Wisdom for Women Called to Lead
Sarah J. Koontz
July 8, 2017
Recently, I was chatting with a friend over Facebook Messenger. She is a single mom and recently has been led to step out to start a church/prayer center with her sister. While talking with her, I remembered my own struggles accepting my calling and figuring out how to juggle ministry and family. There are so many misnomers out there. So much misinformation has been drummed up by the doctrines of men over the years, but that’s not what this article is about.
There’s also been so much struggle for women as God calls us out of a place of hiddenness into a faith journey to discover our destiny. For those of us with a calling to places of prominent leadership, the challenges are very real. There are certain aspects that I believe are particularly more intense for women.
Disclaimer: Of course, I do realize that everyone is different. Possibly not all, or maybe not any, of these apply to you. That’s ok too. God knows we are all as different as fingerprints.
Women are Sensitive
Well there it is. I just lost half of you as you read that header. Before anyone jumps to conclusions, let me explain what I mean. Women are, for the most part, more spiritually sensitive than men. They sense things more easily. They know things more quickly. They are aware of the spiritual atmosphere more quickly and usually more intensely than men. When a woman is sensitive to the spiritual environment, it can become a distraction easily.
Distracted From Destiny
I had a friend once that was so discerning and had such a strong seer gift, she couldn’t go to many places because she would get overrun with negative feelings and senses. Granted, she needed to learn how to bring that gift under the authority of God in order to use it properly, but still. It was, without a doubt, distracting. Also, it has kept her from engaging in certain places or with people, which has definitely affected her destiny.
Spiritual sensitivity can cause you to become so distracted that you lose sight of your vision. As women, we must train ourselves to stay focused on our mission, vision, or calling and ignore the spiritual chaos and drama that tries to pull us in. Keep your eyes on the prize!
Father, help keep us focused on your will. Forgive us for being distracted by things that have nothing to do with our lives with You. In Jesus name, amen.
Women Have Been Marginalized
In Kris Vallotton’s book Fashioned to Reign, he points out that women have been the most oppressed people group in history. In his book, he walks the reader through testimony after testimony of women being marginalized, put off, put down, and limited. Whether or not anyone wants to acknowledge this truth, it is still very real to the women that have to live it and are having to live it.
“We have failed to realize that Jesus founded the women’s liberation movement more than two thousand years ago. Isn’t it high time His Church led the revolution?” –Kris Vallotton
Because women have been, by and large, brought up in churches with a mindset that says they must be subservient, they have had very little experience in leadership roles. There are not many church leaders who have stepped up to train and groom women to lead in top roles. Not many women have been encouraged to step out and up into prominent places of leadership-not within the church, anyway.
This has caused an effect on women that works against them to subvert their calling. I’ve witnessed women have one of two responses when they know they’ve been called to step out but have been raised to feel undervalued and marginalized. They either are completely terrified, doubtful or insecure or they are manipulative to try to get a position.
Let me give you two examples:
Aimee Semple McPherson
My sweet friend I mentioned in the beginning of this blog first contacted me on Facebook with ministry questions. She was enrolled in a class in which I was helping moderate and asked a simple question about prophecy. Well, the question quickly turned into a chat session in which I gave her a testimony and encouragement. She had just confided in me what her dream was: to start a church/prayer center with the focus on helping the broken and lost in her community. She revealed her heart to reach the outcasts. Then she asked me a question that made my heart sink: “Do you think He (God) would have a single woman start a church, though?”
I wanted to cry. I knew this question came from a place of having been dismissed and diminished by people. I knew in that instant that my friend was probably very strongly gifted in an administrative way. Because of that, she had been lied to and told she was “bossy” or worse. She had, no doubt, been lied to by Pharisees that have told her more of what she can’t do rather than what she could do, in Christ. I was sad for her. I had one reply for her: “Aimee Semple McPherson.”
I then sent her a link to info about Aimee. For those of you who don’t know, Aimee was an evangelist and forerunner in her time. She founded the Foursquare Gospel Church and was the first person to start Christian radio. She also revolutionized the typical church service by including costumes and plays in her sermons. She was beautiful and talented. She also had small children that traveled with her and was married three times. She was the epitome of controversy in her day, but also an epitome of a woman who decided to throw off convention and follow God into her destiny. Ladies, you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.
Father, those of us that have and timidity in us, replace it with boldness and determination. Forgive us for being fearful of man. There is no fear in Your perfect love. In Jesus name, amen.
I was a part of a ministry once in which I worked closely with some women. There were several of us working together in this ministry, and it was a relatively new endeavor. I was led by God to be a part of it, due to my interest in the subject. In one of my previous blogs, “Did You Lose Your Keys?”, I talk about some keys to discovering your destiny. Filling the hunger of interest is essential in finding out what you are called to be in the Kingdom. So, at that point I was still in discovery mode and filling my hunger.
I found myself going through several levels of training and wound up in a weekend session for a few selected people. I was invited into another person’s room, and she and I talked for a good thirty to sixty minutes. Now, she was confiding in me about several things and asking my advice. She worked very closely with leadership, as I did.
