Book Review: Developing Female Leaders


Developing Female Leaders by Kadi Cole was a very unexpected, and much enjoyed, book for the summer.  I learned about Kadi when I heard her mentioned on some podcasts as someone who was really helping churches learn more about roles for women in the church.  Kadi’s thoughts are mostly refreshing as she has a ton of respect for denominational differences…and is very clear on what Scripture has to say regarding women.  She isn’t trying to push some crazy agenda, but she is pushing the church to look at where they might be missing out on some great input from the women in their congregation.  I certainly don’t agree with all of her points…I’ve never found an author I agree with completely…but I’m so grateful for the way that her writing has really caused me to think and study farther.  I’d love to grab coffee with Kadi sometime and hear more of the ins and outs of her adventure in leadership.  Great read!

I highlighted several things while reading and posted those notes below…

  • How could these leaders be expected to do things differently if they did not understand why these perspectives and actions are not helpful? Location 418
  • If we clearly have needs that a female leader could fill and we have qualified women available, what is the holdup? Location 470
  • Our early discipleship programs (pre–high school) need to include intentional gender-based programming in which little girls and boys get to experience and experiment with all the roles it takes to become and make disciples. Location 558
  • As you come alongside a woman, ask questions, listen, and learn about her unique viewpoint, you’ll be able to uncover any misconceptions that are holding her back. You also hold incredible power to help her see herself differently, realize the potential that she does have, and open doors of opportunity that she might not otherwise know exist for her. Location 618
  • Some “sticky floor” challenges that often hold women back include not leveraging mentoring relationships, not learning how to present themselves effectively, waiting for their hard work to be recognized by someone else rather than confidently articulating it for themselves, and not knowing how to confidently negotiate for their own value (such as schedule, salary, and benefits).13 Location 646
  • Clearly articulating your beliefs is one half of bringing clarity to this issue; the second half is aligning your practices with what you believe. Location 756
  • The more aligned your beliefs are with your practices, the clearer and more empowered your female leaders will be to maximize their potential within your ministry. Location 793
  • Spend some time with your team and other leaders talking through your own theological understanding and your church’s beliefs. Compare this to your everyday common practices. Do they line up? Where are the discrepancies? Would someone in your congregation be able to see the alignment, or is there likely confusion? How well are your congregation and volunteer leaders living out these beliefs? Location 972
  • One of the advantages the church has is to be able to watch and interact with leaders long before offering them a job. Volunteering is the best job interview process ever. Consider it your farm league system. Look around. Who is spiritually leading well? Who seems to resonate with your culture? Who is succeeding? Who is developing people? Who is naturally building a team? Those are your leaders. Location 1,062
  • When you are creating space for women leaders, make sure that space is reserved for those who already display basic leadership competency. You are sifting for gold; don’t be fooled by a shiny rock. Location 1,076
  • The gift of administration, on the other hand, is based on the Greek word kybernesis, a unique term referring to a shipmaster or captain. It literally means “to steer” or “to rule or govern,” and implies guiding or directing a group of people toward a goal.4 This gift is similar to a gift of leadership, but is usually more oriented to organization, structure, and accomplishing tasks to achieve the goal. Location 1,095
  • Any professional who transitions into ministry will need guidance, and women are no exception. But since there are fewer role models and more difficult dynamics, you’ll have to be more intentional to bring up these conversations, offer coaching, and provide resources to help a female leader transition in a way that keeps her healthy and fruitful in the marathon of ministry. Location 1,206
  • Emotional intelligence (EQ) is the ability to recognize, understand, and manage our own emotions and then be aware of how our emotions impact other people, especially when we are experiencing stress.18 When it comes to leadership competency, EQ has widely become recognized to be as important, if not more important, than traditional IQ (intelligence quotient) abilities. Location 1,509
  • “People don’t grow where they’re planted; they grow where they’re loved,” says author Bob Goff.23 Location 1,558
  • As Peter Scazzero wrote, “Mature spiritual leadership is forged in the crucible of difficult conversations, the pressure of conflicted relationships, the pain of setbacks, and dark nights of the soul.”27 Location 1,584
