Ladies, have you found your voice?

I just finished reading an article from Carolyn Custis James entitled “When a Woman Finds Her Voice” on Christianity Today’s website. You can click here to read the full article.

The topic of women in leadership has always been intriguing to me, but this election year has really heated up the conversation. I have been in Christian leadership circles for almost 15 years now. I have heard a lot of the debates. I have heard the pros and cons.  I have heard scripture used effectively and scripture totally manipulated.  

I have served with some very effective women leaders and some not so effective women leaders. The factors that contributed to their effectiveness had nothing to do with their gender. It had everything to do with them discovering the way that God had uniquely gifted them and living that out in the comfort of their own skin. 

In her article James says,

“While I don’t want to discount the importance of understanding men and how they think and operate, we aren’t men and are giving up something central to who we are if we lose ourselves by imitating them. We end up distancing our very selves from the message we proclaim. We can routinely prepare and deliver messages without connecting our words to our own hearts and struggles, without tapping into the rich perspectives God has given us as women or drawing out of our personal histories with God. “ 

At Cross Point, I get the unique opportunity to serve with Jenni Catron , our executive director. Jenni is a very effective, comfortable leader whom I believe has discovered her unique voice. It’s been a joy to learn from her, walk with her, and partner with her in leadership. There have been a couple of instances where she has been looked down upon and treated unfairly because she is a female in church leadership, but each time, she has handled the situation with grace and understanding.

I think Cross Point and the general church as a whole has a lot of improvements that we need to make in helping women find their unique voice.  I hope and pray this will continue to be a front burner issue for the Christian community over the next couple of years.

What do you guys think?

Opening a can of worms,

Pete   

15 Responses to “Ladies, have you found your voice?”

  1. Harold McKee says:

    First of all Jenni rocks! Just quietly email me the names of those who offended her. (I will pray for them :-) ) And yes this is a can of worms but you have always had the knack of surrounding yourself with great leaders without respect of gender or social status. This is how it should be. Keep it up.

  2. Tommy Sircy says:

    Oh, Pete, you do like to make it happen!

    In the New Testament, we clearly see women in positions of leadership. Now, when it comes to the offices of pastor and elders…….the next sound you hear will be me, clucking like a chicken.

    Seriously, our first concern is not what we feel or think but what does the Word say. From there, it gets a bit more interesting. I’m going to let someone else make their bed on the couch.

    Keep the can of worms open for awhile.

    Btw, I agree with Harold. Jenni rocks.

  3. Well, leave it to a woman to address that can of worms….here goes….I used to be bothered (ego) that women couldn’t serve as elders or on the board. The truth is now that my perspective is quite different. I prefer to follow what scripture says…even if I at one time didn’t agree. I figure….most of the elders and board members have wives….very influential wives. Very very persuasive wives. Amen for the wives! No seriously…..I trust the men with their responsibilities as elders and board members. And I trust that if our church or any church begins to move away from God and begins to behave in a manner that doesn’t honor the Lord, that the consequences will accomplish whatever is for the glory of God. Jenni is awesome in her position and I am thankful that she is there. She is quite a gift and a blessing.

  4. Glenn says:

    Thanks for the visit. Pete, this is an age old debate. It is also a debate that will continue for many decades and years to come. The Apostle Paul was persuaded by a lady called Lydia in Phillipi, she was the leader of the church there. He steps into partnership with them and they help whilest he is imprisoned.

    We have very strong ladies in our church, I dig them, most men feel threatened by strong woman. The debate stems mostly from an innate fear of being immasculated again.

    Come on guys, lets encourage women to become the leaders they were destined to become by Father.

  5. Brian says:

    Well let me join the Jenni “lovefest” I too think she rocks as someone else put it.

    Also a correction, earlier someone said that women can’t serve on the board, but at Crosspoint that is not true. There has been a female on the board before and Jenni is in the meetings now. But I am not sure if she is an official member or not.

  6. Harold McKee says:

    Did Gleen say whilest?

  7. Harold McKee says:

    Sorry Glenn, couldn’t resist.

  8. patrowland says:

    It is most important that a person (man or woman) serve is based on their giftedness. Not that Jenni speaks for everyone women in leadership, but I would echo Pete’s comments. Through out our interview process I was blown away by Jenni’s leadership ability and confidence. What I appreciate about her is that she fulfills the calling of leadership (her giftedness & passion) not an agenda of being a women in leadership. Same on us (the church) for making leadership a gender issue instead of a gift and passion issue.

  9. Jenn says:

    I think that women in leadership are just as effective as men in leadership – if that is their gift. Something that I feel as a woman is that using my gifts of leadership is fine but doing so with the encouragement and prayer of my husband is what can propel me. I find it interesting that we allow gender and age to determine abilities. I think a great characteristic of leadership is being willing to serve, regardless of gender. To me, Jenni is an encouragement. She reminds me that leadership is about compassion as well as detail.

  10. Tommy Sircy says:

    Any of us who took Pete’s challenge seriously, found ourselves searching the Scriptures and prayerfully examining our hearts. That’s a good thing.

    Open another can of worms anytime.

  11. bradruggles says:

    Man, you really did open up a can of worms! Look at all the comments!

    (note to self: blog more often about controversial topics like women in leadership)

    On a more serious note I would echo your thoughts and several of the comments. What matters is are people serving in their areas of giftedness.

    Brad Ruggles
    http://www.bradruggles.com

  12. Brian says:

    pete-i’m all about women in leadership…they are serving using their gifts and that sounds good to me…i’m not about this jazz that women can’t speak or pray or anything like that…i have worked with and heard about some pretty incredible women in ministries…and those very same ministries probably wouldn’t exist if those ladies weren’t leading the way God called them to!

  13. Cindy says:

    I think Priscilla, Deborah, Anna, and many others would agree. . . the women walked with Jesus, were in the upper room at Pentecost and received the gift of the Holy Spirit, served in various leadership positions, and are still called today to use whatever gifts God has given in whatever positions He calls them to. I like that you’re not afraid to be controversial, whether I’m in agreement or not – take it all back to the Word!

  14. Amy says:

    I really struggle with this topic. It goes to the question of whether everything in the Bible is to be taken literally or whether it was written for the times for us to pull the “timeless” things from it. For instance, in Ephesians, Paul says that Slaves should obey their masters. That was the norms of the times. I don’t think that any of us would condone slavery today. During those times, women were also under severe restrictions. It was the culture. Jesus was a radical in His time as evidenced by the equality He showed women.
    I commend you all for having Jenni in a role of leadership. However, I would love to see the church move towards allowing women to be elders and in the core group of decision makers. I envision the day that my daughter says she wants to lead a church and I have to tell her, “I’m sorry, but you are a girl and aren’t allowed.” That saddens me because I don’t think that it is God’s intention.

  15. Pastor Ross says:

    Gen 1:26-28

    26 Then God said,”Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion…27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them,”Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion…

    From this passage in Genesis, I believe that God created women to be equal in dominion and empowerment (blessing). prior to the fall of humanity, there was no hierarchy but partnership. As the church today, I believe it is our responsiblity as men and women of God, to walk in our divine calling as the image of God, in the blessing of God.

    It is time that men within the church begin to empower women of God in all positions in church government because until we do, we truly do not portray God’s image to the world accurately.

    How can one bless without a voice?

    How can one be in dominion without a voice?

    How can women obey God’s mandate of the first blessing to humanity (Gen 1:27,28) if they have no voice?

    If I silence women (or men) in ministry, then I have silenced God.

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