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How to Lead Dominating Male Leaders

Three things Ive learned as Ive led dominant men

It’s a good thing I didn’t know all of the challenges I would face when I first became a lead pastor. If I had, I may have done a “Jonah” and ran in the opposite direction. I had no idea how many different hats I would need to wear or how many diverse personality types I would have to learn to relate to.

As a recovering people pleaser, one of the most challenging people groups for me to lead in the church are strong, dominating male leaders. In the DiSC Profile, men and women whose personalities are strong and dominating usually fall into the D category. When the score on the DiSC Profile shows people with a D personality trait that’s significantly higher than the other three, they are referred to as a “high D personality.”

One of the things I love most about people with high D personalities is that, according to DISC Insights, “they think about big picture goals and tangible results. They are bottom-line organizers that can lead an entire group in one direction. They place great value on time frames and seeing results.” They are great leaders to have in any organization, and they know how to get things done.

Still, the D stands for dominant. High D personalities almost always prefer to lead, rather than follow. This makes them a challenge to lead. One of their biggest weaknesses is that “they tend to overstep authority, as they prefer to be in charge themselves. At times they can be argumentative and not listen to the reasoning of others.”

The Gender Difference

Even though both men and women can be high D personality types, I find it easier to lead women who have this personality than men who do. I have many theories on why. First of all, men and women communicate ...

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Thu, 28 April 2016 08:00:00 CST
I Grew Up with Two Women Pastors

Seeing two women lead our church gave me the freedom to pursue the gifts God had given me.

I was brought up under the leadership of two women pastors, Sister Opal Eckert and Sister Mary Slaughterbeck. It was a small country church, and God chose these women to mentor me in leadership, especially church leadership. These women knew how to serve others, loving and caring for those around them. They knew their Bibles, not only for information but for transformation. They knew how to pray, and we spent midweek prayer night on our knees before God. It’s a rare occurrence to have two women pastors, but I’m thankful I had the advantage of having women role models that developed me for kingdom work. These women continually shaped me by their prayers and leadership. Their spirit has gone with me throughout my life and ministry.

Not only was I led by two women pastors, but also I had dear female friends who were pastors, worship leaders, evangelists, and so on. I was surrounded by the women of God, single and married, in a variety of roles, so I stepped into leadership more rapidly than may be the norm for females. Seeing these women serve the kingdom gave me the freedom to seek out what God wanted for my life. I never thought “I can’t” because I saw these women teaching and leading.

Throughout my teen years, these women mentored me in teaching and preaching. Because of their leadership, I was teaching Sunday school by age 13, teaching adults by age 14, and preaching by age 16. They gave me feedback, support, and love in the midst of mistakes. They encouraged me to be a student of the Word and to let the Holy Spirit speak to me as I studied and prepared messages. When I started to preach, one of the pastors assisted me in preparing, delivering the message, and making improvements.

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Mon, 25 April 2016 08:00:00 CST
Ministry Is a Team Sport

Though my instinct is to isolate, Im learning to let others carry me.

According to Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, 30 to 50 percent of Americans are introverts. Perhaps this is one reason independent Christianity appeals to many of us. You know the type—the Jesus-and-me mindset where we forge on alone, just us, our Bibles, and our Lord. It’s a good, good life.

Or is it?

A decade ago I was sitting on my dorm room floor, sobbing over some boy (you know who you are, Greg), when my roommate arrived.

“You okay?” Kelsey asked.

“Yes,” I sniffled. “Jesus and I have some things to work out.” In seasons of fatigue, fragility, or fear, I curl up in a down comforter like a hermit crab and wait for everyone to go away. This was obviously her cue to leave. But to my dismay, she sat down.

“Court,” she said, “sometimes we need a prayer that’s stronger than our own.” I mulled over this borderline blasphemy. My prayers are strong enough, thank you very much. Yet she didn’t budge.

Fine,” I said. “You can pray for me, I guess.” She put an arm around me and asked God to heal my heart. Because Kelsey helped carry me to Jesus, I encountered him in a deeper way. In that moment my maverick brand of Christianity began to lose its luster.

Real Faith Requires Real People

The Christian life is almost impossible without community. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote in Life Together, “Let him who cannot be alone beware of community . . . Let him who is not in community beware of being alone . . . the one who seeks solitude without fellowship perishes in the abyss of vanity, self-infatuation and despair.” Whether you’re an introvert, an extrovert, ...

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Mon, 18 April 2016 08:00:00 CST
Leading in the Midst of Suffering

Id helped others through trials and struggles, but dealing with my own was a new challenge.


The doctor had just dropped the devastating news: my youngest daughter was not going to live. Only a few hours had passed since I stared in shock while fire destroyed my home with my little girl and her daddy caught inside.

Just breathe.

I struggled to pay attention as the doctor described the details of her death. The lack of oxygen. The brain damage. I tried to focus my thoughts on the simple rise and fall of my own breathing, reminding me that I lived while trying to absorb the news that she no longer did. My sweet girl arrived at heaven’s door, far sooner than I ever imagined, as I tumbled head first into the valley of the shadow of death.

