Are you a woman who leads? Maybe you don’t see yourself as a leader, but God has you leading someone right where you are. Maybe it’s your kids, your friends, or the teenager next door. Maybe it’s a Women’s Ministry, a team at work, or a small group. This series—led by our women’s ministry specialist Kelly King—will help you no matter where you lead, and whether you’re leading one or one thousand.
My grandmother never saw herself as a leader. A modest and simple country girl, she was widowed in her 20s and left to raise three small boys in the midst of World War II. She would later remarry, but the years of maintaining a farm and providing for her family as a single mom were not easy. During that time, she took odd jobs and did whatever she could to keep food on the table—something in which she excelled. In fact, her ability to cook would land her a position in the Calumet schools where others had the good fortune to consume her delicious homemade bread and cinnamon rolls.
A few years ago, I was encouraged to purchase some cinnamon rolls for a local school fundraiser. I knew people raved about their taste, and I proceeded to place an order. After receiving my purchase, I immediately recognized a familiar taste and texture. Following a few conversations about the origin of the recipe, I discovered it came from a school cook who just happened to be my grandmother. I knew these cinnamon rolls were famous in our family, but now they are famous among many others who purchase them. Customers who have no idea about the story behind their goodness consume thousands of cinnamon rolls each year. I’m confident my grandmother had no idea her talent and ability would influence and bless many others beyond her lifetime.
Faithfulness and leadership among women is often like this story. They are often asked or encouraged to lead but don’t see the far-reaching influence their abilities create for them. Many of them have no idea why or how God can use them to lead in their family, their church, their workplace, or their community. The familiar chapter of Hebrews 11 reminds us of the faithful men and women who have gone before us and offers examples of everyday leadership and influence of others. Here are four principles about the basics of everyday leadership we can learn from a faithful legacy of leaders.
First, we lead when we learn to follow. Jesus called people into His circle with two simple words, “Follow me.” If we begin our leadership from a position of followship, we lead with humility, gratefulness, and a position of servanthood. Hebrews 11 reminds us of Abraham, who left the familiar surroundings of his home to follow and obey God’s call to settle in a new land. He followed God’s direction in faith, just as my grandmother’s humility and willingness to serve others began with a devotion to following Christ.
Second, we lead when we discover our strengths, spiritual gifts, passions, and talents. Just as my grandmother used her talent for baking, God has uniquely wired you with abilities, experiences, and spiritual gifts. Whether you’re extroverted or introverted, a creative artist or an accountant with a bent for numbers, there is no set formula for a woman God can use. Hebrews 11 reminds us of the faithfulness of Moses who, although he didn’t see how God could use him at first, became the one who would lead Israel out of Egypt.
Third, we can lead by doing the “next” thing God asks of us. Far too often I hear women talk about big roles or positions for which they aspire. Realistically, most leaders are formed when they say “yes” to the next step God places in front of them. Whether it’s setting up for a Bible study, making sure the equipment at church is working, or providing snacks for a meeting, saying “yes” to small things builds trust and experience for you to assume more responsibility in the future. Be faithful in the small things—because small things matter. Consider Noah—who Hebrews 11 reminds us built an ark one step at a time.
Finally, we can lead when we trust in a God who works all things together for His good. Hebrews 11 is a good place to find many people of faith who trusted in God for their future—a future they couldn’t see. Verse 13 tells us they died in faith, although they had not received the things that were promised. Yet, God was faithful to keep His promise—even when it happened beyond their physical lives. I’m sure my grandmother never imagined that while she faithfully served her family, God was working ahead to provide for her future. I’m sure her prayers were filled with questions, but she trusted that God was faithful and good, no matter the circumstances. My grandmother has lived in heaven for 15 years, but her legacy continues on—not just through her amazing cinnamon rolls, but also in the godly legacy she left behind for future generations. Will you trust God as you follow Him? Will you say “yes” when asked to lead? Begin today and have courage to let God use you for His glory.
Are you ready to lead well? Sign up for the ministry to women newsletter to get monthly content specifically for leaders here. Get training at events like YOU Lead around the country and Women’s Leadership Forum this November in Nashville, TN.
Kelly King is the Women’s Ministry Specialist for LifeWay Women. She and her husband, Vic, have been married for more than 28 years and have enjoyed serving together in ministry both teaching in student ministry for 25 years and teaching young married adults. They have two young adult children, Conner and Courtney, and a son-in-law, Gaige. They enjoy kayaking, having people in their home, and cheering for the Oklahoma City Thunder. A good day includes mocha lattes, Mexican food, and shopping for bargains.
Want to read more from Kelly? You can purchase her new book, Ministry to Women, here!