Tips on Networking

At the heart of it networking is CONNECTING, not collecting.

Three tips on being a professional who others invite to the table:

  • Be curious about the people you are connecting with.
  • Connect them with resources (people or things) that can help them.
  • Collect friends by telling your story to those who have a genuine care for others.

Questions to ask in a PROFESSIONAL setting:

  • How did you decide to do what you do?
  • What is your favorite thing to do?
  • What are you reading right now?
  • What are you working on right now?
  • What do you need help with right now?

Questions to ask in a SOCIAL setting:

  • What do you do for fun?
  • Do you prefer a certain social media platform for connecting with people?
  • What has been your favorite vacation?
  • Tell me about your favorite life lesson in 3 sentences or less.
  • Where are you from?
  • Tell me about something you’ve learned about yourself in the past year.
  • What makes you lose track of time?
  • What risk are you happy you took?
  • What is the kindest thing someone has ever done for you?
  • What random act of kindness could you perform right now?
  • What is something new you recently tried and loved?
  • How are you making a difference in the world?
  • What does your perfect day look like?
  • What are you working towards that you could use some help with?

But the most important part of connecting is LISTENING.

Listen with your heart, not just your ears. Listening to offer connections to help lift them up is the key here.

Listen well, friend. Listen well.

And then follow-up with making connections. Meaning, get their contact info – phone, email, IG handle, SOMETHING. CONNECT!

Have you ever asked “What could this become?”

You know… I have never done this before but hey it’s 2020 so why not?! 😁

Are there any of you on our team who would like to be added to the Team Moxie business group for 30 days? It is primarily for us to encourage each other, help each other learn how to serve our teams well, provide resources for each other and any other business training that needs to be communicated. (Like website updates, in stock / out of stock updates, insider info on inventory, etc)

I know that there are MANY of you that are struggling right now financially so if seeing “behind the curtain” on what working Young Living as a full time career or a supplemental income would look like would help you than I am an open book! I would love to work with you to reach any goals you may have no matter there size.

*pay a bill
*cover your monthly loyalty rewards order
*cover all those things on your wish list
*pay off debt
*vacation fund
*retirement fund
*work in a field that has unlimited space for growth
*secondary income (C V 19 really made this one stand out for many.

I am so thankful that I had this job that only boomed during the worse of it.

No matter what your reason is we can help. There is no extra fee for you to do this business. There is no stock that you have to buy. We do not have required business bundles. There is no initial huge investment like many other companies. Your kit was all you needed and you all have that already. It is just a matter of I want to be only a customer or I would not mind making a little (or a lot) of money for sharing what I love using and why.

Myself, or your enroller, would help you get started. And like I said we have a group dedicated to this that is FULL of all the info you would need.

Myself, or your enroller, would help you get started. And like I said we have a group dedicated to this that is FULL of all the info you would need. I was sharing with a member of Young Living Corporate about this amazing group (and our business group too) and he said “Lori – do you know YL has THOUSANDS of leaders and members that would give their left arm for this kind of training and resources?! Your team is locked and loaded for success.”

If you want an inside view of what that looks like comment below and I will get you in there. You do not have to stay. You can just be nosey and leave when you are ready to or after the 30 days. I do not want to just be a position of leadership for you – I want you all to trust me and the entire process.

Let’s take the journey to health you are already on and use it to help you hit those goals!

There’s a lot to be said for a little Hard Work & Effort

Let’s compare 2 thoughts of school of “success”.  One is motivated by status and net worth and material possessions.  

The other is motivated by the ENERGY and PASSION and DRIVE to just keep working hard because you love the work so much that it does not feel like “work”.  It’s motivated by your calling.

You love the work so much that you see OPPORTUNITIES instead of hurdles.

You love the work so much that you see SOLUTIONS instead of problems.

You love the work so much that you see connections as true RELATIONSHIPS.

You love the work so much that you use both sides of your brain… so much so that you find yourself being both technical AND creative, even though you aren’t wired that way (and that might even surprise you).

Let me break some news to you, from personal experience:  In those moments you are working to your fullest potential.  That’s how you were created, and that’s what you were born to do!

