Friday, October 31, 2014

a Reformation post: why I think Martin was missional.

I’ve had an interesting relationship toward Martin Luther.  From being brought up in a family that is half Roman Catholic, to going to a university that seemed to over-elevate Martin at times, I’ve wrestled with how to healthily appreciate Luther as a contributor to our Church and also just another dude in need of saving.  Only in recent years has my affinity for Luther grown, as I’ve seen the richness of what he stood for and how I think it translates to where we are today.  Dare I say it…I think Luther would be considered missional (actively engaged in God’s mission of seeking and saving the lost) and here’s why.

  1. He rediscovered the Gospel in Scripture.  Luther rediscovered and refocused the eyes of the Church to the pure Gospel that we are saved by grace through faith, not by anything we could or could not do.  Congregations and movements that are run by and filled with humans can often unintentionally add practices or expectations to what it means to be saved or part of God’s Church.  Luther gets to the heart of things.  It’s not about anything we could or could not contribute.  The Gospel is Christ.  Salvation is a gift.  The rest falls into place from there.  It’s found in the Scriptures and he could not be moved from it.  Nor should we.
  2.  He started hard conversations with honest intentions.  I shared with our campus community this week that the Wittenberg Door was one of the original and most powerful forms of social media.  Luther had questions and insights and wanted to start a conversation, so he nailed his 95 theses to the door of the church.  It was not for the sake of stirring the pot, but for the sake of further understanding and correction.  Are we willing to ask questions even when we’re not sure how our audience will respond?  Are we willing to give ear to the hard questions of others and wrestle along with them as Philip did with the Ethiopian?  Are our intentions pure in the conversations we seek to have or is it motivated by pride or shaming someone else?
  3. He was about putting Scripture in the language of the people.  Luther saw the power of God’s Word.  He experienced the peace and confidence it brought in his own life.  He saw that it held the truth and wanted to be sure everyone had that gift.  Faith comes by hearing.  How do we hear (or read) the Good News if it’s in a different language?  Luther was passionate.  We can’t expect all of Germany, from princes to peasants, to suddenly know and read Latin.  We must give them God’s Word in their language.  We must ask ourselves, is our ministry more apt to organize Latin classes in our building or start translating German to take to the streets?

  4. He was about putting worship in the language of the people.  What a powerful statement and gift to our Church, that many would be able to hear God’s Word and worship with meaning in their own tongue.  This challenges me to think in a mighty way.  What’s the language of the people today?  It’s not the same everywhere, but we have the freedom and the challenge to put Scriptural worship in the language and context of the people we are among.  In the Epitome of the Formula of Concord, (X. Church Rites, Affirmative Thesis 2), our own doctrine gives and embraces huge freedom to bless our people with worship that is useful and edifying as we gather around Scripture, prayer, and Sacrament.

          We believe, teach, and confess that the congregation of God of every place and every time has the power, according to its circumstances, to change such ceremonies in such manner as may be most useful and edifying to the congregation of God.

    What does it mean for us to stand strong in the Word of God and faithful teaching, while putting worship in the language of the people?

  5.       He loved the Church enough to wrestle.  Luther could have easily left the ministry, left the Church, and said “forget it.”  He was not looking to start his own church, but loved her so much, he sought to work within her, realign her, and hold her accountable.  My generation is especially notorious for just tossing broken things aside, especially institutions.  I confess that I am guilty of that as well.  There are many times I have considered throwing in the towel because of the brokenness on display in the Church.  But then we see in Scripture, this incredible love Christ has for his broken Bride.  It’s the goofy relative, that we all would like to disown, but we love deeply because they’re family.  I am called to be part of this Bride--warts and all.  And it is because I, too, am among the broken, in need of a Savior.  We walk together justified, being sanctified, and sharpening one another by the truth of God's Word.
  6.       He accepted that there will be consequences to standing boldly.  I’ve always thought it to be incredible that Luther never intended to start a movement, split the Church, or start a new denomination.  He only wished to refocus the Church he loved so dearly.  It is a powerful reminder to us that as we stand boldly for God’s Word in a subjective culture, there will be push back.  As we ask hard questions of a church we love, there will be push back and possible consequences.  Luther is widely revered now, but lived a terribly difficult life.  There are consequences to stepping out of line, even when it comes to standing in the truth, both in a culture that attacks and a church that may not appreciate challenge.  We should not be shocked by this, but be willing to say “I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for is the power of salvation for all who believe.” (Romans 1:16)  I love that Luther was open to rebuke, but demanded it be from Scripture.  May we be so open to being challenged, but confident in the foundation of God’s Word.  May we be slow to attack when others take a bold stance.
So much of what Luther was about in 1517 resonates so loudly for us in the world's culture and Church's experience of 2014.  We can point to Luther as we wrestle with being missional today, because he unapologetically points to Jesus.  May we rediscover what it means for us to say, for the sake of the Gospel of Christ, “Here we stand.  We can do no else.”

