One of the best moves I ever made as a young church planter was seeing the game changing possibilities of “recruiting” a godly, mission-minded young lady in our sending church named Abbey. She, along with our three church planting wives, proved to be invaluable assets for our team that moved to Boston to start Redemption Hill Church. Let me give you four reasons why gender diversity is mission critical for your plant followed by four ways to make it happen.
Why include women on your team?
Because you want diversity from the start. Why plant in a city if you don’t love diversity? I love church planters because church planters love all people. Their dream Sunday morning consists of greeting an uneducated person with orange skin and two cents to their name who just married a Ph.D. making bank. Pursue diversity early and watch God grow a church that reflects heaven. Part of that diversity should include women playing key roles. Because you will increase your missional agility.The kingdom of Christ grows one deed, one relationship, and one gospel conversation at a time. Diversity expands reach. Who will most effectively share the gospel story with other women in your city? Who will most effectively disciple those new followers of Christ? That’s right. Other women. (See Titus 2)
Pursue diversity early and watch God grow a church that reflects heaven. Part of that diversity should include women playing key roles.
Because women think like women. Let’s face it, men. We are not that good. You remember that guy Adam? He needed a suitable helper, and we are no better than he! You want women leaders to have a seat at the table because they often see what you won’t see and feel what you won’t feel. Countless times I have benefitted from the heightened sense of discernment and affectionate compassion our women bring to the church planting game. Finally . . . Because Jesus did.What’s that sound? The mic just dropped. What’s that feeling? The trump card just got played on you. Women followed Jesus, served Jesus, pointed others to Jesus, and played a huge role in the mission of Jesus. Acts 2 happened, in part, because of the upper room prayers of the apostles and “the women” of Acts 1.
How can you cultivate women leaders in your plant?
Pray with your eyes open. Building a team takes work, but building a great team requires divine artistry. Pray for God to provide workers for his mission (Luke 10:2), but pray with your eyes open. Look for women who display the grace of Christ in character, the heart of Christ in service, and the potential to multiply themselves. Implement a strategy for leadership development.But here’s my one ask: do not limit the participants to men. We have crafted an intentional two-year process at Redemption Hill that helps cultivate our future leaders through theological formation, character development, and ministry experience, but this means you will also need to…
Look for women who display the grace of Christ in character, the heart of Christ in service, and the potential to multiply themselves.
Create opportunities for women to display their passions and gifts. Here’s a novel idea: get women involved outside of childcare and hospitality! Who is going to mentor the women in your Groups? Group Women Leaders (who serve alongside of our male Group Leaders). Who is going to execute Sunday morning logistics? Women Team Leaders. Who will be your future counselors, missionaries, church plant team members, etc., etc.? The majority of your congregation known as “women.” Treat women leaders like sisters. Thankfully, God gave me a great mom and sister, then a spectacular and spunky wife, and now three wonderful daughters (no sons if you’re keeping score!). I believe a church’s leadership team should serve as an exemplary microcosm of the larger church family. That requires a lot of love and not a little time. Like most plants, we do not own office space. It took us a while, but we finally realized the benefit of creating office hours in creative places so we could spend more time talking ministry and simply doing life together. It is true. There is no one right way to start a new church. That said, I feel for any planter who walks alone and for any team who lacks the gift of women serving in key roles.
Published January 20, 2016