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January 9, 2007

Making Connections

Let's get to know each other.



connection.jpgWelcome to Gifted for Leadership! I hope this resource will encourage, equip, inspire, and challenge you. I also hope you will make some great connections here. In the "Connections" area you'll find bios for our editorial advisers and other contributors. If you read them, you'll get to know a little about some great women leaders.

But we'd like to get to you know, too. If you would like to tell us something about who you are, respond to this by posting a comment. It will be fun to see who is joining the conversation. And maybe some of us can find new friends or mentors.

Photo credit: Used by permission of www.clipart.com. © 2007 Jupiterimages Corporation.

Comments

I am thrilled that you are doing this, and excited by the women you have on board.

Here's the problem in a nutshell: after reading your bios, I thought: "my church isn't the biggest church led by a woman senior pastor I haven't written books blah blah blah, so who am I to introduce myself?"

Then I noticed no one else had responded either.

There's our problem. Personally, I'd like to get over it.

Elane O'Rourke
Senior Pastor of a growing and deepening faith community in Northern California (not all that far from the Ortbergs' little church)

Thanks for getting over it, Elane! This is a place for "regular" women who have accomplished all kinds of things as God has called them to.

Hi -
I just discovered this site and am looking forward to reading the posts.

I am a co-pastor at an emerging church in the Chicagoland area. We are about a year old and are just transitioning from being a house church - as in this weekend we are out of my living room and into our own space!

I also coordinate the Emerging Women blog and help put on the Emerging Women gatherings. I have met some wonderful women through that who have really help me expand my perspectives on faith and women in leadership.

I think that women need a lot more support in leadership roles - including good role models and mentors. I'm excited to see this site and hope it can support the women who need that encouragement.

So greetings and blessings.

Julie Clawson

It is about time for this e-magazine. The encouragement and help you give to the women who is out there in leadership is greatly appreciated.
As for who I am. I am not a leader in a church nor do I wish to be. I am,for some reason only known to God, attending a church that still(wrongly)believes a woman can't preach or lead. I am also not a leader in the workforce. Although I do work outside the home in a department store, my main job is to teach, write about and speak about the women in the Bible, including all the laws and customes concerning women in the Bible. I do this to show women that we are be working along side the man in leadership and service. I help show them that God does indeed call women to do His work.
Francine

Hello~

I am a teaching leader/overseer in a parachurch ministry which reaches the community through Bible study, reaching groups from Junior High to adult men and women. My group is an adult women's Bible study and I am also very involved in my church.

I will be quite frank. I hold an opposing view to women who take the responsiblity of pastor or co-pastor of any church. This position I realize will not be welcomed, however, I believe that God's Word is crystal clear on this. Women should not, nor will this writer, ever take a role which God clearly has established should be held by godly men. Women's leadership roles are a necessary, vital function of the church. Godly women are desparately needed to teach and lead in a capacity which supports the church within the biblcal lines of authority. I find it a privilege to submit to the godly Pastor of my church, as well as to the organization I serve in my community. My concern is that worldly influences color and pursuade biblical principals and we dare to defy them in practice. Agrument to the contrary abound, but there is no pursuaive enough argument that can claim authority over the Word of God.

We must stop the attack slogans of "getting over it", as it is personal in nature. If one must feel others must get over it, perhaps that one should indeed reconsider the truth of God's Word on the matter.

Michelle Wilkinson

To edit my previous post:

My apology in connecting the phrase "getting over it" to the post that Amy answered. I unfortunately connected the two and ask you both (Amy and Elane) to forgive me.

However, this statment has been applied often in regards to this debate, of which I regret that I transposed it here. My post stands as it is, with the explanation of the unfortunate connection made in error.

Thank you,
Michelle Wilkinson

Michelle:

Thanks for your post, and for acknowledging your mistake. No offense taken.

Thanks also for sharing your viewpoint regarding women as pastors. Please note that Gifted for Leadership does not exist to try to convince people one way or the other on this issue. Instead, we simply recognize that women are exercising leadership gifts in a variety of ways in the church--whether in children's ministry, ordained pastoral ministry, women's ministry, deaconry, or church administration. For more on our basic philosophy, see my entries "Welcome to Gifted for Leadership" and "Born to Lead."

