When my husband and I are entering a building, he is kind enough to open the door for me. I appreciate it even though I am perfectly capable of opening the door for myself. But, I rather like it when he opens the door for me. Makes me feel special.
There are plenty of doors that men are more than happy to open for women. For instance, the door to the restaurant. The car door. The front door. Among many others of all kinds. But there are other doors that are a bit harder for some men. And that would be doors to leadership. I’m referring to church leadership in particular.
It is true that men hold more leadership positions than women. Most of our pastors, deacons, trustees, bishops, etc. are men. Since that is the case, if a woman is going to have a place of leadership in the church, that door will, in most cases, be opened by a man.
Many men are open to women in leadership. For five years I was the lead pastor of a wonderful church in Oklahoma. Restoration Church has the most amazing leadership. Their deacon and trustee board consists of five awesome men that were completely supportive of my ministry.
They opened the door of leadership wide for me when they asked me to submit a resume to be their pastor. Not only were the men on the board supportive, the rest of the men in the church were supportive as well. (I can’t tell you how grateful I am for them) I have experienced a great deal of support from my church and from my male colleagues in the Assemblies of God.
Sad to say, however, not all women are having doors opened for them. Some men are just not yet comfortable opening doors to leadership for women. Not everyone has accepted the idea of a woman in the role of lead pastor, associate pastor, or board member.
So, what’s a woman to do?
When God has gifted a woman to lead and a man holds the door of opportunity but does not choose to open it to her, what is that woman supposed to do? When she has gifts that can enrich the church but isn’t allowed to use those gifts because she is a female, what choice does she have?
First of all, here’s what I would advise a woman not to do. Don’t try to bust through the door and force your way in. That just never works out well.
Secondly, don’t wear a chip on your shoulder. That does no good either and is quite unbecoming.
Thirdly, I would tell that woman to be persistent and keep preparing. Never give up.
God will ultimately open the door anyway. That, my dear sister, is the bottom line. If the door you’re seeking to be opened is supposed to be opened, no man (or woman) can keep it shut. God will make a way.
Open doors of leadership for women have less to do with men not opening them and more to do with whether or not God wants the door opened in the first place. It all boils down to “what does God want” and “will you persevere”.
Let’s not lament the fact that there needs to be more doors open for women in leadership. Let’s educate the leadership in our churches on the validity of women in positions of leadership according to the Word of God and let’s prepare ourselves to step into those roles when the doors open. Because they will. Doors will open. So be ready when they do.
I think this is a conversation worth continuing. In my next post I’ll share a resource that has changed my life and ministry. It opened my eyes and helped me understand a few scriptures that previously had me baffled when it comes to women in leadership.
Ladies, if you feel like you’re sitting behind closed doors, don’t worry. You’re time will come Just be patient and faithful. And never stop preparing.
Photo by Brad Montgomery