First, a word from April.
Partnership with men is essential if we are going to see more good on earth as it is in heaven. We weren’t created for competition. We were created for shared ruling, governing, filling, and multiplying (Genesis 2). Sharing the voices of allies is important to me. Men who use their power and privilege for the sake of women is vital if we are going to experience true partnership.
Robb is an ally. Recently he called me to talk about his white privilege. He’s doing his work for the sake of those of us who’ve been marginalized and muted. Robb hires women. He uses his budget to provide coaching for women. He invites women onto leadership teams and speaking on stages. He partners with his wife in her work. And he’s raising a daughter to be a warrior. If you’re a women, may you find a Robb in your own life. If you’re a man, may you leverage your own power for her benefit.
Over the years, I have been blessed to take part in a variety of learning collaborations that have stretched me and allowed me to grow into the leader I am today. For this I am grateful. I love being a part of different learning and coaching collaboratives that push me toward being the leader I want to be.
One thing I have learned through these opportunities is that not everyone has had the same advantage, particularly women.
When women in my area of influence are encouraged, even provided the space to flourish, the organization as a whole gets better. Their life experience provides viewpoints and experiences that I lack but bring invaluable insight to me and the rest of the organization.
I love serving in a church denomination that has always been supportive of women in pastoral leadership. Even within this structure, we don’t always do a great job of providing these growing and learning opportunities to women. In my current context, I am honored to serve alongside several women who are mighty preachers, pastors, speakers, and leaders, and yet, at times, they remain limited in their opportunities to learn and grow. This is why when I see opportunities, I need to do my part in making sure these opportunities are both known about and resources are provided to make it happen.
Given my platform and role in our denomination, I have intentionally chosen to invest in these incredible women that I serve alongside. It is encouraging and life-giving for me to use my privilege and power so they can flourish as doors previously closed are now opened to them.
One question that I continually come back to is:
What I am willing to invest so that another might thrive?
When the table expands and more voices join us, our conversation, our dreams, our value becomes more robust. This does not happen, though, when we continue to perpetuate a boys club mentality and scarcity mindset.
This commitment, however, does not come easily or without cost. Resources must be reallocated to help fund the necessary development. When intentionally choosing to invest in the lives of these women, it raises the water level of our organization which, in turn, makes ALL of us better. It requires that I use my position and privilege to make it happen. My leadership does not lessen because I choose to support another both vocally and with the needed resources. On the contrary, my world expands, my leadership grows, and my influence becomes greater but not for the sake of myself. Support women brings a whole new perspective to the table. While our denomination has always seen women as leaders and pastors, we still have a long way to go to continue providing development and growth opportunities for women.
At some point, those of us in leadership positions (which equals power!) must release our grip on this idea that if those on the fringe are provided the opportunities to develop their voice, confidence, leadership skills, then we will lose our ability to lead and influence our worlds. That’s a scarcity mindset. There is enough to go around.
Whether its resources or leadership opportunities, choosing to embrace the truth that there is abundance when all receive the chance to thrive, leads us to a more whole vision. When we choose to leverage our power, our position, our resources, we learn more about ourselves as well as the explosive growth waiting beneath the surface of the women who work alongside us every, single day.