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.
I was recently doing some online shopping and was looking for a particular dress for a special occasion. As I scrolled through lots of websites, I would land on one that seemed promising. Once I clicked on “dresses,” I had even more choices to make in the filter section of the site. What color am I looking for? What kind of sleeves? What hem length? What price range? The possibilities of narrowing down choices seemed endless.
As I considered all of my options, it reminded me of the endless ways God designs and fashions women. We all come in different shapes and sizes. Our leadership styles are also varied. Some leaders are extroverts and some are introverts. I know some leaders who enjoy collaboration with a team and others have a specific vision that demands implementation.
These are all positive traits regarding leadership. We need different styles of leadership just like we enjoy a variety of clothing styles. I’m glad we serve a creative God who takes pleasure in combining personalities, spiritual gifts, and experiences to make each leader a unique woman who adds kingdom value.
So, what kind of leadership style best describes you? Let’s look at some well-known women from the Bible and examine their unique contribution to leadership.
Priscilla: We find Priscilla’s story mostly in the Book of Acts, but Paul also mentioned her in some of his letters. Not only a competent leader and worker, she was a woman who was an intentional disciple-maker. She and her husband Aquila had the opportunity to disciple Apollos, an Alexandrian Jew who became an influential minister and a powerful preacher. We can thank Priscilla for being a leader who knew the importance of investing in others in the matter of sound doctrine and spiritual insights.
Dorcas: Not only was Dorcas a generous leader, but she epitomized servant leadership. We find her story in Acts 9 as others grieved her death. She met tangible needs in the early church and was greatly loved by those who were the recipients. Her leadership style isn’t always seen as powerful, but if you’ve been the recipient of someone’s servant-heartedness, you understand the impact of this style of leader.
Lydia: One of my favorite women in Scripture is the businesswoman Lydia. And while she was a competent seller of purple cloth, it’s her hospitality that captures my attention. Her story in Acts 16 is a reminder that gospel leaders should open the doors of their homes to their family and friends, but also to strangers. Her leadership style of hospitality impacted an entire region because she was an effective worker and a faithful witness.
Lois and Eunice: So many women I meet often don’t see themselves as leaders—especially when they spend the majority of their time raising children or grandchildren. Yet, Scripture provides us with a beautiful example of family leadership through Timothy’s mother and grandmother, Lois and Eunice. Second Timothy 1:1-8 is a reminder from the apostle Paul of the impact of women providing leadership to their family and to the next generation. Their leadership investment in Timothy’s life is an encouragement to any woman who sometimes wonders if she is making a difference when her day consists of changing diapers, doling out discipline, and preparing meals.
Abigail: The story of Abigail is found in 1 Samuel 25. Married to an ungracious, yet wealthy landowner, Abigail was not only described as beautiful, but wise. Wise leadership is often lacking in today’s culture, yet it should be valued as a leadership core competency. Abigail had “good understanding” (v. 3, NKJV), and she single-handedly saved the lives of her household because of her wisdom and intervention of bad leadership decisions. Not only did she display wisdom, but her leadership qualities also included humility, resourcefulness, and courage.
Do any of these leadership styles seem attractive to you? Which one would you select as either the one that best describes your leadership or one you would like to attain? While all of them offer valuable contributions to leadership, don’t forget that any leadership style has the foundation of being led by the Holy Spirit. As Galatians 5:16 urges all of us, “I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will certainly not carry out the desire of the flesh.” (CSB)
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 month in Nashville, TN.
Kelly D. King is the Manager of Magazines/Devotional Publishing and Women’s Ministry Training for Lifeway Christian Resources. She is the author of Ministry to Women: The Essential Guide for Leading Women in the Local Church. You can hear Kelly at Lifeway’s You Lead events that are held in several cities around the country or listen to her co-host the Marked Podcast with Elizabeth Hyndman.