The Local Church and it's Problem Developing Female Leaders

The Local Church and it's Problem Developing Female Leaders

As I peeled back page after page from Kadi Cole’s book Developing Female Leaders, I gained a deep awareness to an issue I felt I understood well.

For the most part, the Local Church has an egregious history of developing high-level female leaders and pastors. Sure, poor theology continues to act as a stumbling block and giant barrier to engagement for some churches, however in circles where female leaders are actually welcome to lead (it’s sad I even have to type that) a glass ceiling of development and unwritten gender biases still exist.

In my early 20s, I remember being completely blindsided by how the Local Church approached female leaders. Being a late-riser to faith, it was baffling to me that a high-level CEO of an organization who might be the best leader in the building was often relegated to a low-level volunteer position in a church.

It made — no, still makes — no sense to me. In the beginning, I approached this topic in total defiance. I figured a few open conversations would shift the perspective many had in-grained in them from birth. Yeah, that didn’t work.

What Cole outlines in her book is a fascinating picture and solution to how the church can do a better job at developing female leaders. I won’t steal her thoughts. Go buy and read her book! However, I want to talk about three specific takeaways from her book.

These are tangible changes we can make immediately to start down a healthy path of developing female leaders in the Local Church.

When You Know it's Time to Leave Your Church

When You Know it's Time to Leave Your Church

If you’re a church-going believer, there inevitably will come a time when you will transition from one church to another.

Depending on your church background, this could be both a strenuous spiritual assignment and a difficult practical task. While I don’t advocate “church-shopping” or frequently leaving churches in general, I do understand that there’s a season and time for everything.

Frankly, it’s incredibly rare for anyone to attend one church for their entire life.

The local churches you see in a community today are widely diverse. It’s fascinating to see the differences in churches that are mere miles away from one another. With such diversity, it’s not uncommon to leave one church one day and drive down the street to try out another church the next week in order to find a church home.

The lifeline of a local church can be exhausting.

There are seasons within the local church that are exciting followed by seasons of stagnation. No church is immune from this. There are new trends and approaches that come and go. On average there are pastoral changes every six years (per LifeWay). There are moments of supernatural God encounters and times you feel like God is non-responsive.

These reasons often lead to a mass exodus of people. When people start leaving, everyone who hasn’t left notices. In these moments, naturally anyone begins contemplating whether or not it’s their time to transition to another church.

So, let’s look at some reasons you should consider leaving your church.

Pastors Were Never Meant to Know Everyone

Pastors Were Never Meant to Know Everyone

For one year, Kayla and I actively served on the Kids Team at a church in Baton Rouge, LA. We asked to be scheduled twice a month -- and in some cases three times. Although this commitment was more than expected, we loved it that much.

The more we were around and served, the more the leaders engaged with us. We knew the Kids Pastors and staff more than just a quick "hello" on a Sunday morning. We often talked about the church, the vision, and how we were challenged by the messages.

During our entire time serving and attending this church we never once had a conversation with the Lead Pastor. We never even shook his hand. 

... and I thought this was normal!

I had no church background prior to attending this church. When I committed my life to Jesus, I started attending a church, reading my Bible, and eventually serving. Through my discovery of Christianity and my experience at that church, I never expected to know the pastor personally.

Fast forward six years -- a couple of new churches -- and many personal conversations later and I've realized my prior expectation is in the extreme minority. In fact, I've often heard this popular statement: "I just need to go to a church where I know the pastor."

Can I lovingly nudge your perspective for a few paragraphs? My suggestion is that despite what we may think, pastors were never intended to have a close relationship with every person in their church.

I think that this perspective correlates with the fact that 90 percent of churches stay less than 200 people in attendance. I don't fault people for desiring a close relationship with other people -- however our expectations that the person should be our pastor is misguided.

Let's think about it.

The first pastor in the Bible was Moses. It was physically impossible for him to be close with his people. Why? There were millions of them. In fact, so overwhelmed by the administration of leading millions, his father-in-law suggested he develop other leaders to meet the needs of the people.

When Jesus arrived on the scene, many instantly decided to follow Him after witnessing His teachings and signs. As His followers increased, He always stayed close to his 12 disciples.

When the Church exploded on the scene in Acts, we quickly see the apostles couldn't handle everything and everyone. They had to raise up team leaders (elders) to lead areas of ministry.

As Paul started planting churches, he would arrive to towns, preach the Gospel, develop leaders and leave. As the churches continued growing, they continued to develop leaders. It's why Paul spent most of his time writing letters to leaders and churches. There was no way Paul could personally know everyone -- even in churches he personally planted.

In fact, the roles God assimilates in the church -- apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers -- were designed for this one functionality.

I'm Sorry Joel Osteen (Part 2)

I'm Sorry Joel Osteen (Part 2)

The reality is, I knew writing “I’m Sorry Joel Osteen (Part 1)” wouldn’t change anyone’s mind about the infamous Houston pastor. Those for him stood for him. Those against him remained against him. Of course, one person’s weekend visit to one church shouldn’t change your mind about the Osteen’s. In fact, I’m glad my recollected experience didn’t.

In all honesty, this two-part blog post isn’t about Joel Osteen or Lakewood church. Rather, it’s based on the church. My initial post served as more of a catalyst of what you’re now reading.

Every morning in the routine of a true millennial, I scroll through my social media feeds to filter through what’s new. While not in this order, I’m sure to see the following at least once.

  • Cute baby picture and ‘month old’ update
  • Picture of a recent meal
  • Fitness post
  • Advertisement post
  • Congratulatory status
  • #mcm or #wcw, depending on the day
  • Link to article or blog calling out specific pastor, denomination, church, worship leader/team, etc.

The last mentioned is the only worth grieving over and the only worth not sharing.