I hope this conversation will include lots of women who may disagree on this issue but will agree that God has gifted them for leadership and called them to exercise their gifts to strengthen his church. And I hope this community can help us get better at fulfilling that calling.

God bless you in your leadership ministry!

Hi. I would like to join this discussion. I am kind of on the fence about this and always have been. As a woman, I have no problem in having a godly man as a pastor, yet I've met (on line) some women pastors that seem to have it even more together than many of our male leaders.
So I wonder about this. Paul wrote letters to Timothy addressing problems within certain churches and how he handled them. If we took all of Pauls instructions literally, we would still be wearing headcoverings (probabaly veils), and not many churches outside the Amish and Minonites really practice that.

I ran out of space but wasn't finished. Most churches don't have their women in headcoverings, yet some churches don't even want women to sing a solo that might be a form of teaching to men.
So I guess I'm kind of wondering how far do we take this. Before Christianity, women were not permitted to learn, and in the movement, they were given new freedom. Jesus reconized that wome were capable of spreading the word, as he told the woman at the well to go and tell. If we are given a gift (of the gab so to speak) wouldn't the Lord want to use that tool? And why would He want to limit such a tool (a gifted woman speaker) to speak only to women? Do we really believe that men couldn't benefit from such a speaker or that God would be unhappy to have them learn something from a woman they may have never learned otherwise? I've been told in Sunday school that a woman cannot teach a man, yet my husband will tell you he's learned a lot from me. I've also learned from him.
Anyway, I have a lot more thoughts on this subject that I ponder, but this is enough for now to maybe get some enlightening input.

Hello, I am Stephanie Ecke, I wanted to say hello; am intrigued by your topic of Women Leaders and am sorty of appalled at the comments I have read by someone who does not believe women should be pastors. The bible also is clear about stoning and divorcing women, but we don't follow those practices today.

My pastor in San Antonio likes to say that only Christians could mess up something so beautiful as the gospel with so darn many rules! I believe in keeping it simple and "Keeping the Main Thing the main thing!"

Anyway, I am a Counselor and Certified Life Purpose Coach in San Antonio, Texas and I say Hallelujah! to women pastors and leaders! Thank you, Lord for possibilities.

Blessings in HIM
Stephanie Ecke

Dear Stephanie~
It is obvious that your comments are directed to my post. My statement is my convictions on the subject. 1 Timothy 1:2 also states that an overseer of the church is to be married to one "wife', a one woman man. I do not believe that gifts of leadership and pastor are one in the same. God has certainly called women to serve in leadership roles in the church. I am one of them, one who serves joyfully under the order established by God. This is no way undermines my effectiveness, rather it enhances it.
I do not see this as "rules" derived from the heart of man, but by a sovereign Lord. It is Christians who do not want to submit to biblical disciplines who pervert the gospel leading to the division as you mentioned.
Let's indeed keep the main thing the main thing, as in John 3:16 and 1 Corinthian 14, and let order be foremost in the church. For lack of order is disorder, and what this lost world needs to see is order, not division.

Blessings,
Michelle

Dear Sisters in Christ,
What a wonderful avenue of communication I have just discovered! I am the worship chair at our church and also teach an adult class and sing in the choir. We have a female pastor who is wonderful, but she certainly has had her mountains to climb since she began her ministry here 18 months ago, partly because of her color, her sex, but mostly because we are in a state of change and as many of you may be aware, there are people (mostly older) who don't want any kind of change.

About 6 years ago we began holding a Contemporay Worship service on Sunday evenings with some success, but are now running into problems since we asked the congregation to change their traditional schedule to allow for the Contemporary service to be on Sunday mornings as well as the Traditional service.

I'm wondering if anyone else has had this experience and if so, how are you dealing with it?

Amy,
I read the Out or Ur blog and saw this link. A resource who may be valuable to you in the Denver area is Laura Stack. She is an author and speaker on Personal Productivity and she is also a Christian.
Dean

Hey, I just found your site connecting from another CTI site. I live in Tokyo, Japan with my husband and four kids, and our family pastors a church here. Each one of us, and our entire family as a team together, has areas of influence and a message that we are sharing, as much or more by our way of being and our interactions as by the words we preach from the front. Before we moved here, we were involved in ministry in California, both within the context of the church to which we belonged and also by coordinating groups of Japanese Christians to attend conferences in the US. I knew that God had gifted me in leadership, and now that we are here in Japan, He has opened all sorts of doors--my husband and I teach and preach together, I lead women's groups, and we both write articles. It is a team approach to ministry, and God is blessing us. Please keep us in prayer, since Japan is a very dark place spiritually. Will write again!