Sunday, October 5, 2014

some things take time.

I’m a slow mover.  More and more I’m becoming aware of how long it takes me to do things.  I read slowly.  I write slowly.  I don’t like feeling rushed, especially in the morning.  Even though my life seems to be a flurry of activity, I am often slow to do and create.

My mom loves to tell the story of her long labor with me.  My sisters still bring up the fact that their evening bath was interrupted when my mom's water broke and they didn't even get to wash the shampoo out of their hair.  My family rushed to the hospital, and yet, I didn’t make my grand entrance until the next afternoon.  My mom smiles as she says, “you’ve been taking your time ever since.”

I used to get frustrated with myself about this, but am growing in the acceptance and embracing of my life’s pace.  Truly, I wouldn’t dare wish that away about my story.  Slow is not void of meaning or activity, but often allows space for a richness and breath.  Most days, I might even say I like the easy moving pace of slow.  I'm usually pretty okay with the fact that, for me especially, some things just take time.

Some of my favorite projects I’ve ever made – crafts, sewing, music, worship experiences—seemed like they would never be done.  Some came in danger of being tossed aside multiple times.  But I can look at them with joy, and delight in them even more so, because they not only hold beauty, but effort, process, redemption of mistakes, and persistence.

When you move like I did a few months ago, people love to ask “so, are you all settled in yet?”  I often laugh and mention the month delay on the arrival of my belongings and how much I’ve been traveling lately.  “These past few weekends have been too gorgeous to stay inside!” I exclaim.  All of those things are true.  But it’s also true that especially in things I care about—this being creating a homey, welcoming place that reflects me and is soaked in Jesus—I move slowly.  I realized that this week as I made some significant progress in my living space.  I soak up decorating each wall or corner and make sure everything looks and feels just right.  Look at the wall on the right.  Pieces from thrift stores or yard sales.  Craft projects and upcycling.  I love that it's really old wood frames and a well loved cutting board that bring beauty to my kitchen wall.  The rich character held in those pieces didn't come quickly.  The time it took to create this wall was great.  But the feeling that came when I stood back to look at its completion this morning, was awesome.  I became okay with the time it took, when I saw how it came together.  But yes, it took time.

I know that I was made in the image of the Creator to create.  He was way more efficient than me.  Creating the universe in 6 days?!  Shoot.  I've spent longer planning an outfit.

God is a big and mighty capable master Creator.  Not just a one time Artist in the beginning, but continuously.  His favorite medium is people.  We’re stubborn.  We make mistakes.  We’re impatient.  Sometimes he has to take us apart a bit to get us to be what He’s designed.  And that takes time.  I want to jump to hanging the finished piece on wall, but the Artist is says gently, “you haven’t seen the best part take shape yet.”  So for further unfolding in my story, I wait.

While acknowledging that many areas of my life are beyond my dreams and I couldn’t ask for more, today is just one of those days that I’m feeling the rub of what seems to be little or no movement in some areas of life.  God, I’m eager for the man you have in store for me, for ministry to be mature, for community to be rich and deepening, for bucket list items to be checked, but until then, help me dig into you and allow you to work and guide.

I tend to lean into being proactive and believe strongly in its value.  There is much God has given us to work with in the meantime.  Today, though, I’m simply reminded of the Artist at work and that I’m the medium.  Some things, and often the really great things, take time.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

sour insides: dealing with what I can't fix.

I’m a “fixer.”  I consider it one of my strengths and also among my greatest down falls.  When I see things hurt, broken, or could just use improving, I want to jump in.  God has gifted me to be an encourager and to walk along side of people and I am so overwhelmed to say that he’s allowed me to watch how he’s healed and shaped people as I’ve joined them on journeys.  StrengthsFinders says I have the “restorative” strength.

But I have to confess something to you this morning.  Part of my motivation to fix or restore comes out of my desire for control, as well as often thinking I know what is best.  When I see gaps or conflicts in the lives of students I work with, friends, organizations, churches, governments, etc, I see the potential there is to be healthier, to grow, to take a risk.  There are times when I am able to have a conversation or give insight that encourages a person to consider what they might do to grow in wholeness.  