Leading from the Valley

At the time of the fire, I had led in children’s ministry for almost a decade. I witnessed broken marriages and sick kids. I walked beside others who buried loved ones or received devastating diagnoses. I prayed and petitioned for wisdom on behalf of many who lived with uncertainty. Trials and sufferings were not foreign.

But that day in the hospital, I began to journey through my own valley. The wilderness of sorrow and loss became my terrain. What a different place to be, this other side of suffering. The challenge to exist as both journeyer and leader, a complex coexistence, became my reality. I tripped and stumbled while learning to traverse this new tract of land and endure as I continued to lead.

It has not been easy. One day, several months after the fire, whispers of a drowning circled our staff meeting. A little boy’s name surfaced as I struggled to piece the details together. I knew him, this little boy. He and his siblings attended our children’s ministry and just a few days earlier he had crawled his way into the shattered ...

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Thu, 14 April 2016 08:00:00 CST
Influence Across Gender Lines

Catherine of Siena is an unlikely example of bold leadership.

I feel a connection with Catherine of Siena, even though she lived in the 14th century. The first inkling I had that we might be kindred spirits was through a “Holy Week Personality Type” chart that imagined how the saints would fall on the Myers-Briggs personality test. Whoever put this chart together decided Catherine of Siena was an INFJ like me. That was just enough to make me curious to know more about her.

Through my research, I found we had yet more in common. She, like me, was a youngest child, although she had quite a few more siblings than I did—some sources say she had 24!

Remarkably, when she was still a young child, Catherine had a vision of Christ in heaven, surrounded by some of his disciples. That made me curious about visions and how they differ from dreams. The consensus seems to be that a dream happens while you’re asleep and a vision while you’re awake. Many of the Old Testament prophets had visions, as did Peter and Paul.

Catherine’s vision launched her into a lifetime devoted to prayer and meditation, and she joined the Third Order of St. Dominic (“third order” meant she was a layperson). In doing so, Catherine defied her parents’ attempts to marry her off, causing them to punish her severely. Unfortunately, this experience led her to pursue unhealthy self-torture and extreme attempts at controlling her fleshly desires, something many saints from the Middle Ages pursued.

In the Third Order of St. Dominic, she became a nurse to severely ill patients, such as those with leprosy and advanced cancer. She cared for people other nurses didn’t want to care for. This selfless way of life made people seek her out and ask her advice on spiritual matters. ...

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Mon, 11 April 2016 08:00:00 CST
Tempted to Compare

One scan of social media left me feeling defeated.

My husband and I decided the time had come to introduce new ministries into our church. We’d planted the church over a year prior, and we now had enough support to build specific ministries for women, men, and youth. We would start small, and grow in God’s timing.

We didn’t expect the ups and downs that we’d experience in the months ahead. Growth came at a slow pace, and I began to question our decision. But I pressed on. Sometimes we had 12 people attend our women’s Bible study breakfast. Other times two people would show up. There were also those times when no one showed up at all. Sporadic attendance soon led to discouragement and self-doubt.

The faithful women who came to the majority of our meetings offered well-meaning suggestions like, “At my last church, the pastor’s wife did it this way…” The advice was filled with good intentions, but the words hurt. I wanted to take their recommendations and work toward improving the ministry, but their words kept invading my thoughts and causing me to doubt. I had let the voice of comparison creep its way into my ministry. All I heard was, “Your ministry isn’t good enough because it’s not like hers.”

The Ugly Face of Comparison

Looking back, I realize these ladies were invested in my ministry, and their ideas came from hearts of love and support. But I had allowed my focus to shift from God’s plan to what other women in ministry had. I unknowingly allowed comparison to distract me from the vision.

The struggle with comparison is something many women experience. Social media has contributed to this ongoing problem as well. A simple glance at a polished picture in our news feed can send our minds into ...

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Thu, 7 April 2016 08:00:00 CST
God Calls All Women

But we dont all have the same calling.

Understanding our identity in Christ gives us purpose. God has a specific purpose for each of us, a unique calling for each individual. Our shared and primary purpose is to become disciples (followers) of Jesus Christ. Our secondary callings are unique and are birthed out of our submission to the primary calling.

The body of Christ misses out when we attempt to force all women into one constrained understanding of the role and responsibilities of women. Christ’s transformation does not mean we blindly do as other good and godly people say we should. If we are simply content to go along just to get along, we will never come to realize our true purpose in life. A great mentor and a safe community of believers will consistently point us to Christ and challenge us to follow him as we seek clarity on our faith journeys. A godly mentor models Christ’s character, while calling us to completely surrender our will and desires to God’s will for our lives.

