By way of the eyes of a lady: What I’ve realized about gender, management and the church up to now 15 years, half 2 | The change
In part 1 I talked about my own journey as a woman into the evangelical world. Sure, there were challenges, but I also learned a few lessons that I hope will encourage women to live up to their calling and encourage male leaders to make room for them.
And here's the thing: as long as women are exposed to a secondary status in our evangelical subcultures, it is impossible for all of us to experience the feeling of authentic love that we should all have towards one another. The prejudices I experienced in the evangelical world in those early days were disheartening. They have really influenced my leadership and belief.
This can sound negative. But it is not.
In fact, this secondary status, which I have felt in countless ways over the years, has made the face of Christ clearer to me. It has made his mission more focused and my leadership style more accessible in my life. Because when I approached him with difficult questions like What about this evangelical bubble that I entered? I've heard his answers, some of which shocked me. others who have inspired me.
Let me just share a few key observations from the past 15 years.
First, a true leader in the Church of Christ is servant.
All four gospels cry out from the servant heart of Jesus. As the cornerstone and head, his model and his only one is the only one you can look at. Any leadership style built on ego, self-promotion, and greatness contradicts the call of the Church's shepherds.
Just a long and thoughtful assessment of the difficult questions like "What do I get up for in the morning?" "What is my ultimate goal?" and "What should my legacy be?" can bring us to knowledge if we have missed the sign of true Christian leadership.
Any atmosphere of ego and self-enlargement will cause Christian leaders to distort and reject a true understanding of what it means to be a true shepherd of the Church of Christ.
The discussion about complementarism vs. Egalitarianism and any other form of conversation designed to answer the questions of the larger problem of women's secondary status in many evangelical circles will not lead anywhere.
The answer begins with the hearts and priorities of our leaders – not in a theological form on one side or another that still builds on the broken and distorted hearts of too many leaders today.
Second, Christ is in everything.
"God cleanses his church." This is a statement I have heard countless times in the past few years since allegations and truths about sexual inappropriateness have emerged among the leading evangelical leaders.
Yes he is. But that's not new.
God has always been busy cleaning his church, whether on a public or private scale.
This statement has led many to despair; You concentrate on the cleaning part. Instead, we have to focus on the “God” part. God didn't throw up his proverbial hands in despair. Rather, he is on his mission, which we see in Hebrews 12:
… But God disciplines us for our best so that we can share in His Holiness. No discipline at this time seems pleasant, but painful. However, later it brings about a harvest of justice and peace for those who have been trained by him. (Verses 10b-11)
Our hearts ache for the sin we see in our churches today. And yet our hearts should be happy that God loves us, so that he thinks it is right to do a good spring cleaning.
His eye is on the sparrow … those who have been hurt, vulnerable, harassed and silenced in the church. And he wants them to be properly cared for. He deeply desires that the shepherds lead in his church as Christ calls them to lead.
Third, guttural integrity is a really important trait for all who follow Christ, especially for those in leadership positions.
This may seem like a strange sentence. Why not just say "integrity"?
The simplest reason is that guttural integrity – the kind that is not only characterized by actions – but also expressed aloud – follows the heart of God closely. It is a life that is summarized as follows: I have committed myself to lead like Jesus so that every part of my life reflects this.
Even though Scripture speaks profoundly about the power of words, too often our lives don't. Women in today's church need and should be confirmed for their unique gifts and talents. Many women are better leaders than men. Many women are better advisors than men. Many women are better confidants than men.
Not all, but many. And not because they are women. But only because they are human.
However, too many women are not confirmed for their gifts and talents. True integrity in church leadership is confirmation and honor that is spoken aloud in the presence of others. Perhaps this looks like a strong stamina during a trial period or an efficient work style at a time when everything seems urgent.
Perhaps this is an identification of a latent gift that remains unused, or a word of apology if the manager overlooked a woman's leadership qualities. Finally, guttural integrity means that every person in the Church is worthy of the same admiration and praise.
Finally, women, don't despair because your work in the gospel will not be overlooked.
The remarkable thing about God (among other things) is that God's eye is on you, even if it looks like nobody will notice you and the work you do.
In Hebrews 6:10 it says: “God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love that you showed him when you helped his people and continue to help them. “Even if we perceive ourselves to be of secondary importance here on Earth, we can be sure that this is never the case from God's point of view.
Although I may not be “young” anymore, I still carry my three other qualities with me. I will never be male or tall and will probably stay blonde for a while. However, I've found that modest service and leadership aren't necessarily bad. It is a leadership style that models our Savior, who has sacrificed everything for us.
If we work sincerely as for the Lord, God will never forget the love we show others, whether or not others recognize it. He knows that he has made each of us unique, with gifts and talents that are second to none in this world.
We never have to rely on the praise of others to continue faithfully serving a world in need in his name.
But in fact we are in the past when a renewed theology of servant leadership, integrity and equality is a foundation of our faith. We are in the past when we want to regain the belief that God still cleanses and renews in the dark moments of the Church when leaders fall after leaders to restore.
As a woman who has been disappointed in church more than once, my hope remains. God is in our midst and is working to shape his church into one that actually serves as light in the world.
It is a place to stay. And here both men and women have to sit next to each other at the table.