So get busy!  Put some hard work and HUSTLE into it…

lincolnhustle

 

Today I leave you with my pick of the top 20 quotes on a little hard work & effort:

 

“The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is a little extra.”  Jimmy Johnson

“Let us rather run the risk of wearing out than rusting out.” Theodore Roosevelt

“The average person puts only 25% of his energy and ability into his work.” Andrew Carnegie

“The most practical, beautiful, workable philosophy in the world won’t work – if you won’t.” Unknown

“How long should you try? Until.”  Jim Rohn

“It is for us to pray not for tasks equal to our powers, but for powers equal to our tasks, to go forward with a great desire forever beating at the door of our hearts as we travel toward our distant goal.” Helen Keller

“Your ability to discipline yourself to set clear goals, and then to work toward them every day, will do more to guarantee your success than any other single factor.” Brian Tracy

“Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.” Abraham Lincoln

“Working hard becomes a habit, a serious kind of fun. You get self-satisfaction from pushing your self to the limit, knowing that all the effort is going to pay off.” Mary Lou Retton

“Success is a function of persistence and doggedness and the willingness to work hard for twenty-two minutes to make sense of something that most people would give up on after thirty seconds.” Alan Schoenfeld

“Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.” Napoleon Hill

“If you’re not willing to work hard, let someone else do it. I’d rather be with someone who does a horrible job, but gives 110% than with someone who does a good job and gives 60%.” Will Smith

“Talent is never enough. With few exceptions the best players are the hardest workers.” Magic Johnson

“Don’t wish it were easier. Wish you were better.” Jim Rohn

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”  Winston Churchill

“If you have a positive attitude and constantly strive to give your best effort, eventually you will overcome your immediate problems and find you are ready for greater challenges.”  Pat Riley

“Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.”  Franklin D. Roosevelt

“Life is too short to spend in negativity. So I have made a conscious effort to not be where I don’t want to be.”  Hugh Dillon

“In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.” Bill Cosby

“Be of good cheer. Do not think of today’s failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow. You have set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles. Remember, no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost.”  Helen Keller

“Give your dreams all you’ve got and you’ll be amazed at the energy that comes out of you.” William James

Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance.  Colossians 3

 

A Leader must FIRST lead him or herself

What is a good leader?  I would define a good leader as humble, servant-like, a listener, a teacher, wise counsel, willing to admit mistakes / short-comings, a sower of seeds, a learner… oh, but the list goes on.  But did you see that?  I said a learner.  Contrary to popular belief – leaders have NOT already learned everything.  That’s right: true leaders are still learning.  And if they feel they already know it all then it’s VERY CLEAR that they still have something to learn.

A leader must FIRST lead him or herself.

 

It sounds backwards, but lets consider this:

Stumbling blocks are evident of a leader without self-discipline.

 

So I’ll say it again – a leader must first lead him or herself.

Leaders cannot be healthy or effective leaders if their own stumbling blocks are in their way.  Period.  Is their ego in the way?  Are their own goals in the way of truly guiding those they are leading?  Do they have ulterior motives for the attention / limelight that comes along with a leadership role?  Have they positioned themselves next to other leaders solely to elevate themselves?

 

Am I throwing down some truth bombs today?  Did I step on any toes?  (Shoot – I hope so!)  But hey, it’s a little painful for me too.  (sheesh)

 

So let’s look at the steps healthy leaders take on a regular basis as they continue to grow –

  1. Leaders take time to learn, especially listening to and accepting feedback from others (positive AND negative)
  2. Leaders are not the smartest person in the room
  3. Leaders take time to take care of stumbling blocks
  4. Leaders have mentors
  5. Leaders are readers

 

What are YOU reading?  And has it challenged you to be a better PERSON?  A better spouse, co-worker, teammate, friend, leader?

 

 

Let’s take a look at Teamwork

Teamwork

For me personally, watching any sort of team accomplish something is so inspiring to me.   Especially when the odds are against them… amiright?!  From a flash mob to an underdog team… it’s beyond inspiring when they move in fluid motion together towards an end goal.

“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”  Henry Ford

Henry Ford is an unlikely hero by today’s standards.  But I am not too proud to say that Henry Ford is one of my personal heroes.  Not only did he come up with the whole assembly line process… but he knows his stuff when it comes to the topic of TEAMWORK.  And teamwork kinda rocks my world!  Especially when it’s done RIGHT!