God is the creator of all things, and his creative vision is big enough to include women from all walks and stages of life, from different backgrounds and cultures. His kingdom purposes transcend generations. His will is big enough to include young girls like Rhoda, who commit themselves to prayer, and virgins like Mary, the young mother of Jesus. His plans are big enough for women like Elizabeth, Rachel, and Hannah—all of whom experienced prolonged seasons of infertility. His purposes include women with pagan pasts like Ruth, prostitutes like Rahab, and rejected, widowed, adulterous women like the Samaritan woman at the well. He sees marginalized and enslaved women like Hagar, and old women like the prophetess Anna. We compassionately embrace women like these ...

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Mon, 4 April 2016 08:00:00 CST
How Culture Affects Our Expectations of Leaders

Gender, ethnic, and socioeconomic biases affect how we lead and follow.

All leaders have strong preferences, even about leadership, that are shaped by social and cultural location. Missiologist James Plueddemann states, “The ultimate purpose of the leadership is to bring people into full relationship with their Creator. We are created to know, love, and glorify God.” Beyond that, though, leadership style and practice are culturally located. Before we can look at how to share leadership, we need to understand the dynamics of leading, following, and inviting crossculturally.

Leading Crossculturally

What is the role of a leader? Is a leader’s job to tell people where they are going (casting vision)? Is it to delegate tasks (manager)?

While having a conversation with a young African American gentleman about good leadership, he said that a good leader would tell his church, “This is the vision God has for us, and here’s how we are going to get there.” This, he said, would create a sense of security for the leaders under that pastor. I laughed because if I had ever done that with student leaders (particularly white students), I would have had an exodus on my hands. Millennials, especially those coming from places of privilege, do not want to be told what they are going to do and how to get there. That would be a huge turnoff and maybe would even set off alarms. So, who’s right?

In an urban setting where there are many insecurities (safety, food, etc.), and family bonds are often broken due to housing, incarceration, or long work hours, the community is looking for someone—a parish priest, influential schoolteacher, or father figure—to provide stability. John Zayas, pastor of Grace and Peace Church in urban Chicago, says, “They want to know that ...

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Thu, 31 March 2016 08:00:00 CST
Make a Difference for the Kingdom

Whether or not your name eventually appears in history books, were all called to do our part.

Editor’s Note: As we wrap up Women’s History Month this week, we want to remind you that you have a valuable role to play in God’s plan—even if your name never appears in history books. Today we celebrate all the women who have fought the fight, lived fully, and loved generously without public recognition, and that includes you. —Amy Jackson

When a well-known or well-respected person passes away, we stop to reflect on the impact that person made on society as well as the loss the world now faces. Robin Williams, Charles Colson, and Anotonin Scalia are just a few people whose death was felt across America. What they did within “the dash” between the dates of their birth and death impacted the world.

As Christians, our gauge for greatness is more than just a person’s impact on the world, though. We reflect on the impact a person has had for the kingdom of God. Throughout church history, many women have been recognized as great heroes of the faith, accomplishing the remarkable in the name of Christ. When I read what these women accomplished for the kingdom, I am both inspired by their faith and—if I’m really honest—intimidated by the extent of their ministry. I often wonder how I, a typical Southern woman, can make an eternal difference like these women.

As a woman past my Jesus year (33), time no longer feels on my side. In light of my anxiety, I began to reflect on what God calls believers to do for his kingdom. This brought to mind the many women who have played a significant role in my spiritual formation. As a Christian woman, God not only commands, but also desires that I play a specific role to advance his kingdom, and he equips me for the task. While some ...

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Mon, 28 March 2016 08:00:00 CST
Easter Is Good News for Women Leaders

Though the world tells us we dont matter or that were less-than, God clearly says otherwise.

The Easter story makes me laugh. Namely because it’s so relatable to women leaders in the church. Consider the scene at dawn on Easter morning. All four Gospels record the story, yet there are some differences. Did you know, for instance, that each Gospel lists different women discovering the empty tomb?

Matthew lists Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary.” Mark’s account is similar: Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome—another woman. Luke simplifies the story simply stating “the women” went to the tomb. He later explains that Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, Joanna, and several other women told the apostles about what had happened. Yet John notes only Mary Magdalene. Perhaps she was the most important to mention, or perhaps she was the only one they could all agree was truly there. Humorously, it seems the writers couldn’t get their stories straight about which women were at the empty tomb—just that it was definitely some women.

This makes me chuckle.

At the same time, I can imagine the confusion they must have experienced. The 11 disciples had sat under Jesus’ teaching day in and day out. And then he died a gruesome death right in front of them. What kingdom had he ushered in? What peace had he brought to the land? And how were they supposed to spread the teachings of a dead man when they feared for their own lives? What in the world were they going to do?

Into this confusion enter some women disciples, and they explain that Jesus’ body is gone. Great. How are we going to explain this? The officials will come after us thinking we’ve taken the body!

Worse yet, a woman’s word was next to useless in their culture. It wasn’t ...

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Thu, 24 March 2016 08:00:00 CST
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