We have believed in women in ministry as a movement since the beginning. But that doesn’t make it easy. We hear quiet rumblings and loud shouts alike that church members sometimes still aren’t quite sure what to do when a woman is put in charge of a church. So, what can we do about it? How can we help current and future female leaders in our churches succeed?
We’ve spoken with two female senior pastors, and two male senior pastors whose spouses are senior pastors. Here’s the advice they shared for creating a culture where women ministers flourish:
Nakisha Wenzel, King’s City Church (Kings Mountain Foursquare Church) in Kings Mountain, N.C.: “Foursquare was founded and led by a woman. This is who we are as a church: inclusivity. Male pastors have to think outside the box about how to support women and provide positions of leadership. This isn’t easy; it will require effort.”
Nicole Cade, Valley Christian Center (Albany South Foursquare Church) in Albany, Ore.: “Leaders are leaders regardless of gender. Many times, the hurdle for female leaders is simply that people can’t picture them as leaders, so therefore there are not opportunities given for leadership. Giving space on a platform for women changes paradigms and perspectives.”
Joe Ingegneri, Grace North Church (Anthem Foursquare Church) in Anthem, Ariz.: “When Marion was being considered as a senior pastor, many of the male leaders saw Marion’s giftings, and they supported her leadership. She listened to department and ministry leaders, and worked hard to educate and lead. Being open, listening and educating helped to create the right culture of women in leadership for us.”
Jon Spellman, Living Way (Adairsville Foursquare Church) in Adairsville, Ga.: “I believe the responsibility for making space, endorsing and affirming always falls to the one who holds the most power. My role as an established male leader in the church carries an amount of power across many contexts. I see it as my responsibility to pave the way and endorse female leaders in the church.”