One of the most interesting facts to me is that Henry Ford recognized that his employees would bring him success so much so that he elevated them by treating them as his business partners.

“It is not unusual to speak of an employee as a partner, and yet what else is he?”  Henry Ford

From sports teams to a group of ladies working together on a quilt to work teams to the U.S. Navy… each person brings their own gifts/talents to the team but they are also committed to working together for the purpose and vision of the whole team.  They are supporting each other by doing their own work and doing it well.

Puzzle Solved And 3d Characters Displays Team And Teamwork

If the team was missing any one of those dedicated individuals (in heart or in body – meaning, if they were physically absent or if there were an ulterior motive) the rest of the team members would have to pick up the slack created by that missing part.

The cog work of the team just would not work… imagine, in the picture below, if any one of those cogs was missing or even dislodged (meaning, with an ulterior motive) the rest of the cogs would not be moving in motion with the rest of the team.  One missing cog prevents the rest of the team from doing their part to make the process work.

Computer generated 3D photo rendering.

That’s a POWERFUL image of the importance of each team member being committed to the success of the team!  Isn’t it?!

“Individual commitment to a group effort – this is what makes a team work, a company work, society work, a civilization work.”  – Vince Lombardi

To break it down – successful team work takes 1) individual commitment to add value, 2) a commitment for the benefit of the team, and 3) dedication to the team.  It’s not rocket science… but that endeavor was a success because of teamwork.  So… maybe it is…

Leaders and tough conversations

tough convos

A willingness to have the tough conversations, with the right attitude, shows the markings of an emotionally healthy leader.

A true leader cares about others to the point of knowing when NOT having that tough conversation is a barricade to their success.

A true leader knows when ignoring a topic would impede development of a team or organization.

This type of leader is emotionally healthy, cares for the organization on the whole, is confident but humble, and is big-picture oriented.  This type of leader puts the needs of the organization ahead of their own.

An emotionally healthy leader welcomes feedback, positive or negative, as they humbly recognize the evaluation can better the organization on the whole.  They do not internalize is.  They are not polarized by the comments.  They do not take it personally.  

Tough conversations… they are difficult, vital, and if handled properly productive.

Just be awesome!

 

In the business world, we often make comparisons.  Oh, ok, let’s admit it… in our personal lives we often make comparisons.

Today’s inspiration comes from the Apostle Paul, as he sends greetings to the Galatian churches.

Paul challenges the Church in Galatians 6:1 to LIVE CREATIVELY as do the work we’ve been created to do!  I so love this!!  SO LOVE THIS!  Then he goes on to say…

Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life. Galatians 6:4-5

 

excellence

If you find that you’re comparing yourself to an ideal or even an individual… may I recommend just being awesome?  Live creatively.  Do WELL what you’ve been created to do.  And BE AWESOME!!!

 

Learn more about MOXIE Business Coaching

Ingredients of Powerful Partnerships

Every organization creates transactions.  But, great organizations create powerful relationships through the superior value they bring to the table. (author unknown)

With that let’s look at what I’ve defined as the Key Ingredients to Professional Partnering… 

  1.   Dreams + Plans = Success
  2.   Consider Ethics, Beliefs and Morals
  3.   Train for Guidelines
  4.   Measure Results

 

I cannot tell you the number of talented, smart, witty, gifted entrepreneurs I have met with a phenomenal idea but no follow-through … or no capital… or no mentor… no time… no location… etc, etc, etc.

Or worse yet, and the point of this post, is a remarkable idea and absolutely no desire to invest in the powerful partnerships it requires to walk this idea through to success.

 

I started working when I was 15 1/2 years old.  That spring I decided I was done taking vacations with my family and that I would get a job so I could stay home and have some freedom.  What happened next might surprise you… I worked for one of the worst managers of my lifetime.  Instead of using teachable moments he humiliated me in front of customers.  He questioned my logic in front of staff.  He had a temper the size of Russia.  I learned many valuable lessons while working there.

And somehow I knew instinctively what he did not know about himself yet – he was a good business manager, but a horrible leader.