After that weekend session, I made the decision to leave that ministry. My husband and I prayed and waited for confirmation, and I left. There were several reasons for declining the position, but first and foremost was that I did not want to be involved in what I was watching play out. Between a few women, there was a lot of vying for “favor” with leaders. I had no desire to try to get “positioned” to gain authority. When it came down to it, the leaders and the other ministry people had a secret meeting about me in which the woman I had advised used the advice I had given against me. To this day, she has great favor with those leaders, and her husband is in leadership.
I know that this tendency in women comes from a place of being overlooked and underappreciated. One of the traps of insecurity is the temptation to flatter and gain favor with people. Sometimes women can be so devalued in their soul that they think their only worth and value lies within what they can do. Some people are hungry for leadership positions in order to feel powerful.
Ladies, trust God. You’ve been given all authority in Christ. You can do all things through Christ. When you trust Him and enter into His process, He’ll give you more than you ever could achieve on your own.
Father, forgive us for being tempted to manipulate. We forgive those who have treated us as “less than.” Help us to trust You in order to have the patient endurance to walk out our destiny. In Jesus name, amen.
Take Off the Mask
This is another common issue I have witnessed. In social circles of women it goes something like this: Suzy, Jenny, and Janet are sitting down for coffee. The three friends are talking and catching up while enjoying each other’s company. Suzy makes a comment about her weight. She needs to lose ten pounds. Jenny quickly chimes in and ensures Suzy she’s not fat. Janet says something to the effect that maybe Suzy should lose some weight if she feels that way. Instantly what was a peaceful conversation turns into a tense showdown. What will they do?
Suzy is offended. Jenny is dumbfounded. Janet is matter-of-fact. Jenny steps in and sides with Suzy and says no, you look fine. Suzy tries to choke down a sip of latte and asks Janet what she thinks would work. Janet mentions a diet plan and a fitness routine she’s been on. Suzy swallows hard and says maybe I’ll try it. Jenny chimes in and says if you two are I will too.
They all scramble to come to some sort of agreement…all the while denying the division that just happened.
When they depart, Jenny calls Suzy and they talk about how that wasn’t right. Suzy decides to not meet them for coffee any more. Jenny pleads with her, but Suzy is offended. Thus the friendships end.
This is such a trap for women. There are two parts in this that I want to highlight:
Denial is Not Unifying
Women do this thing when disagreement hits. They, for the sake of smoothing things over, quickly try to come to the middle ground of agreement. Listen. You can’t agree with someone who is off just for the sake of making peace. If someone is bringing division into the camp, you have to take note of it and possibly confront it. You can’t make an agreement with that or you have just buried a time bomb in your foundation.
Denial and overlooking offense are not the same thing. When you overlook an offense, you are fully aware of the offense and the impact it will potentially make in the future. You guard and monitor the situation in order to protect the people involved. When you go into denial, however, you pretend like the person has done nothing wrong. You trust them beyond what your conscience says is right. This fosters a denial induced victim mentality as you claim you had no idea the problem was coming when the bomb goes off.
Responsibility = Authority
It is not “being mean” to use diplomacy when guarding and protecting what God has entrusted to you. It does not make you bossy to tell people to stop causing division. You are going to need to grow a stronger backbone and a thicker skin to be in leadership. It’s called stepping into your authority and allowing God to have the preeminence in the situation. Love has limits; otherwise, its anarchy.
Father, give us a healthy perspective of leadership roles. Help us to be diplomatic because Your word says the leaders are held to higher standard because they are responsible for what happens to the people. Grow in us stronger backbones and thicker skin. Help us to love with limits. In Jesus name, amen.
I seriously could go on and on with this topic. I still haven’t written about children, work, husbands or boyfriends. I could and probably will write another blog at some point, maybe even a book eventually. Who knows?
The point I’m making here is that in order for women to rise up into the dynamic places of leadership God is calling them to be in, they are going to have to focus and put everything into perspective. Allow God to heal their souls and step out into a realm of mostly uncharted territory. Yes, there are several women who serve in all types of roles. But even in those situations, I’m willing to bet that they ran into some of these issues while moving along the path of destiny.
Ladies, God wants you to succeed! He has so much more for you that you ever imagined. The sky is not the limit because in God there is no limit to your potential!
Sarah J. Koontz
Sarah J. Koontz is a creative prophetic voice called to bring people into reconciliation with Father God through Jesus. She is called as a mouthpiece for God as well as having a mandate to lift up, encourage, and help leaders stay the course as they take ground for the Kingdom. She is called to raise up the next generation in prophetic gifting to further mature the body of Christ and to bring Heaven to Earth.
Sarah teaches prophetic art class in her local church with her friend Leah. She also co-leads an online prayer group as well as a prayer and fasting group trough her local church. The goal of both groups is to create a spiritual engine to bring momentum to the move of unity in her area.
Her and her husband Josh live in rural Illinois. They have a prophetic ministry that functions both online and locally. They have 2 creative teenage children. They also have a cat that is remarkably affectionate and a goldfish they found orphaned on the side of the road.
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