  • Relationships literally rewire our brains for better or worse. In healthy, supportive, positive relationships, our brains develop new capacities and new ways of thinking, and we are able to achieve higher levels of performance. Location 1,644
  • For example, let’s pretend that Kayla is responsible for all weekend welcome teams at her large campus. She oversees the logistics for all weekend services and special events, including the five volunteer teams made up of more than one hundred greeters and ushers and communion, parking lot, and information table volunteers. If Kayla’s title is “assistant,” those one hundred volunteers will likely answer her emails and come to her if they want to make an appointment with the pastor she works for. If her title is “coordinator,” most of those one hundred people would come to her with questions about their volunteer schedule or if they needed a new name tag. But if Kayla’s title is “director” or “manager,” those volunteers know that they can also go to her for a problem they are facing on the team, with an idea about how to improve the flow of people after services, and to make an introduction of a newly recruited volunteer. And if her title is “pastor,” then they also know they can go to her for spiritual guidance and prayer, to get help with a problem in their family that the church might have a resource for, and to update her on how the small group they tried last week turned out. Location 2,356
  • Leadership is a healthy and balanced combination of both responsibility and authority. The more aligned these are, the more effective and healthy your teams will be. Location 2,631
  • Adding qualified and competent female leaders to your teams and projects and in significant leadership roles is an important and effective way to communicate change. Also, inviting women to speak, share their testimonies, or participate in a panel during a message can be very impacting, as can adding female speakers to any guest teaching plans you have at your church during the year. Location 2,832
  • As Verna Myers said, “Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance.” Location 2,837
  • Press on and keep the vision of diversity, and its benefits, at the forefront. Move your friendship time to nonwork hours. Fewer inside jokes and a few more minutes to fully explain something in a meeting is well worth the trade-off in kingdom impact.Location 2,894
  • Here are the top ways to get clear on your calling from our female leaders….
  • 1. FEAST ON GOD’S WORD Location 3,345
    • “Do not be afraid,           [your name]          . I am your shield, your very great reward.” (Genesis 15:1) Location 3,352
  • 2. EMBRACE BEING A MISFIT What great biblical leader wasn’t a misfit in their time and place? Leaders, by definition, don’t fit in. They go first. They see things others can’t see yet. The fallenness of this life bothers them more than it does other people—that’s why they are the ones who do something about it. If they fit in, are laissez-faire, or think like everyone else, then they are following, not leading. Location 3,359
    • As Christians, standing alone is required, and especially as leaders. Learning how to confidently stand where we are supposed to be, without the need to defend ourselves or put others down, is part of the overflow of our deep understanding of who we are in Christ. If our identity is built in Him, being a misfit makes sense. Location 3,368
  • 3. STEWARD YOUR GOD-GIVEN GIFTS Location 3,374
    • God has called me to use my gifts in this role at this time. To try to be someone else is to miss what God wants to do now through me. Leadership is personal because how I lead is an expression of who God has made me to be. Location 3,387
    • When I get to heaven, God is going to ask what I did with what I was given. He’s not going to ask my boss or my husband or my pastor. He is going to ask me. (He will have different questions for them.) Location 3,390
    • Get affirmation from people you trust and admire. Location 3,395
    • “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise from another place . . . And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14) Location 3,417
  • 4. ALWAYS SAY “YES!” Location 3,419
    • If God is calling you to it, He will equip you to do it. It may cause you to prioritize differently, lead at a higher level, and get rid of things in your life that are lower on the priority list, but these are all good things God probably wants you to do anyway. Location 3,421
  • 5. DON’T HOLD BACK Location 3,442
    • “Iris, in the movies we have leading ladies and we have the best friend. You, I can tell, are a leading lady, but for some reason you are behaving like the best friend.” (Arthur Abbott in the movie, The Holiday1) Location 3,443
    • I don’t want to leave any more ground unclaimed. I want to conquer all the places God has ordained for me, big and small. Location 3,470
    • Growing an “Enough for Everyone” mind-set is critical in helping to free ourselves from self-imposed limitations, and being used by God to create healthier and more abundant environments for women leaders around us and those who will come after us. Location 3,530
  • “Embrace feedback and find ways to minimize your blind spots.”  Location 3,703

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