WEEK 3 - Mine the marketplace

Before You Get Started

Welcome to Week 3. Because churches have historically not focused on developing female leaders, many women have looked outside the church to grow and develop their gifts and abilities. Today we are going to talk about how to identify those women and invite them to bring their strong professional skills into your ministry. This is where things really start to get fun!

Below is your next video lesson on Best Practice #3 and your challenge for this week.

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!


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

Video Three - Mine the Marketplace

This Week's Challenge...

Seek out a female leader who is successful in a career outside of ministry and ask her at least these two questions (although I recommend you ask more!)

  1. Have you able to use your professional expertise to serve in our church? Why or why not?

  2. Does our church support you and your needs as a professional woman?

Discuss With Your Team...

  1. What is your strategy for utilizing the abilities of professional female leaders in your ministry? Is it working? Why or why not?

  2. How do you connect with, support and engage marketplace leaders who are men? How do you do this for women? Is there anything you need to change or add to engage both equally?

  3. How can you better use your corporate worship services and messaging (pulpit, publications, illustrations, imagery) to demonstrate to the professional women in your church that you see and understand the challenges she faces?

Video - Mallory Bassham

Mallory is the Executive Pastor for Central Ministries at Gateway Church in Southlake, TX.

Overview - Week 3

Imagine that you are a growing church that has recently decided to jump onto the multisite bandwagon. Even though you had some “okay” systems and processes to keep up with your ministries before, adding these first few campuses has changed everything. The complexity of multiple locations, your staff being geographically separated, and the stress of trying to reach different community contexts is creating all sorts of challenges. You are having to lead at a higher level than you’ve ever done before, and your team, although great, seem stalled and frustrated.

Just when you are about to wonder if you’ve gotten yourselves in over your head, you about a new leader that has started volunteering. And not just any leader, an executive vice-president of the fifth largest bank in the country. Impressive, right? This person oversees 11,000 people in 2500 locations. 25-HUNDRED locations! And God brought their gifts, abilities, and experiences to this church to help them work through their ministry systems and people development to become one of America’s largest and most effective multisite churches.

Did you guess it? Yep – this bank executive vice-president turned church Director of Multisite, is a woman. In fact, Kathy actually started out in her young adult years wanting to go into ministry. But the limitations and frustrations of trying to make a difference in a world that didn’t welcome strong leadership gifts in a woman, sent her into the corporate world where she was listed as one of the Top 25 Women in Banking. Now, thirty years later, God is using all that talent and ability for full-time impact in His kingdom through this local church.

But her story is not unique.

We have an entire generation of female leaders sitting in congregations around the world who have spent decades growing and developing their leadership OUTSIDE the church walls. I’ve worked with spiritually gifted leaders for over 25 years, and they all tend to have one thing in common – they WILL lead. That’s what gifting does – it gets expressed, even if you are trying to subdue it. And if leaders can’t find an outlet in their church, they will often find an outlet somewhere.

But it’s time that we recapture that leadership capacity.

First, I want you to think of some of the professional women leaders you have in your church. Perhaps they are business owners or principals. Directors of marketing or College Deans. Perhaps they work in hospitals or technology or elite hotels.

What would it look like to apply these skills and abilities into your local church? How could your guest experience be better? How could your HR department be more efficient? Where could your digital platform go with some of their expertise? What impact could professional counselors and teachers make on your small groups? How might your leadership pipelines be enhanced with bank vice-presidents, lawyers, and military commanders in them?

Sounds pretty good, right? Hopefully, you have several professional women in your church coming to mind and you are beginning to wonder about what new opportunities you might have for them. But secondly, before you rush off and start recruiting them onto your team, I need to warn you about what’s become known as the “Sticky Floor.”

You’ve probably heard of the Glass Ceiling – those invisible organizational barriers that competent women run into when they are trying to advance in leadership, even though they are more than capable of fulfilling the job. Your willingness to see women and their gifts differently and open doors of opportunity is a great first step in breaking down the glass ceiling. Or, as we call it in the church world, the Stained Glass Ceiling.

But there is another thing that can often hold women back – it’s known as the Sticky Floor. These are the limiting mindsets and internal attitudes that even very successful women have that keep them from

I know that sounds crazy – that you could have a highly accomplished leader who appears confident and capable, yet at the same time, she is internally battling self-doubt, unrealistic personal expectations, and Imposter’s Syndrome. But it’s true.

In fact, when a man and a woman both apply for a job, a man will look at the job description and he feels 60% confident that he can do a good job, he will apply for the job. He figures that he will learn what he doesn’t know as he goes. Maybe they’ll train him. Maybe he’ll have to figure it out – but he will be fine.

A woman, on the other hand, when she looks at a potential job description, she needs to feel 100% confident that she can deliver on every aspect of this job from day 1, or she won’t even APPLY. I’m not talking about turning the job down, I mean that she won’t even allow herself to be considered for the role.

Obviously, this has big implications for how you recruit women onto your team. Primarily, you need to approach them differently. Just putting a job description on the website isn’t going to do it. You need to take the time to personally recruit her. Explain to her why you think she would be good for this volunteer or staff role, and how you will set her up to be successful through training, mentoring and time to learn the job. You might need to give her a bit of time to process and pray through the opportunity. Now, there are some women who will jump at the chance but don’t mistake a little hesitancy from some to mean she is not interested. It could just be that she needs a little time to talk herself through her doubts and internal fears. It doesn’t mean she can’t do the job, it just means that she has been taught to hold back rather than to jump in, especially in a ministry setting where there are often few role models and very little vision casting for capable female leaders.

And finally, this is not just about unleashing the potential of women into your church. It’s also about pastoring the professional women in your congregation well.

Did you know that professional women are one of the largest segments of the population leaving the church? Barna research group reports that 27% of professional women leave church altogether because they fell isolated and marginalized there. Over ¼ of your professional female leaders are leaving.

Why? Because they are not finding their place nor what they actually need in their church. Many of these high-capacity women do what is known as “camouflaging” on Sundays. They wear the façade of whatever stereotype they can fit most closely into. They’ll talk about their kids and how their house is a mess, but they don’t have a place where their church helps them walk the line of firing an incompetent worker who now has no income for their family.

It’s a two-sided issue. On one hand, leaders have a lot to offer and the church should be the perfect place to invest those skills for eternal outcomes.

And, on the other hand, these high capacity leaders need the biblical leadership instruction and spiritual support that our male professional leaders get.

So here is your challenge for the week:

Seek out a female leader who is successful in a career outside of ministry and ask her at least these two questions – although I encourage you to ask even more questions!

  1. Have you able to use your professional expertise in our church? Why or why not?

  2. What could our church do to support you and your needs as a professional woman?

I’d love to hear what you find out. Reach out to me on social media on Instagram, FB or twitter: @kadicole


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