Redefining Female Leadership Development

Redefining Female Leadership Development

Written By Cathie Smith

Redefining Female Leadership Development

At the CSBC Women’s Ministry Network, we are striving toward integrating spiritual formation and leadership development. In recent years, female ministry leaders such as Kadi Cole have highlighted the disconnect that often happens between the spiritual formation and leadership development of women. It can frequently go unnoticed and, many times, is completely unintentional. Women sometimes are taught in discipleship settings that focus only on “the spiritual,” leaving her to find leadership training in secular settings This can result in gaps in the application of leadership and spiritual concepts. In her book Developing Female Leaders, Cole discusses the importance of bringing spiritual and leadership training together, forming “spiritual leadership development.” Cole mentions that the integration of spiritual formation and leadership training is already happening organically for men, especially for men in ministry.  For women, leadership sometimes is arrived at by default.  Cole states, “Women are usually placed in leadership roles because they are married to a pastor, have the most time to volunteer, or ‘need to feel a part of things,’ rather than based on their gifts and abilities.” Keeping the two concepts separated can result in the lack of application of spiritual truth in the carrying out of leadership or weakened leadership due to lack of training.  While the ways that men and women exercise biblical leadership are different, the lack of resources and avenues for the spiritual leadership formation for women highlights a great need to invest in the thousands of women serving in California Churches.

The CSBC Women’s Ministry is a network of women and resources that exists to engage, encourage, equip, inspire and ignite women in their calling and spiritual walk with the Lord as they make disciples of all nations for the glory and honor of God. Whether as a single or married, in a large or small church, women across the state are encouraged to use their God-given gifts as we reach the world for Christ together.

Engaging, encouraging, and equipping women in and for ministry are key elements of the CSBC Women’s Ministry Network vision.  Equipping happens in a variety of ways and through multiple means.  In order to help women leaders grow, spiritual growth and leadership development are both important.  While some spiritual growth and leadership training happen organically, intentionality is vital.

Kelly King is the Women’s Ministry Specialist at Lifeway Research, and in her article “Why It’s Vital to Invest in the Women of Your Church,” she reminds us that as pastors are planning to send church leaders to conferences, women should be included in the list of attendees. When women are encouraged toward something as simple as a one-or-two-day women’s conference, a leadership conference, or any other specialty training, the benefits can be far-reaching. King notes that women are highly capable of learning and becoming experts in many arenas. Additionally, women have a high capacity for networking, which inherently generates long-term benefits. Finally, and perhaps most inspiringly, when you invest in women’s leadership development and spiritual formation, you become a part of the community that encourages women to “dream of a preferred future God has birthed in [their] heart.”

About the Author

Cathie Smith
Women's Ministry Director, CSBC

Cathie holds a bachelor’s degree in family development from Oklahoma Baptist University, and a master of divinity and doctor of educational ministry from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. For 10 years, Cathie and her husband served primarily in Spain with the International Mission Board, however, Cathie’s international missions service also includes Ecuador, Japan and Guatemala. She is the mother of 3 children, (2 grown and 1 still at home) and she serves as the Women's Ministry Director for CSBC.

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