Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Women in leadership (part 2)

I might have intended to go in a different direction with what I posted yesterday, but I had ended up having an interesting conversation with a friend of mine last night.

I'm wondering if some women even recogize that in their church they might not be considered for certain leadership roles, not because they don't have the aproppriate giftings or skills but merely because they are a woman?

A friend of mine was explaining a weird dynamic that's been happening between the church leadership and her role as a ministry co-leader. More recently, she had been having some difficulty with her co-leader who had been upset that she had not cleared an informal group get-togther. The activity had been discussed as a group while everyone was present (including her co-leader) and she took the intiative to follow up and get the details on paper. She was sincerely confused as what she had done wrong, they were co-leaders. From what I can gather her co-leader felt that she should have asked his permission to send out invitation, and the pastor asked if she was specifially "tasked" to do so.

My friend, was confused mainly, because had she have done the same thing at work - taking the initative and scheduling the get-together - she wouldn't have met any opposition, in fact she might have been praised for her initative. Yet, at church she can't figure out why this, what seems to her, "weird dynamic" occured.

We discussed the structure of the ministry she was involved in, and her official role and expectations, and there seemed to be a disonance in some of it. While she was expected to be a leader with equal leadership, and duties, she felt she was being discouraged in taking the initative in more than one occasion. She also felt this underlying expecation of continually clearing thing over with her co-leader, but the same was not expected from him. The list goes on.

I had asked at one point if maybe her co-leader was intimidated at all by her. She mentioned that someone else had asked the same thing, but she wasn't sure why he would be intimidated. Then I finally asked what I had wanted to ask for most of the conversation. Did she consider the possibility that it might have to do with being a woman in leadership? Turns out that it hadn't even crossed her mind! I asked a bit about her church leadership (outside of the ministry she was co-leading in) and what roles women had and such. Honestly I don't think she had ever sat back and questioned any gender relations in the church. She grew up nominally but had become "committed" several years ago, but she never thought anything of the gender dynamics of a church. I almost felt bad for bringing the topic up. Now she must start wrestling with the some of the same questions I've been confronted with in my own life.

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