For the past 2000 years, men have dominated much of innovation, education, and politics. As I’ve been married to a very smart, strong and talented woman for 16 years, I am very excited about a future of more and more women innovating and leading in the world.
However, my focus is spiritual, and sadly, many religious institutions are often far behind the curve when society makes positive changes.
With that in my mind, here are six reasons why I feel that encouraging, teaching and releasing women into leading spiritually is vital.
1. Women take spirituality more seriously than men.
According to the PEW research center. “American women are more likely than American men to say they pray daily (64% vs. 47%) and attend religious services at least once a week (40% vs. 32%). 1 According to media accounts, women so outnumber men in the pews of many U.S. churches that some clergy have changed decor, music and worship styles to try to bring more men into their congregations. Why continue the focus of male-dominated leadership when the numbers state that not only do we need more women to lead, but they are on average already more serious about their spirituality! As the late Great Leanord Nemoy would say as Spock in Star Trek, “It’s only logical, Captain.”
2. There are more active/ present mothers than fathers.
According to Verywellfamily.com, 80.4% of single parents in the United States are Moms. (2) I think most countries would reflect a similar percentage. When coupled with the fact that parents are almost always the most influential factor in every child’s life, equipping moms to teach and lead spiritually in love can only lead to more stable homes and secure future generations.
3. There are more women than men on earth right now.
According to the US census, there is about one percent more woman than men alive right now. Now, I have no doubt that I have influenced and helped mentor many ladies, but the fact is that I can only guide a lady so far. Whereas all men and woman are created equal, I believe that there are biological needs that create a requirement for ladies to mentor ladies.
4. Jesus and the Apostle Paul were pro-women.
I know many can quote some very harsh sounding bible verses regarding women in leadership, I’ll address a few right now, then provide resources below that link to further in-depth books and papers that will answer any questions you may have on the subject. Now, regarding the controversies of a woman not being over a man:
Firstly, Jesus said to be great in the kingdom we must be a servant of all. He also got down on his knees and washed his disciple’s disgusting feet. Jesus’s style of leadership was specifically to not “lord it over them” but to lend a hand and lift up people to new heights. Secondly, Paul said he doesn’t allow women to speak in the gatherings, yet we miss that he said “I” not we should never. When studying where Paul gives this advice and researching the historical context you will begin to understand that Paul is addressing specific cultural issues, not making a blanket command to all churches. If he were making such commands, then why go against his own advice and encourage and place women into leadership. In Romans 16, Paul names Phoebe a minister, in 1 Timothy 3, Paul gives instruction for who should be leaders: both men and woman.
5. Women have proven themselves over and over as effective, loving and honorable spiritual leaders
Mother Theresa – One of the most amazing people to ever live, and if you don’t see her as one of the topmost influential leaders of our time, then you’re crazy! Heidi Baker – by numbers, probably the of the top three most successful missionary alive today. Her ministry in Mozambique, Asia, UK, and South America has not only cared for tens of thousands of children, started hundreds of churches, and sent out hundreds of pastors all over central Africa, but she has also inspired and helped many times that of missionaries get started. Mrs Catherine Boothe, the wife of William, co-founded the Salvation Army 154 years ago. She was so vital to the operation and formation of the Salvation Army that when William had to take a leave of absence for illness, the ministry did not skip a beat, and Catherine kept things going smoothly. Deborah, the prophetess in the Old Testament, led the armies of Israel to victory in battle and ultimately freedom.
I could do this all day… there are many, many more examples of woman in ministry: Mary Magdalene, who was so much further ahead in her spiritual walk, that when she wept over him and washed his feet with her tears, she offended the other disciples, yet she was the one to see him crucified, and to see Him first at the tomb. There’s Amy Carmichael, Corry Ten Boom, and Joni Erickson Tada. And thousands of others…
6. Women are the experts of love
How is the church meant to be recognized? It’s by our love for one another. What has the evangelical church been accused of over many decades? Not practicing what we preach, not showing love.
In Ephesians 5:33, Paul says, husbands love your wives and wives respect your husbands. According to Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, author of my favorite marriage book, Love and Respect:
- Women generally need more love and know how to love much more naturally than men.
- Men need more respect (honor) and understand it much more naturally than women.
Since they are lead by men, many churches actually do a great job with honor and respect. However, I have found that most churches have a tough time making the hard call to love those around them, especially when it is inconvenient. Is it possible that if we raised up the woman to lead we would see a reclaiming of community responsibility to love others as ourselves?
The Catholic Church has never slowed with their charity/love work, that’s because they have always had a large contingent of women leading by example: they are called “Nuns.”
Does this post excite you? Or confuse you… maybe it offends you? No matter your reaction, my hope is that it makes you think. Because the fact is, the church cannot complete its Great Commission when 60% of the church body is female but the overall statistics for senior church leadership is 10% Female and 90% Male. (3)
I have been walking with God and learning to hear His voice for over two decades, and the Dad in heaven I know, would never hold back his daughters, but encourage them to continue spreading the work Jesus completed on the cross and crush that serpent’s lying, ugly head. As the saying goes, “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”.
Well, what would happen if the church let loose the scorned woman who recognizes the devil at work trying to destroy their families, friends, and lives, unto this earth? What would happen if we allowed them to lead us to teach the devil who’s in charge now?! If my wife, mom, sister, and mother-in-law are any indication, I’d say Satan would have a week or two at most, before he’d need to pack his bags and move on.
Let’s work together with the entire body of Christ, and see what incredible things we can do to make the world around us a better place.
Why not women- Loren Cunningham – Bible study and book and woman in missions, ministry, and leadership.
Releasing women into ministry – A Podcast with Loren Cunningham about the biblical precedent to release women into leadership.
Women Leaders in the Church– A paper I wrote that is an expansion of this blog, regarding women in church leadership.