Women's Leadership Styles Should be Respected
By Xie Zhang, March 11, 2017 03:03 AM
When I happened to be talking with co-workers about the service of women in the church, a brother sighed deeply, saying that all female leaders in the church he met acted like men. That is a cruel truth that even in 21st century, women leaders are still compelled to act like men in the male-dominated society. Is it a requirement for women to be leaders according to the Bible? According to Gohn Gray, men and women are different in many ways, including their ways of thinking and emotional needs, behind which was God's purpose for them to make up for each other's shortcomings.
When the church trains female leaders, it should be careful not to bring the standard for men onto them, ignoring the importance of cooperation between men and women in ministry work. Women do not need to abandon their unique female dignity and characteristics in order to meet the demands of the church and society's culture.
Though the Bible was written thousands years ago when men were in power over women, we can still find good examples which show excellent female leadership. Deborah was a good leader. Though female leadership is known to be strong and domineering, Deborah was different in that she helped the cowardly general Barak to move forward by her listening, encouragement and support. In Deborah's encouragement to the general in Judges 4:14-15, it is clear that she was brave as the leader in comparison to the general. She did not need to prove her leadership to men using strength. The Bible approved her leadership and she was sensitive to find out problems of the people and was both wise and good at encouraging others.
Women lay importance on communication and relationships, the characteristics which men fall short of, and which are very precious in our diverse society where unity and group work is advocated. The general left a good example for men. He was willing to humble himself to accept a woman's guidance in order to work with her. For it is God's will that all of us become one in Christ. (Romans 12:5)
Deborah as a wife also proved that family is not an obstacle for women to become successful leaders.
Being a male pastor, I have always been grateful these years for my wife's help in my ministry. I also know that my growth is possible because of many female leaders. In my ministry, women are needed to use their unique personality to improve the church's health and service quality. I hope sincerely that brothers in the church can accept and respect women leadership and let sisters make good use of their characteristics to bless the church in their service.
Written by a full-time pastor.
Translated by Alvin Zhou
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