to lean into this conversation. Teaching God’s Word is one of your primary roles.

If this is new territory, I highly recommend reading Chapter 2 of the Developing Female Leaders book for more information, resources, and suggestions for how to go about this. I also have a Theological Cheat Sheet available on the book’s website, DevelopingFemaleLeadersBook.com, that is really helpful in seeing how to articulate your theology and how your church culture is actually living this out. And our challenge this week will help you get a better understanding if there is any confusion between what you believe and how your culture operates.

When you can explain to your leaders what you believe and why, you not only capture this leadership capacity of women, but you also help the men on your team know how they can support and develop the women they lead. That’s when you’ll start to see some real transformation to your leadership bench! When you’ve got ALL your leaders clearly understanding your theology and, therefore, how to maximize the potential of the women in your congregation.

And that brings us to your challenge for this week. Download the Theological Cheat Sheet and mark 3 things:

What is the environment you grew up in?

What is your current church’s viewpoint?

What is your personal belief?

Then, discuss any discrepancies with your team or a friend and determine what your next step should be to have clarity and confidence in moving your team forward.

If you want to learn more about the theological perspectives, including the backgrounds of Complementarian and Egalitarian viewpoints and my perspective on the 7 ways these play out in church culture, be sure to read Chapter 2 in the book.

Questions?

Have any questions about this masterclass?  Please contact Kate Lincoln on our support team. She’ll be happy to assist!