But the times where there’s really nothing I can do, when I'm completely out of control, I struggle so greatly with sour insides.  You know that feeling when your gut turns because something is broken beyond fixing, or so it seems.  A physical reaction to things not being the way they ought.  That’s sour insides.  The grief in your gut, the sad in your stomach.

  • There’s nothing I can do about health issues that rattle my family and my friends’ families.  There’s no way I can fix it.  I try to offer up articles I’ve read for new food choices or exercise options (yeah, guys…I’m a fixer).  I have to come to admit that I don’t have healing powers or a cure for cancer, but a spot in my insides began to turn sour.
  • Wars raging in our world and global conflicts are heartbreaking, terrifying, and seemingly endless.  People offer simplistic, flippant solutions from their safe American living rooms not seeing the layers of political narratives, instilled beliefs, and utter terror that reign in people that look just like us and just like the ones we see as the enemy.  Abuse and hurt continues year after year, even within the places and people that have claimed to be the presence of Christ on earth.  I get overwhelmed and angry.  I get sour insides.
  • I grieve in helplessness about the day burned in my mind and heart when we visited people who lived in a dump in Managua, Nicaragua.  We handed out snacks and juice to children through our van windows, as it wasn’t safe to even get out of our vehicle.  In minutes, our van was swarmed with desperately hungry people who lived among garbage that even contained visible bio-hazard boxes and sharps containers.  Our time was short there, as police insisted we leave the area to limit the exposure the Americans had to such an incredible blind spot in the poorest country in Latin America.  A van full of energetic and playful students was silenced for the afternoon, as the weight of an issue crushed them.  Handing out juice did little to contribute.  The issue is so huge and multi-layered.  We are powerless to save.  And a part of my insides has never unsoured from that day because that’s not the way life is supposed to be.
  • I grieve broken places in my story and the stories of those I love.  I grieve sometimes that life isn’t what I thought it would be.  Finances, struggles with children, broken relationships, lack of career direction, unfulfilled dreams, tragedy, thinking we'd be "ahead" of where we are in life by now (whatever that even means).  Circumstances that persist despite proactivity.  People that decide they don't respect, value, or even like you just because.  I find myself and others utterly out of control and at the mercy of so many factors.  And my insides sour for a moment more.
  • I don’t have any ability to change the minds or soften the words of people that vehemently and brutally disagree in hurtful ugliness within politics, race issues, community issues, and even in my very own church body.  And this morning I ached from sour insides and gut grief.

Like so many other days, I’m forced to see my inability to be the savior and stop to plead with the One who is.  There’s some days where I’m so overwhelmed by what I can’t control.  Jesus speaks gently:

“Take heart, I have overcome the world.”

”Come to me, weary one.  You’re carrying such heavy burdens.  I’ll give you rest.”

“Take my yoke upon you.  Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” 

Gut healing words.  Everything isn’t magically better, but in that time, to remember once again that Christ is King and he is the hope that will never disappoint, is enough (Rom. 5:5).  As songwriter, JJ Heller, put so eloquently, "sometimes I don't know what you're doing, but I know who you are."  (Check out the amazing song here.)

The truth is, if we could fix the world, if we could even fix ourselves, we wouldn’t need Jesus'--his saving death and resurrection--and we would quickly forget him.  I know I would be in great danger of doing so.  But we desperately see the need.  Our sour insides plead for a Savior and his “shalom” – that everything would be as it ought, whole and full of peace.  I was reminded once again this week of the power of praying “shalom” over people, situations, and seemingly hopeless conflicts.  Because I believe that there will be a day when the shalom of Christ will reign in fullness and all will be as it ought.  We pray for glimpses of it now.

So I pray once again.  Turning over my sour insides to my Savior.  Confessing my need for control and my inability to save.  Pleading for shalom where my efforts fall short.  And resting in the love of the One who overcame the world.

Christ, grant us your shalom and give us good bellies.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


I recently did a mental inventory of the people I most look up to, respect, and want to be like when I grow up.  Among the qualities of being great encouragers, faithful missionaries, loving parents and spouses, truth speakers, adventurers, secure in their own skin, self-aware, and super funny, the common trait I noticed was “intentional.”

What does that mean? 

