Empowering Women to be the Leaders They Were Designed to Be
Genesis 3:16. A curse was spoken over every woman that would ever walk the face of the earth. Adam and Eve sinned and the Lord spoke, “Wives, you shall be ruled by your husbands.”
John 19:30. When Jesus died on the cross, He declared: “It is finished!” and in that one instant, every single curse was lifted off of humankind, once and for all. Both men and women were restored back to their original design; to co-rule over the earth. So, what does it look like for leaders in the body of Christ to raise up the redeemed Eve, to take her rightful place next to the redeemed Adam?
At BSSM, we have a yearly award we give to our top two students in each class. We choose one man and one woman. Up until last year in every single graduating class, the majority of those nominated students were men. Does that mean men have a better potential to be great leaders? No. Does it mean that the best leaders that are developed in BSSM have been a majority of men? Surprisingly, yes.
After a few years of experience, this is what our leaders found: most men in the church have simply been given more opportunity to lead and grow. They have had more opportunities to become better leaders than women. So what does that mean for school leaders? How we give opportunity and practically grow and develop students into leaders matters, a lot. The way we empower our students has a major effect on how we produce leaders.
At BSSM, we have a core value of practicing what we preach. We can teach about the prophetic, yet until we actually prophesy we won’t see a prophetic culture happen. We can preach about supernatural healing, yet until we lay our hands on the sick we will not have a culture where healing takes place. Likewise, without taking practical steps in the empowerment of women, we will not see an increase of female leaders rise up as we long for.
Our BSSM Second Year Overseer, Gabe Valenzuela, talks about this topic in our church and school environment. One of the things he often says is you have to make conscious decisions about what you are fighting for. If you want to see women raised up to lead alongside men, you have to be intentional in the way you lead your schools to see that manifest.
“If you want to see women raised up to lead alongside men, you have to be intentional in the way you lead your schools to see that manifest.”
How do we communicate to our female students that they are believed in as equally as men? Something we do here at BSSM is teach classes about women in ministry and we have biblical grounds for it. Other classes go more in depth about what it means to find your voice as a female leader and to be uniquely yourself. We open up the conversation about various themes within this topic such as past experiences and expectations, the identity of women, and the differences and similarities between men and women. Gabe also chooses to only take female Third Year students to mentor throughout the year.
I chatted a little with School Planting’s very own director, Ruth Moore, about how she has felt empowered as a female leader in our environment. Ruth explained to me how she has seen in her own life, as well as the lives around her, that women generally have a tendency to wait until they dare to take up space. Men on the other hand, are more likely to just run with what they are given. “Men don’t need as much permission,” she said, “where women might need to be given the permission a bit more.”
Keeping these thoughts in mind, it makes sense that we’d have to reset the standard of giving women permission to lead and set a standard that holds equal opportunities for both men and women to lead, grow, and step into their full potential. “My husband would not allow me to hide. He would encourage me to bring my input to the table,” Ruth said, “so something that I think helps women a lot is when they are asked by men for their input; when space and time is created for them.”
Ruth explained how it helped her when male leaders would ask her, “Hey, do you have something?” Another thing she touched on is that women often have a different perspective than men on things, and both perspectives are important. When women are encouraged to share a different perspective or opinion, it empowers them to believe that what they have to bring to the table is valuable.
We want to encourage you, incredible school leaders, to sit down and ask you and your team the following questions:
- What does empowering women look like in your own unique environment?
- What does it look like on your teams? What does raising female students into the world changers they were created to look like in your environment?
We hope that you gain from some of these practical nuggets and examples. Beyond that, we encourage you to sit with the Holy Spirit and receive inspiration from the One Who comes up with the best ideas ever known to mankind. We are excited for you to co-labor with Him to see His daughters flourish into the warriors they truly are.
Watch this seven minute video to hear a little bit more of Gabe’s heart from a session of Converge School Leaders Training 2017.
Be sure to check out BSSM Equip’s latest releases of Kris Vallotton’s teachings on empowering women!
Emily Hanna is from the Netherlands and is a BSSM Third Year graduate from the class of 2020. She is passionate about community and seeing people enfolded into family. She has a powerful prophetic voice and captivating joy.