Carolyn Moore’s When Women Lead is exactly what we need—written by a woman who has planted a church from the ground up, who had babies and children and teens, who has a husband, who has people routinely asking her how to defend women pastoring and leading, who realizes that resources for women leading in ministry are not as plentiful for women as they are for men, and who realizes through it all that being a woman leader today is different than leading as a man—especially in the church. When Women Lead is not a response to the complementarian movement, nor is it a biblical defense of women standing behind a pulpit or sitting in the leader’s chair of an elders meeting. It’s a pastoral theology of leadership that should be read by every seminary student. And by those who work alongside them in ministry. And, in fact, by anyone who cares that women have a place at the table.
When Women Lead is about what it’s like to lead as a woman in whatever context God has called you to lead. I loved this book, especially Carolyn’s wit and wide-ranging reading. She starts by showing how much of the conversation about women in leadership is based on a fall-accepting worldview when what we most need is a new-creation-based worldview that knows the kingdom of God, the very message of Jesus, has already been launched. A kingdom-shaped worldview starts in a different place—with redemption, with the power of the Spirit unleashed, and with transformation occurring. Because it does not begin with our fallenness but with the unleashing of the kingdom, When Women lead forms a different vision.
Carolyn also—and this was a painful reminder both of what I have heard and a painful unmasking of what I had not heard—informs us of the differing expectations for men and women in leadership, whether ministerial or otherwise. The odds are stacked against women (in case you didn’t know), and the system is rigged. And while there have been some improvements in recent decades, we are far from fulfilling the vision of kingdom redemption for the sexes. What does it mean for a woman to pastor or lead in ministry while pregnant and giving birth? What challenges does she have with self-image and calling during menopause? Check, check, check. Each topic is unmasked and examined.
As a seminary professor, I believe many of my students think of church ministry as preaching sermons, teaching the Bible in Bible studies, and leading meetings. But ministry—in fact, all spiritual leadership—is first and foremost about people. It is about working with people. No two are alike, and not all of them are even likable. Ministry is mentoring and coaching people when not all want to bend in the direction you are headed. It’s about pastoral care and holding hands and visiting people in the hospital, attending to unpredictable needs and predictable problems. It’s about drug addictions and single mothers and cancer and divorces and marriages and pandemics. When Women Lead is a wise pastoral theology about what it’s like for women to lead in the variety of different ways women are called to lead today for God’s kingdom purposes.
Leadership is not always easy. It’s a grind. There are weekly routines that demand attention, require expertise and wisdom, and never seem to let up. It can grind up a person as well, to the point where one’s identity in Christ is lost. Whether your leadership involves speaking a prophetic word, a pastoral word, a rebuking word, or a wise word, you will find this an indispensable resource. It provides a comprehensive understanding of the kingdom, of calling, and of the many and diverse tasks of ministry and leadership held by women. Far from theory, this is the nuts and bolts of actual ministry.
It’s a gift. One that will give more than you may be able to take.
This is the foreword to When Women Lead: Embracing Your Authority, Move Beyond Barriers, and Find Joy in Leading Others by Carolyn Moore. This resource is designed to help men and women better understand the unique leadership challenges of women leaders, and to help women design strategies so they can flourish in life and work. We can help women who lead to hold more realistic expectations and employ more effective strategies by giving them solid data and proven strategies to move beyond survival so they find joy in leading others.
- All women looking to learn more on how to be a leader in all areas of their life.
- Men looking to partner better with, and empower the women in their life
- Groups that want to learn together and discuss what it looks like to have women lead in their church and communities.
In these pages you will:
- Engage with Carolyn and her first hand stories
- Learn ways to practically become a better leader
- Be inspired to grow as a leader in your communities