I found this site via Out of Ur, and will definitely check it out as a resource. I was excited to see Brenda and Sally on your list of contributors, and look forward to hearing from them and others.

I hold a Masters in Divinity from Fuller Seminary and am currently serving as a preacher and teacher in a church plant in South Central, Los Angeles with the Evangelical Covenant Church.

I lead the middle-school group, teach on inner-healing, write, intercede, advise and counsel leadership and laity, mentor and outreach with the youth, provide an editing service that aids Christian speakers, run an e-business, homeschool my kids and a neighbor's, and occasionally speak to women's groups. Nice to meet you all :)

Mighty Woman Of God,

I'm so challenged and excited to send a comment to this site as l'm so lost for words. I'm moved by the mighty works that God seems to be doing in women's life especially as we are beginning to walk in what we were destined for. Leadership for woman has always seemed to cause a stir in the world and if feels good that the stir is of rising Deborahs in our midst and it is about time the world recognised our importance and value.Cant wait to read more...

How many pastors are unhappy and hurt and wounded inside and no one knows anything. They put this smile on and go about quietly keeping everything inside. Bleeding inside. No one could ever know. The warrior is really a broken wounded child.

I too am very excited to see all the possibilities & potential here! I am the founding / senior pastor of a 4.5 year old non-denominational church in Upstate, NY. We've baptized over 40 adults! PTL! I am currently writing a book on Church Leadership for Women as I see such a HUGE need for this. It has been a very lonely journey at times & I am still looking hard to find other female church planters!!!!

Hi, everyone! I know this is far from an original opener, but I can't help but say how awesome this site is! I am a "layleader" in my church at this time, but am in the process of birthing the ministry that God has been calling me to for the past 8 years. That ministry is traveling around our nation (and world) letting women know how relevant God's grace is to our lives today. God has given me the awesome gift (and responsiblity) of being able to put things in very clear and easy to understand terms. I am desperate to share what God has done for me and keep other women from walking around in the dark any longer than they have to! I am so looking forward to sharing with and learning from you all!

I am Jeevaline from India !

currently I am involved in the ministry to the Indian women particularly training and empowering the Dalit- 'the untouchable'-women.Around 100 million of them !

Gifted for Leadership is certainly inspiring and empowering. I am positive that it will en-vision and equip the readers and leaders alike !
God bless your good ministry.

Blessings in Christ!!

My name is Paula Kay from Pennsylvania. I am an ordained minister, worship leader, musician, singer, songwriter, christian counselor, playwright, born-again, Holy Spirit filled Woman of God!! AMEN I am currently seeking a full time ministry position. Since August of 2006 to this point, God has closed all doors at this time and I am seeking His Wisdom and direction in my calling for His purpose. I need a support team and hope that this is one here for me. I am also glad to be a support to anyone here also. May God anoint and bless this ministry and every woman here in Jesus' name. We need each other Sisters!! To God be all the GLORY!!!

In His arms,
Paula Kay

Hello!
I'm a 33 year old single and work at a church as the asistant to a Senior Pastor. It's great to find a place dedicated to Christian women. Thanks for creating this space. I hope to learn a lot from you. Sometimes I just feel so overwhelmed by my duties that I just don't know how I'll survive. I know the answer is God and Phil 3.14 is my "motto" but it's always good to hear from my sisters. Bless y'all!

Hello!
What a thrill to be sent the information on this site this morning. I have spent over 20 years as a management consultant teaching the secular world how to lead and achieve effective teamwork. During that time I have found much more receptivity to use of my leadership gifts in the world than in the church.

At this time I am really feeling called to transform our consulting company into a full blown ministry for the Lord. This leadership site is a real blessing. Finding our niche for the Lord is a continuous journey. So glad to meet some loving sisters along the way.

I have just finished reading all the thought provoking posts. This is going to be great fun. I am not sure that all that we believe our interpretations of God's Word to be, is always what He intended.

One thing I have seen in my 30 year walk with the Lord is that His Word just plain makes sense. When things get sounding silly, I think it is man who is confused.