Needless to say, since then I have worked every job imaginable, working for every style of manager and supervisor out there, working with every type of employee and teammate and under every team structure possible …  and much insight has been gained over the years.  I’ll share some of that now…

Humor me as we explore why it takes more than a great idea to be successful.  As you might guess it also takes a bit of work… and a bit of smarts… and a bit of cooperation… and a bit of luck… some great partners… and the right perspective!

John C. Maxwell
John C. Maxwell

Let’s look at the key ingredients for successful professional partnerships:

 

#1 – Your level of Success is determined by your Standards

Let’s explore what the most important relationship is in our partnerships:  Leadership?  Competent and reliable staff/team?  Faithful and loyal customers?  Vendors?

I would suggest that the correct answer is “All of the above”.

Without any one of these you will not have the other… ok, maybe for a short time.  But in the long run, your customers and staff will not stick around if they see leadership bickering.  Your customers will not stick around if the staff is complaining about leadership.  Your customers will not return if you are no longer providing what they need (meaning, if your vendors are not “delivering on their promises”).

To effectively partner, I would suggest the importance of first taking a step back and doing the following:

  • Dream.  Write down your dreams, mission/vision statements.
  • Plan.  Estimate your short- and long-term goals.
  • Estimate and write down your staffing needs.
  • Determine your best practices:  customer service standards, vendor standards, employee training, supervision training, communication standards, etc.

 

#2 – Ethics, morals and beliefs

When drafting and deciding on your mission / vision consider how your ethics will play into your plan.  Or IF they will.  And how determined and willing you are to stand behind those ethics under fire.  Do not hesitate to ask your partners to stand with you in this decision.

Some individuals are determined to keep their personal perspective / ethics / morals completely separate of how they run their professional lives.

What will your professional life look like?  Blatantly intertwined with your personal beliefs?  Quietly intertwined?  Completely separate?

While in the vision and creation process it is important to consider this stance.  And I propose that there’s no right or wrong answer here. It’s your call.  It’s your vision.  It’s your business.

But I do want to suggest that once you decide, remain consistent with implementation.

Your organization will be strengthened by partners who will stand beside you in this decision.

 

#3 – Train by Style.  Train for Guidelines.

I have personally experienced several aspects of training: effective, non-effective and non-existent.  Face it – management may or may not believe in the importance of training.  But the reality of it is, training involves all levels of management and staffing.

Here’s the thing, if an individual is going to be promoted into a supervisory role sound advice would suggest that they know how to supervise staff.  The fact that they know how to do their daily tasks really well does not necessarily qualify them to manage staff.

No matter how much you like a staff member, no matter how great of a team player they are… no matter how much you like them as an individual… a really great business manager may make a horrible employee manager.  There are two options here:  hire for strengths or be trained to do what you don’t do well.

 

Training Style

Effective training boils down to what style works for the manager and their staff.  Will the individual benefit more from hands on training?  Or is the good ol’ fashioned classroom teaching best?   And yet some have even learned that individuals truly learn by simply watching others… so the classic lead by example style is often implemented.

Do well to determine your leadership style ahead of time.  Discuss with your partners what would be most effective for the overall goal of the team and then be really GOOD at it!

Your organization will benefit from an effective and appropriate training style.

 

Train for Guidelines

As the saying goes, “Your attitude determines your altitude”.  For more on this read:  How High Will You Climb 

Being vocal about remaining positive will be your foundation for training successfully.

Will your staff meetings be over-run by complaints or solutions?  Will your staff be quick to point out known issues or foresee and offer fixes to potential hiccups?  Will you be quick to point out deficiencies of your staff or focus on teaching opportunities?  Will your staff yes “YES – I would be happy to help solve that problem!” or “Sorry – we cannot do that.” more often?

Your organization will benefit from your solution-minded partners.

Be solution-minded or you will be paralyzed by problems.

#4 – Measure Results

Start by taking stock so you can measure your progress along the way.  To do this, let’s go back to Ingredient #1 – Setting standards.

  • What are your Mission / Vision Statements and are you still focused on those?
  • What were those short- and long-term goals?
  • Were you appropriately staffed to meet your goals?
  • How were you going to meet those goals?

And then every month (or quarter, 6 months or once a year) take some time to sit down with your partners and measure results.

  • Are your partnerships as strong and effective as you would like them to be?
  • What steps have you taken to do that?
  • Has the training been effective?
  • How can both leadership and staff be better trained?
  • What went right?  What went wrong?  How did it happen?
  • What can be done better?  And how is that accomplished?

