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To You, the Woman Leading in the Church:

To You, the Woman Leading in the Church:

To You, the Woman Leading in the Church:

Written by Laura Dingman

To You, the Woman Leading in the Church:


I remember the day well. I actually made it through a few weeks before my first ugly cry. We met and I was the only girl in the meeting, not uncommon. Several of the guys were going to lunch after the meeting and I received the gratis invite. I’m sure they were trying to be polite, but it was obvious they weren’t quite sure what to do with the new girl who sat at the table.


Of course, I said yes. But I had a problem. My purse sat in my office. By the time I retrieved it, everyone had left for lunch leaving me in the office alone. I realized no one was waiting on me and the reality of the “gratis” part of the invite felt very real. I raced to the car and wept. After my ugly cry, I had two choices. I could go home and eat lunch or I could find some courage, fix my make-up, and call someone to ask where lunch was.


I chose to find some courage. It was hard, but I made the courageous choice.


I’ve had to make many other courageous choices as a woman in leadership in the church. Many choices I made while feeling desperately alone.


Maybe that’s where you are in your leadership in the church. There is so much talk and debate about the role of women in church leadership that sometimes we forget that the women we’re debating over have souls and feelings and dreams that God has given to them.


If you’re a woman in leadership in the church, I have something very important to say to you. So, lean in.


You are not a mistake.


I know you’ve felt out of place so many times. You’ve sensed the shushing of your gifts You’ve heard that voice telling you to rein it in and tone it down. You’ve wondered where you can sit at the table. You’ve thought there isn’t any room for you.


There is something I want you to know.


There is room. There is a place for you. You have a voice because God placed it in you. Your gift and call to lead isn’t an accident because the Creator placed it in yours soul. On purpose.


The road of leadership in the church for you may be difficult.


You don’t have to walk it alone.


I’d love to invite you to join me at Ignite Women once a month for a conversation about women in church leadership. We’ll discuss relevant questions facing us as leaders and will share our stories helping each other navigate joys and frustrations that accompany being a woman in leadership. We begin on Tuesday, November 18th at 8:00 pm. Come in your yoga pants with your hair up. And through November 30th you can receive a free membership so you can test out the Ignite site.


As a fun way to kick off this catalyst group, I’m giving away a “Book Bundle” of my favorite books that have influenced my leadership written by female authors. They have shaped the way I think, feel, and practice leadership. Each of these books put salve on my weary soul at different points in my journey when I needed them most.


Let me introduce you to them:


Gifted to Lead: The Art of Leading as a Woman in the Church by Nancy Beach

Gifted to Lead was a healing read for me because I read it at a time when I needed to hear the words the author wrote about her own story as a woman in church leadership. It helped me to find my own voice—an authentic one—as a leader.


Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership: Seeking God in the Crucible of Ministry by Ruth Haley Barton

This book began a journey to life-giving rhythms as a leader in the church. Ruth Haley Barton’s concern for the care of the soul of a leader breathed life into my weary bones at a time when burnout was as normal a word as hello. God used her caring challenges to change the way I approached the care of my soul as a leader.


Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown

Learning to live wholeheartedly changes the way we lead. I became aware of this book at a critical time when I was untangling my own story. Vulnerability is a necessity as a leader, but we don’t choose it often. The author’s research and beautiful way of inviting us all to choose courage completely transformed the way that I live, love, parent, and lead.


I hope to see you at the launch of our Catalyst Group for Women in Leadership next Tuesday evening at 8:00 pm!
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5 Responses to “To You, the Woman Leading in the Church:”

  1. Leah

    Laura, as I said briefly on Twitter, I really wish I hadn’t let my introversion take over at Writers Boot Camp. I’ve been in those situations and they are so painful. I will be joining you all on Ignite Women as I am able. 8pm on Tuesday in what time zone? I have a group at 7pm MST. This month might not work for me. Thanks for the invite!

  2. Kim Shelton

    Thank you is much for sharing the article on women in leadership! I can SO relate!! Looking forward to the encouragement of this group!

  3. Cindy Bultema

    Hi Laura!
    Thanks for your excellent post! I was on staff in a leadership role at an area megachurch, and can definitely identify with the struggles you faced. I LOVE how you made the courageous lunch choice. Yay! Thanks for sharing your heart and bravery!
    Blessings to you!
    Cindy 🙂

  4. Steph Beckner

    Dear Laura,
    Thank you for your words of encouragement in this post! I am not on a ministry “staff”. I am a new minister’s wife who has felt God’s call on my own life (aside from the calling of my husband) into Women’s ministry. This is certainly uncharted territory for me! I never thought I would be used to lead, but hear I am, desperately seeking to do His will. Thank you, Laura, for your transparency. I look forward to all that God is going to do through this group!

  5. Laura Perreaul

    You are not a mistake.
    Those words hit me right in the soul. They’re so hard to hear. I’ve spent a number of years in leadership roles and it’s only been very recently that I’ve realized I am a leader. There was a blog post I read that talked about being a mentor and that’s when it hit me. Hey. I’m a leader. I’m a mentor whether I recognize it or not. There are people looking up to me and watching what I do. That awareness has changed my perspective and it’s helped me draw closer to God, because I am a complete mess and can’t do this on my own!