What if we reframed our understanding of leadership to view each season as a place of leading others in their next step toward intimacy and maturity in Christ? Leadership is not a role or title, but it is an activity – a way of being. We lead our neighbors, the children on our street, other soccer or karate moms. We lead singles, married folk, college students. We lead in our family with our children and extended family. When we are discipling and pouring into others, we are leading them.
The cloak of leadership looks different on different people. And, it even looks different as we move throughout the various seasons in our lives. One season may be primarily focused upon family responsibilities with a few mentoring relationships woven into the fabric. Another season may be filled with church leadership opportunity. And then there may be a season of quiet and stillness where you are leading yourself to draw nearer to God. Each season is valuable and precious for the Kingdom purposes that it brings about.
Often times, when we think about women in leadership, we immediately think about the specific leadership roles in the church or in the marketplace. In the church we may think of worship leader, children’s minister, women’s ministry leader, etc. Or, in the marketplace, we can think of managers, directors, executive leaders, and the like. For women, there is often a dichotomy that lends itself to thinking about leading either in a ministry position in the church or the market place. Being a wife and mother is not typically viewed through the lens of leadership, but there is a true reality of leading family and anyone else being discipled or developed in one’s inner circle. Discipling and developing others does not stop when one becomes a wife or mother; it just looks different. Church ministry, marketplace ministry, and family ministry are all seasons of leadership, each with specific focus, context, and rhythms.
There is a misconception that leadership only happens when in an official role or titled position. In actuality, you are leading wherever your beautiful feet are taking you. In one season of leadership you may be leading one or a few – at other times you may be leading many. Your life rhythms also change and fluctuate with these various seasons of leadership. This by no means diminishes the vital importance of our church and marketplace leaders who have God-given roles and titles. We need them! Scripture tells us in 1 Corinthians 12 that every part of the body is essential – each with their own function. One is not more important than another, and every part of the body is to work together in synergy.