They need leaders who can show them how to explore and engage with their call to leadership. Leaders who will assure and reassure them it’s OK to be called, that its more than OK, and though it may be difficult at times, it is possible. They need leaders who can show them through the illustration of their lives, through their testimonies, and their presence out there.
They need leaders who can tell them their stories, their whole stories, their successes and failures, their devotional lives. They need leaders who can open their time and hearts and help them understand what it means for God to work on your character. Who can share their stories of stress, suffering, and struggle, and also faith, hope, and love.
They need to experience leaders who will train them. Who will sharpen their skills, cultivate their gifts, and give them regular tangible opportunities, walking them through success but also failure. These women need people who will apprentice them. They need leaders who are secure enough to open doors for them to go through, willing to launch these women into a future that might be even greater than their own…Now obviously, male leaders can and have trained female leaders. My hope and prayer is that more would, because we need to see healthy teams of men and women who’ve worked out before God how to work alongside one another. We’ve got to commit to the vehicles that help that process.
They also need to be in community. They need to have an extended family. Because we’re not one-dimensional beings whose lives have to revolve around a job or a task. We are also friends, sisters, daughters, mothers, aunties, wives. So we need people to do life with, because when you’re immersed in a community, it’s easier to be grounded. It’s easier to be normal and not take ourselves too seriously. It’s easier to find support and encouragement to keep going. It’s easier to cultivate relationships with people we can confide in or trust to ask the difficult questions.
Can a fresh generation of female leaders come through without it? Are they?
In truth, they are – but it’s more difficult, it’s lonelier, and women are not realizing their potential. That’s a challenging enough thought in itself. But let’s think beyond these leaders and think of the places where God’s sending them. Think about the communities and cities, the people groups yet to be transformed by the love of Jesus Christ, yet to see the Light of the Gospel. What potential lies unrealized there because we’ve not raised up the next generation?
This is not a clarion call for every woman to be a leader, though I hope that every Christian man and woman would have a vision for being salt and light wherever they are and for leading someone to Christ. We’ve all been called to make disciples, all been called to play our role in the Great Commission. But it is a call to those of us who do feel called to leadership, who have wrestled and agonized, who have run away from God’s call or toned things down to be more acceptable – to re-engage with the call of God on our lives.
What do you need to see to be all that God’s called you to be?