For over 20 years I have be advising male executives how to reorganiza, streamline and form a team oriented people friendly organization where people want to work and customers want to come. My services, prayerfully submitted to God, have been successful and even sought after by men and women.

In the church, I have mostly found that I have to hide my skills, experience, and abilities, because men leaders do not accept advice or counsel from a woman. Does it make sense that God would provide all the opportunity and learning for me to develop these talents, and then not want them used in His church?

Just a question....Frankly, I love women and I love women's ministries and children's ministries. However, it is hard for me to believe that that is all God has in mind, when he has so blessed my impact on the business world and government leaders...mostly men.

Just a curious thought to ponder.
Your Sister
Cheri

I think its great to have a site like this. There is a definite need for it. I enjoyed seeing the list of contributors--all the well-educated, competent women leaders that are out there. Until about five years ago, I didn't know if I, as a woman, would be allowed to go to seminary (and I'm a GenXer). No one ever told me otherwise, and I certainly never met any women who were seminary educated theologians. So, just having a site that highlights women in this way can put into other women's minds great possibilities.

That being said, as a Christian female leader in my community, I'm not sure yet if I feel connected to Gifted for Leadership. I have always had difficulty connecting with Christian women because I am a thinker type, and in my experience most Christian women seem to want to focus primarily on "Chicken Soup for the Soul," family or pastoral issues.

Where can I read more exegetical articles by female theologians (who aren't necessarily feminist)? Or intellectual social commentary by Christian female thinkers?

I want to know what you all preached from your pulpits last week and why. I want to know what you are teaching in your classes, and what issues you are engaging your students in. I want to know what Christian women leaders think about what is happening in our society and the world around us (besides religious right rhetoric). I want to hear stories about women engaged in the trenches and the impact we are having in our communities and the world (It would be cool to hear from some non-Western Christian female leaders in other countries too). Jeevaline--I would love to read an article about your work with the Dalit.

What encourages and inspires me most is seeing gifted women in action--hearing the stories and listening in on their intelligent examination of Christianity and our engagement with society. I hope we can have more on that for this site.

As for me--I'm single, 33, finishing up my Master's in Exegetical Theology this June. I teach/speak on biblical/spiritual issues in my local community, provide supportive counsel to other believers struggling in their walk, engage in discussions about Jesus with pluralistic minded folk at the secular university I work at, and am working on a book. My hope is to focus more on writing, and also potentially get my Ph.D. in theology/biblical studies.

PS--Someone tell Lauren Winner I miss her blog! She's an example of one who doesn't seem to have gotten sucked into the Christian female subculture bubble. I love her fresh perspectives and intelligent writing.


Thanks for your comments, Karen. I really appreciate hearing your perspective, and I think many of us will agree that we want to see the type of content and conversation that you've asked for. I think you'll be happy to see more of that coming. As we get more established and draw on more and more voices, I think you'll find it appealing. But please continue to let us know what would be meaningful to you.

Hello, my name is Kofo from Nigeria. I am 51 and happily single - never been married and passionate for the Lord having tasted ofHis good ness and mercy.

When I signed into this blog I thought it would be the usual but was very excited n reading some of the articles. it is a God-send and has come at a perfect time in my life. I have printed some of tha articles for 'fellowship' and study later. I was a women leader in my church for years and have had the EXCEPTIONAL opporunity of serving in many ways that very women in the church have had the privilege of serving. As much as I love my church, this particular burden has been a constant burden for me and I can assure you I have not been silent about it either.

I moved back to my country recently and I was very sad to note an even greater waste of women's gift than where I had been serving before. Leaders are not ignorant of this fact and some of the reasons I have heard is that women get too 'uncontrolable' when they are given authority in Church; or when we started growing we felt we should give priviledge to men. But let us not forget however that women led in the same church when it was small and just beginning. The many questions I have asked about the reasons for the change have gone unanswered or at best you get the answer: that's our policy now.'

and this has leed to a whole lot of abuse and family disfuinctions that I can feel the leadership is now struggling hard to correct - without stil realising that it is directly linked to the suppression, oppression and repression of women. Many women in the church would not touch me with a mile long pole because I am vocal about it. this underlying feeling threatened my spiritual health until I resigned recently. Now I watch and pray. I do need some close-by female fellowship but am hesitant to get too involved again (women home groups) because I do not want feel obliged to go whrer I do not want to. And perhaps because I will express my mind and be vocal again and end up being accused of trying to lead the sheep astray

However I have need some fellowship with mature Chrsitian women just to weigh and balance my feelings and I believe I have found many from some of the articles I have just skimmed, praise God! How faithful He is.