And repeat.  

 

Learn more about MOXIE Business Coaching

Male and Female: He created them

A topic recently came up in conversation with several friends … and while I would have normally not thought twice about it … this time it piqued my interest.

Don’t get me wrong… it’s not the first time I have merely thought about the topic, but it might be the first time I have seriously done some of my own thinking and digging and research on the topic… biblical research, that is.  I haven’t fussed about it or felt the need to inquire and poke around and ask questions and understand the depths of it.  I certainly haven’t felt the desire to “be a trouble-maker” about it.  And believe it or not, I did not feel the need to blast it all over social media.  However, in my search for biblical truth I am finding some interesting and varying responses and stances.  And at this point I want to share that search and analysis with those who might be asking similar questions.

What is the topic?  Thanks for asking.  I’m talking about women’s roles in church leadership … specifically what we can learn from the Bible about the topic… and more importantly what we can learn from Jesus about the topic.

Martha and Mary | Diego Velazquez
Martha and Mary | Diego Velazquez

As a human-with-a-heart I have long been an advocate for people who have been treated poorly or have had certain rights withheld.  However, I would not consider myself a crusader when it comes to equal rights …  and especially not a feminist (as the word was once defined, at least:  angry, defensive and demanding rights).  Nor have I taken up research on the topic in order to justify a position of leadership I’m eager to sit in.  I’m just a curious person.

In my lifetime I have felt much need for justice when it comes to the topic of equal rights… but I also recognize that in some cases certain political or socio-cultural barriers exist.  Loving people through those barriers, accepting diversity and encouraging equal rights is how I took a safe {and albeit comfortable} stand on the broad topic of equal rights.  In my search for justice I have been inspired to action by reading many books on the topic; so needless to say, the topic of equal rights is important to me.  I always want to see the right thing done… and at times I have even been known to stand up for injustice at the risk of my own personal safety and well-being.

I am beyond grateful that God has given me opportunities to utilize my spiritual gifts throughout various roles of leadership in the church… throughout my entire life.  Starting at my youngest recollection of “leadership”… as a high school student I was teaching 3rd/4th grade Sunday School classes and acting as a mentor to junior high students.  I led an on-campus Bible study at my high school.  I facilitated a Bible study in my home.  As a college student I was given an opportunity to lead weekly classes for our college students (with male and female attendees) and acting as a mentor for high school students.  As a young single I was leading various outreach ministries within the walls of our church and in our community … to both males and females.   On various international missions trips I had the opportunity to minister to and with local churches, to college students and out in their communities … again, to both males and females.    On one specific missions trip I participated as a leader and mentor, ministering to church leaders… again, to both males and females.

In all of these instances only one ministry opportunity stands out where I was specifically told that as a woman I could only minister to other women.  I was in Romania at the time.  It was 2002.  As part of a larger team, I accompanied 3 female leaders where we were invited to speak on various topics on a regional church leader retreat.  We were asked us to minister to pastor’s wives and female lay leaders of all ages and backgrounds.  My topic?  What the Bible has to say about sexual purity and my personal journey.

I had, what I later learned, the distinct and unique opportunity to be one of the first women EVER to address the women of this Christian Romanian church about this topic.  (Side note: Imagine the sheer joy my mother experienced when she learned I may have been one of the first people EVER to utter the word “sex” from the pulpit in the entire country of Romania!  We have even joked that this accomplishment should be noted on my tombstone.) 

While I was sharing my personal experience to a room full of women from all places in life, with a Romanian translator at my side, I couldn’t help but notice the older gentleman standing in the entryway of the Church (just outside the sanctuary doors).

I completed my time of sharing and my translator walked with me to the back of the room.  The man at the backdoor was waving us down.  He grabbed my translator by the arm, and I thought for sure I was in trouble.  In a very excited manner (Or was this agitation?  I could not tell until it was translated!) he proceeded to tell the translator that he had specifically prayed for God to send someone to talk to the women of his church about this topic.  He recognized the need (I later learned it was because the women were looking to MTV as a model of how the American women dressed, acted, etc), but he did not know how he could accomplish it.  Having a Christian American woman talking about this to the women of his church just opened the doors for the pastors’ wives and female lay leaders to talk further on the topic.  It was an answer to his prayers!

