WEEK 4 - Integrate Spiritual Formation and Leadership Development

Before You Get Started

Welcome to Week 4. I trust you had some enlightening conversations with professional women leaders this week. As we head into this week’s topic, keep your learnings in mind.

Below is your video on Best Practice #4 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 Four - Integrate Spiritual Formation and Leadership Development

This Week's Challenge...

Think of 3 men who are leading well on your team or in your church – give them a rating of 1-5 on how they are doing in their spiritual maturity and also in their leadership maturity.

Now, think of 3 women who are leading in your church and give them the same ratings.

How do they compare? Why is this? What can you do as a leader to help both men and women grow in both areas?

Discuss With Your Team...

  1. How well does your church integrate spiritual growth and leadership development? For men? For women? In what ways can you improve?

  2. How well does your church help people identify their spiritual gifts and connect those gifts in serving opportunities? Where could you make improvements for women in this process?

Video - Danielle Best

Danielle is the Community Pastor at Liberty Church in New York, NY.

Overview - Week 4

I came of age in the early ’90s when leadership concepts were starting to hit the marketplace and church circles. In today’s world, leadership, teambuilding, and pipelines are a common language, but back in the day, they were new and transformational concepts.

Are you telling me the senior pastor doesn’t have to do everything? A leader’s role is to EQUIP the saints for service, not just perform the service themselves? We can intentionally develop the spiritual and leadership gifts of our congregation and see our impact multiple exponentially? What Jethro told Moses to do can still work today? (blind blowing!)

Like most organizations, churches started adding leadership development classes to their program offerings and the topic began to dominate ministry conferences and staff meeting agendas.

But, here we are thirty years later, and, at least in my experience coaching and consulting with churches, I’ve seen 1 of 2 things happen.

First, because leadership options have been “added on” to a church’s discipleship or spiritual formation process, the two topics stay disconnected.

I learn scripture and bible and godly behaviors over here.

But over hear I learn how to cast a vision, lead people and get people on the right seat of the bus.

And they seem like separate topics, but as a believer, especially as a believer leading in a ministry setting, these two topics are highly interrelated. Our godly character and attitude 100% influences our ability to lead. That tough leadership decision that you have to make better be undergirded by a strong prayer life and ability to hear directly from the Holy Spirit. When these two topics are separated, we get discipleship who don’t know how to multiply their face or their influence, and we have leaders who think that their ministry isn’t growing because they are not good enough. When we integrate these two topics, we teach disciples that their most important job is to lead others into a life of following Jesus and we teach leaders that spiritual fruit isn’t really about them.

But the second thing that happens when the spiritual formation and leadership development are separated, is that generally speaking, women and women’s ministry are under-resourced and under-led. Now, they tend to be over-advertised, but the amount of leadership development resourcing and real accountability from pastoral leadership tends to be much less than their male counterparts.

This is what allows a women’s ministry to have big numbers but little fruit or real impact in the church. They are sort of over here on the side – we like it because it usually attracts a lot of participation. But there’s no development. Those women often don’t discover their unique gifts and callings. They are routed toward roles that continue to serve the women’s gatherings instead of being developed and released for the benefit of the whole church.

And when we keep the development of these leaders separated from the rest of the church, and especially when they are under-resourced, we only reinforce the gender biases that we grew up with.

And, unfortunately, many of the qualities of great leaders, when applied to women, feel negative. Instead of being considered strong and decisive, a woman is negatively thought of as being bossy. Instead of being passionate, she is thought of as angry.

Watch this commercial. It outlines how we oftentimes associate positive words with male leaders and negative words with female leaders.

Video about perception differences between men and women


As you think of the women leaders in your life, imagine them growing up with these subtle messages and how that might affect their understanding of God and their spiritual development. For many men, their leadership qualities are applauded and reinforced by what they are learning in their discipleship experience. Their step of faith is to develop these gifts and maximize them to make a difference in the world.

But for many female leaders, their leadership qualities are labeled as sinful and selfish. Their step of faith is to subdue these abilities, quiet them, and learn to hold back.

Do you see how this could mess with someone’s spiritual growth and view of God? The very core of this message is that somehow she is a mistake. That God didn’t create her intentionally. But when we integrate the spiritual and gift development of someone’s journey, we can more easily identify and develop their gifts and simultaneously, call out their immaturity and character flaws and teach them how to take those to the Lord.


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