Before I finish however I must admit that in spite of the above, from my personal experience(and often in my part of the world, at least) women don't often get along very easily or well and this often saddens me. it is usually linked to a feeling of "Why should you be different from me?"; Why should you not want what I want?or value them as i do etc. What makes you think you have the right to speak up when I don't think I have it? Hostility abounds because of this kind of persistent suspicions and jealousies among women and men play on this - Yes, evenin Church! And all this makes me really sad. But the Lord my Comforter has never failed me yet.

Hoping to keep close to you all looking forward to connecting with one or two specially if God wills.

In Christ

Hello, my name is Pastor Norma Mutsvati. I'm aged 25, married to a pastor,with no child yet.I come from Zimbabwe, Africa. I and my husband are the founders of Kingdom Life Ministries Church and Kingdom Interdenominationa.
I thank God that i am now part and parcel of this network that enables women from all over the world to connect together in the things of the Lord.
Iwould be glad to be networked with many many women. For now May God continue to bless you as you will be doing His work. Please send me email addresses of more christian women.

Hi Everyone
I just discover this sight and it has been so interesting to read your postings. Briefly, because it is not about me, I have been in church work since I was a teenager. My role at our chruch is that of leading the women's ministry. I love to lead - only time will tell how well. Because we serve such a creative God I love tapping into that creativity and that is what has sustained me in minsitry all these years.I live in New England where the concept of church is losing ground.
What a joy to hear from such women a Jeevaline from India - would love to hear more about your work in Dalit. Saw a documentary on HIV Aids and how women are treated - it broke my heart. Kofo, from Nigeria, Norma from Zimbabwe please tell us what you are doing in your countries.We are all in this together. I pray that the influence of the Kingdom of God will be brought to bare upon our world, no matter where we live or how we live out our differences.

This virtual community has been a great place to find women with many perspectives and ideas on the issues and challenges we are faced with in today's culture - within and outside of the church. I appreciate it as a thoughtful resource with engaging conversations and issues brought up. What has been rattling around in my head is that discussion about issues such as leadership challenges are helpful, but what if there is more to it in terms of resourcing each other?

Are there places or forums that we can discuss some of the practical side of the issues that have surfaced within our spheres of influence or community? For example, conversations surrounding issues such as building and restoring trust in a small group setting or the need for prayer "covering", discipleship or mentoring and how to find those connections, etc. I hope I am explaining myself well enough.

Don't get me wrong, I love conversations and the encouragement that comes from finding people thinking about similar things. I just wonder as this blog community goes on and grows, what will encouraging through resourcing each other look like?

Thanks again. It is always a joy to join in the conversations.

Blessings,
Kim
www.emptypraise.com

Greetings,It's so great to see a site dedicated to mentoring and encouraging women.

I have a Mentoring Television(Cableshow called Mentoringtodaysyoungwomen.com)
It's were Older Seasoned Godly Christian Women,Encourage,Teach and Reach out to younger Women. I also have a business "The Christian Interviewer"(shopwordoflife.com/debbie.htm) where I interview Christian Authors and Artist regarding their Literary Work and or Music.
I enjoy encouraging others,I look forward to what I can learn on this site.

Goodness, I feel that I've missed so much since I've just found this site and it's the end of November!
I'm a 4th grade teacher who has been trying for years to become an administrator. I've prayed to no avail to beocme a leader in a public school so I feel that maybe God wants me to get more involved in using my love of God and become a leader in Christian schools. That's what I am praying about now.
I enjoy reading about all of the leadership of women being experienced around the world! wonderful! All for His glory...

I am so grateful to find this site!! I have felt called to serve the church for years, but have not been encouraged by most in the church. I am not even speaking of a pastoral role, but perhaps a Missions Director or parachurch role would be a good fit for me. Can others share their experiences? I would dearly love to study for an MDiv, but am unsure how I could apply it in this context. Thank you!

Some good thoughts here, but I'm not sure if a lot of people will agree with you on thissex
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