I have a couple of friends who spent the last several months organizing a trip for a bunch of us to camp at a weekend music festival outside of Seattle.  They went to great lengths to create space for friends to connect, have an adventure, and listen to some great music.  Another couple of friends who live out of state sent me flowers and cookies on my birthday to let me know I was remembered and loved, even from afar.  For another birthday, a friend planned an entire day of thoughtful adventures and activities that we could enjoy together.  A couple of weeks ago, people traveled from near and far and changed around work schedules to attend my installation service.  Nothing could’ve been more affirming to me than people intentionally choosing to be part of my life, and even better, inviting me into theirs.  I think especially for a single person, who doesn’t yet have a spouse that has chosen her or him every day for life, it can be among the most valuable gifts in the world to know that someone has gone out of their way to choose you.

Intentional people do things—do life—with a purpose, on purpose.  The relationships I have with people who are intentional about choosing me are the most encouraging and flourishing and I am so grateful.

I think of Jesus.  He was so incredibly intentional.  He knew why he was on earth.  To speak good news, to set captives free, to heal the sick, to be one with the Father, to live perfectly, and to redeem the world.  He did it all so beautifully.  He made time for people.  He also made time for rest and prayer.  He kept the point, the point.  He spoke truth and showed great love.  Intentional didn’t seem calculated or with ulterior motive, but simply purposeful in being grace and truth.

In my not so distant past, I found myself in a less than thriving season where I was in survival mode.  The only goal I had was getting through the day.  Even though insight and encouragement from a counselor gave me new tools and perspective, I couldn’t shake the funk.  I couldn’t see beyond the dark cloud I was under.  Complaints ruled my thoughts and conversations.  I replayed days and conversations in my head and knew I didn’t like who I had become or how I felt, but wasn’t sure I knew how to do anything else.  Through some encouragement of Shauna Niequist’s book, “Bittersweet,” I was challenged to find gratitude.  So I made a choice.  One small decision to find one thing at the end of each day that I was grateful for, write it down, and put it in a jar on my nightstand.  It was a very small thing.  To be honest, those first few days, I resented the exercise and told myself I didn’t have the energy for it, but I did it anyway.  After awhile, I found myself writing a whole list each night.  I’ve watched this one small decision I made one day turn into a progression that has altered my attitude and heart.  One small choice to be intentional added some sense of stability to my world and set me on a path of increased health and joy.

When we live without some sort of intention, we can easily wind up in a place we never wanted to be without even realizing we were heading there.  Even if it’s making one choice per day to be intentional, that can be the choice that takes life in a new direction.  And not just any direction, but one that you have decided is beneficial and where you want to go.

There can’t be too many intentions at once, otherwise we set ourselves up to fail and be overwhelmed, but I’ve come up with a few for this season of my journey of living life to the full as a Jesus follower.

1.)    To be an awesome friend and family member.
I am an auntie, a godmama, a sister, a daughter, and a friend to folks in a variety of ages and stages.  More than most anything in life, I want to kick butt at being those.  I want to be present for important days and times.  Because many are far away, I want to make a point to reach out from a distance when I can’t be present.  I want to follow up on what loved ones share with me.  I want to remember them in prayer and celebrate the gift of those God has placed in my story.  I want to be intentional about making it a priority to have time with them.  I want to be intentional in how I affirm our relationships and who God made them to be with my words and actions.  I want to risk my cool points and relational control to ensure that my family and friends know I love them, see Jesus at work through them, and that I have their back.  The relationships that I feel most validated by are the ones who have been intentional in valuing me.  I love being chosen, especially by a perfect, loving Heavenly Father.  I want to give my people a glimpse of that promise of God’s choosing, by letting them know I choose them.

2.)    To be an encourager.
I have high expectations.  I can be a critic and even cynical at times.  I believe, though, that God has called me in my roles with work, church, family, and friends, to be an intentional encourager.  Proverbs 16:24 says, “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”  Paul talks multiple times in his letters about the importance of encouragement.  We, simply by speaking life and truth to each other, give each other courage to face whatever it is coming our way.  We have the power to strengthen and empower others with choosing to speak words that build up and not tear down.  In a world where sarcasm is celebrated all too often, I want to be an encourager who is intentional about her words and that they be used to affirm and encourage.