You see, at this time in the Romanian Christian church they still observed the New Testament rule of women sitting on one side of the church and the men sitting on the other side of the aisle.  The women still arrived to church services with their heads covered with a scarf.  And of course, the women were not allowed to speak in church, even to their own husbands.  (Our American Team was briefed on this, and asked to honor their traditions.  We did so gladly, recognizing their obedient hearts.  They were simply doing what they felt was right to do, according to their traditions and translation of scripture.)

To complete this account of what happened on this trip to Romania, I cannot move on without saying that God utilized my spiritual gifts in a way that, yes, He could have used others to accomplish.  But I answered His call to be obedient in those moments…  and He used my obedient heart and spiritual gifts to share His word and make a difference.  My obedience to Christ’s calling on my life (ministry to the people of Romania) paved the way for other women to continue to address a much-needed topic within their church.

But the collective actions of our Team did much more than that.  According to follow-up from my translators and Romanian friends over the years I learned that the American team paved the way for many modern day updates to come about in their churches.   All of these changes were well and good and within Biblical standards.  For instance, families started sitting with each other in church (yes, the wives next to their husbands).  The Christian Romanian churches eventually moved beyond the New Testament translation and picture of what the church “should look like”.  And through their own scriptural search they found a new picture of what sitting at God’s feet was all about.

And with that, I return to my personal search.

Once I started digging around I quickly discovered that this topic is STILL a rather touchy one within the institute of the “church” today.  And I must say this finding surprised me.  Do a quick Google search and you will run across countless sites arguing all sides of the topic.  Additionally, I’m finding it QUITE interesting that various translations of the same Bible verses have led to such confusion.  And then I realize that when it comes to confusion I shouldn’t be surprised that it exists.  Our enemy, Satan, desires for us to be confused.  It’s his chance to get his foot in the door.  He loves to stir up confusion and discontent.

Books, blogs, websites, articles, white-papers, etc… in fact entire research projects (and more) have been dedicated to this topic.  I talked to both male and female pastors, male and female Christians, church leaders (volunteers) and my own Pastor Father.  I have read various church’s constitutions and bylaws and charters and mission statements to try to comprehend their stance on the topic.  I took impromptu surveys of local church staff at area churches, throughout various Christian denominations.

I dove in to understand nuances of terms like patriarchalism, egalitarianism, complementarianism, hierarchalism, etc… and learned that many people call themselves the same thing, but mean something else altogether.

All of that said, I’d like to highlight a quote I ran across in this search.  I could not better describe how I currently feel about this topic…

“…I want to stress that functional ‘equivalence’ is not the end we seek, but merely a step in correcting the devaluation of women that industrialization and a latent patriarchalism have encouraged.  ‘Interchangeability’ is not the sign of equal worth that justice demands.  Men and women are not interchangeable.  They are uniquely different – different not in their full humanness that each shares equally, but in their gender gifting that they give to each other uniquely when they may function in identical roles.”  – Alan F. Johnson, My Journey from “Male Only Leadership” to “Biblical Gender Equality” | How I Changed my Mind about Women in Leadership: Compelling Stories from Prominent Evangelicals

 

Interchangeable we are not.  That’s what I know.

Complement each other… yes, I would hope so.  Learn with each other and for each other and from each other… yes, I would hope so!  Be open to having discussions (rather than conflict) with each other… yes!  After all a difference of opinion is just that… it’s not a call to conflict… it’s just a need to talk it out as we seek to understand each other’s perspective.  I urge all of us to listen to each other… and above all things, to hear each other.

Several denominations, around the world (have caught up with CORRECT theology and) learned from women pastors for decades… while other church denominations wouldn’t think twice about inviting a woman to speak from the pulpit. Some denominations still abide by their socio-biblical understanding of the woman’s “place” in the church… covering of heads, not speaking in church, only teaching to other women and children, etc… while other churches greatly support and are enriched by husband and wife leadership teams, call on the women of the church to provide guidance and leadership at varying levels, encourage ministry of and to women in their church and train up both men and women alike to be mentors to their congregation.

