Women, leadership and trust

There seems to be a lot of talk about women in positions of leadership in the church emerging or not.  And on how men and women can or cannot be mentors to each other.


As to leadership – we don’t check our brains at the door of the church you know.  We come with all the skills and talents we put to use out in the big old world business savvy,  ability to create, abilities to work with people, abilities to nurture and lead others, even abilities to use technical skills, etc, etc.  We can do pretty much anything we wish to do and often can do it better than a man.  Just as men can do pretty much anything they wish to do and often can do it better than a woman. 


The only roles where we cannot cross over are specific biological ones related to gender and reproduction.  Pretty much every thing else can be done by a person of either sex. The job may be done differently but still be well done. 


In spite of a lot more restrictive traditional roles of women in the world of New Testament and Old Testament culture, women played a variety of roles from prophetess to mother.  And Jesus didn’t let the men around him put women down not a single example that I can think of.  On the other hand the Pharisees and leaders were always being put in their rightful places. 


If God created us to have all these abilities and skills, does it not make sense that he would expect us to use them?  I believe God calls women to do things for him as loudly as he calls men.  An obedient woman should follow God’s call in spite of obstacles the world puts in her way. 


There are women where it is very obvious God has called them into ministry and blessed them with special gifts in this area.  But there are not many women in ministry relatively speaking and if there is no one available to teach me does this mean that I should not be led into a deeper relationship with God by discussing my faith one on one with a male pastor or friend? 


I know the dangers.  But if there were no female physicians and I was ill or in need of medical advice would I not go to a male physician?  I know there are strict standards of ethics and would expect him to abide by those.  I also know that a male physician is aware of the risks and takes precautions to protect himself.  Intimate one on one sessions would be taking a risk and could result in disaster.


In my profession, when I go to meetings, I often will find myself sharing information with a male colleague after all, women are still in the minority in dentistry too.  I don’t know that I would put myself in a position where I would go off into a bar with a male colleague in a one on one situation unless I knew the guy well.  If I knew him well and went anywhere with him it would be because I trusted him.  I also would have to trust myself.  My choice to be joined to and love one man is serious and I know that I will not violate that promise made to my husband.  I trust myself to keep this promise.  My husband trusts me too.  This mutual trust gives us a lot of freedom to be with people of the opposite gender without feeling that by entering into deep discussions or a one on one situation we are somehow violating our exclusive relationship with each other.


I would hope that pastors and others involved in ministry (male and female) could have this type of relationship too.  A freedom to be with other people because they know they can be trusted to keep promises of fidelity to a spouse, to themselves and to God. 

Thats a bit of a long rant – but off my chest!


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0 responses to “Women, leadership and trust

  1. So, we’ll see you for coffee then? Saturday at 9 am?


  2. Toni

    I wish this was funny.

    I have 1 ex-pastor (ex-friend) who lost his ministry, family and faith by falling. He didn’t intend to run off with someone, let alone a teenage girl.

    I have another pastor from when we lived in London who, through great pain and the grace of God, was able to take his wife back and rebuild his family. She didn’t go looking for a lover.

    Maybe if it was only a myth for me I’d feel less strongly about it.

  3. Linea


    It is not a myth for me either. Or for anyone in our church, because it has happened here in the past, different pastor. So, in such circumstances, even though I trust myself and my pastor, we meet in a public place and our spouses are fully aware of the fact we are meeting and why.

    And this may sound rather flipant but I am bound by the ethical rules of conduct of my professional college. Since Randall is a patient, I am thus in a position of power and am not allowed to get involved with him. I hold my ethical obligations as a follower of Jesus to be even more important than that.

  4. I remember the day I realized that it could happen to me…

    Actually, I think I’ll just post it on my blog, rather than here.

  5. Toni

    Yes, Linea, I realise that, although I wasn’t sure that you’d necessarily had the situation happen on your doorstep. I don’t really want an arguement with either of you (especially as I think we mean effectively similar things). But I hate the kind of gung-ho attitude that I’ve been meeting elsewhere especially that says “what the hell do you mean, I might be weak enough to make that mistake?”.

    This has been an interesting time, in a rather emotionally charged way, however. I was also fascinated to see Jen Lemen wandered over to my blog, and that we may not actually be so far apart, at least on this particular topic.

  6. Linea

    Toni and Randall,

    I think we are all probably on the same track – we care enough not to want to see anyone fall into this – so we do take it seriously.

  7. After reading the very last part of your post, about your mutual trust giving you freedom… I got to thinking how much MORE difficult it is for me, as a single woman, to have any kind of meaningful conversation with married men. It just doesn’t happen. Being alone, I just don’t hang around couples much, and since I don’t know any single men, I just don’t get the benefit of discussion with men, except for the banter we have around the office. I suppose I’ll just have to be that much more intentional about getting together casually with couples.