Not surprisingly, some of the staff at churches I queried had answers that just didn’t jive with me.  They were “OK” with women filling certain roles within their church and leadership teams, but not other roles.  And their reasoning?  Not typically biblical.  More experiential.  Maybe my searching questions, and without judgment I might add, may be enough for them to think again about their decisions… maybe not.  What they do and how they make these decisions is their choice.  There is no judgment here.

Quite frankly, I’m not sure how I would feel attending a church with a female pastor.  Not that I’m against it… I’ve just never been presented with the opportunity.  Before recently I hadn’t really thought about the option.  I’ve never sat through a formal sermon delivered by a female ordained minister.  I’ve attended women’s conferences, funerals led by female ministers, attended Bible studies led by females, been mentored by females, worked with and supported female missionaries around the world … but I just haven’t sat through a formal SERMON with a female pastor.  That said, growing up as a preacher’s kid made it difficult for me to enjoy listening to anyone but my own father when it came to sermons.  But I’ll make it clear, I do not believe there is anything theologically wrong with a female pastor… when it boils down to it, if women were raised up to be revered in their homes, at the gates of the cities, even be queens of entire countries in the secular world… why COULDN’T they be leaders in their churches?

Wrong or not, on more than one occasion I have left churches in the middle of sermons because the male pastor had a voice I just couldn’t stand to listen to.  Petty or not, it was my personal preference.

Mary Magdalene depiction | Peter Paul Rubens
Mary Magdalene depiction | Peter Paul Rubens

I have read a lot of opinions… asked a lot of questions… prayed for wisdom on the topic… sat with several pastors for long conversations… read and re-read various Biblical translations of pertinent verses…  and asked for the Holy Spirit to help me find clarity on this topic.  I recognize that people will have varying opinions from mine.  That’s ok with me.  I expect varying opinions.  I welcome varying opinions.

What follows is what I KNOW and BELIEVE in my heart to be truth:

We, male and female, were created equally… in the image of God.

“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”  Genesis 1:27

Jesus did not appear to have come up with a list of “what women are allowed to do” and “what men are allowed to do”.  In fact, I have found that quite often Jesus challenged the male prejudices of his time!

Jesus was pleased, and defended her, when Mary sat at his feet to learn from him (traditionally a male role).  He said to her jealous sister, Martha:  “Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”  Luke 10:38-42

Women were valued participants of church leadership in the New Testament church.

“I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church in Cenchreae.  I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of his people and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been the benefactor of many people, including me.”  Romans 16:1

(Side note:  please note the footnote on this verse.  “The word deacon refers here to a Christian designated to serve with the overseers/elders of the church in a variety of ways; similarly in Philippians 1:1 and 1 Timothy 3:8, 12)

Every Christian has been given a unique set of spiritual gifts.

Christians go to 1 Corinthians 12 for insight on “spiritual gifts”, and more specifically on their place in the church.  It can be said that our spiritual gifts are responsibilities bestowed on us by God.  This indicates that each has its own place in our lives and in the life of the church.  Even more so none of these gifts are “better” or more important than another.  Each gift, each part is a portion of the whole working together.

“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.  There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.  There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.”  1 Corinthians 12:4-6

And lastly, 

I believe that leaders are defined by their qualifications and character, their personal walk with God, their spiritual gifts and a divine calling… not by their gender.

We are not interchangeable.  We are unique. 

God desires to use each of us in a way that pleases Him and His kingdom.  All He asks is that we are obedient to His call.  This is what I know.

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For additional resources on this topic, see below:

Disclaimer: Please note, these resources may contain various opinions and stances on this topic and may not necessarily depict my views or beliefs.

Books:

How I Changed my Mind about Women in Leadership, by Alan F. Johnson (foreword by Dallas Willard)

Men and Women in Church:  Building Consensus  on Christian Leadership, bySarah Sumner

Beyond Sex Roles, by Gilbert Bilezikian

Discovering Biblical Equality: Complimentarity without Hierarchy, by Gordon D. Fee

Finally Feminist:  A Pragmatic Christian Understanding of Gender, by John G. Stackhouse Jr.

Junia is Not Alone, by Scot McKnight

Fashioned to Reign, Kris Vallotton

Websites/Articles:

Her.meneutics, by Christianity Today

Gifted for Leadership: Women Called to Ministry, by Leadership Journal

The Junia Project