3.)    To write.
It’s been set aside for far too long.  I’ve wanted to write, but haven’t made it a priority.  It’s one of my “hobby activities” that has taken a back seat to a summer of transition, travel, and "too much going on".  But it’s time to be intentional.  Writing allows me to discover how God has placed blessings and love throughout my story, much like a child finds Easter eggs that have been carefully placed for their finding.  Hobbies are important—they add health and balance to life that can easily be consumed by career and activity.  More and more, I believe that some of our greatest vocation points are found in our hobbies—they space we have to do what we love with freedom and allow for our God-given gifts to produce something free from pressure or for compensation.  I think some of the most powerful movements, beautiful works of art, and dynamic communities have begun that way.  It’s time to be intentional – acknowledge this is something I want to be good at, a gift I want to steward well, and do it.  That and I have a “before I’m 30” bucket list item to achieve. ;-)

I always hated goals because I was afraid of what would happen if I didn’t reach them.  The pressure that accompanied them would weigh me down and sometimes even leave me paralyzed.  Now I’ve realized being intentional isn’t about arriving.  It’s simply taking one step in the right direction and celebrating the progress found in the journey.  I’m not yet where I want to be, but I’m not where I was before.  Or as Paul said in Philippians 3:12, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.”  One thing is for sure, when you’re intentional about something, even if you miss the mark, you’re going to be much closer to the bulls eye than if you didn’t aim to hit it.

For the sake of your vocations and obligations, those you interact with, and your own wellbeing, I challenge you to make one intentional choice today.  Choose where you want to go and do it on purpose.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

This One's for the Girls (who lead in the Church)

A few weeks ago, I was at a conference for churches in the LCMS to come together and share their best practices for doing ministry.  One evening, we went back into the gym to hear a solid team of college students leading a time of worship from the stage.  It only took me a few moments to realize that the two leaders of this band were young women.  Something gripped me about that.  It made me smile, but I also began to just pray for them from my seat. 

When worship was done, I felt so compelled that evening to connect with these girls—it seemed as if we had an automatic bond as worship leading women in the synod.  It’s not a large group.  We chatted for a few moments and I heard about their college paths and plans. My lovely friend, Mia, also a worship leader happen to walk by.  For the next little while, she and I spent time praying over these young ladies.  For their hearts, for their callings, for their protection and humility, for their boldness as women in worship.  I don't remember their names and maybe never even heard them, but since that day, I’ve continued to pray for these girls and others like them.  God has continued to stir in my heart the passion for raising up and releasing women to lead in his Church.  We need to be doing so with men and women alike, but in our church body, must acknowledge that women have a larger hill to climb and are often discouraged by fear or shamed out of even considering what God might do with them.

I want to encourage you today to consider joining me in encouraging the next generation of worship leaders and leaders in ministry, both men and women. This is what we prayed over those girls on that day.  And this is my prayer for all of you women who are out there serving the Church or preparing to do so.

  • Be willing.  Sister, you can lead worship.  You can lead others in their walk with Jesus.  You can proclaim God's promises to the masses and invite them to join in the proclamation.  If God is calling you to do that, do it!  Yes, there are hurdles.  If you’re in my church body, you will be an anomaly.  But you can be a huge blessing.  If God has gifted you and is calling you to lead his people to worship, don’t deny the Church the gift he’s granted you.  It’s time to step into your calling.
  • Be prepared.  People will challenge whether or not you should be in the role you are in as a worship leader or faith leader.  Learn the stories.  Study up.  I get the passages a lot from the letters of Timothy about women not speaking in church.  Don’t forget, though, Philip the evangelist, (Acts 21) had four daughters who were prophetesses.  Prophets spoke and taught the Word of God just as worship leaders now lead the speaking and singing of God’s Word for the Church each time we gather.  I adore the story of the prophetess, Anna.  After she was widowed, she never left the temple, but was there constantly worshiping, praying, and serving; eager to see the face of God, until Jesus arrived.  That’s you, sister.  Keep worshiping, praying, serving, and waiting for God to show up.  Trust that what you are doing is Scriptural and continue to test it.  Test your actions and your intentions.  Invite others into that process with you.  Honor the leadership of the pastor(s) God has placed you under.  Be steeped in the Word so that it flows from you as you lead the Church, but also that you may stand when others condemn you.
  • Be bold.  Sister, sometimes it’s challenging for us who are stepping out of the norm, but it’s time to get bold.  You will often be the sole woman in meetings of men.  You will be outnumbered and sometimes overlooked.  You must remember, if God has given you that position, he wants you to be a good steward of it.  You have been gifted with creativity and a feminine perspective.  Don’t be afraid or ashamed to share it.  You have experiences and insights that are valuable.  Even if you are not feeling honored, know that you were placed in that role for “such a time as this” like some other girl I know named Esther.  One of my favorite Scriptures is from 2 Timothy 1:7.  I speak it to myself often.   “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”  Fear isn’t of Jesus.  It’s the enemy trying to keep you docile.  Possess the power, love, and self-discipline of Christ in you.  Pray for his boldness.
  • Be tough.  In college, I learned quickly that being an outspoken female in theology classes or leader in chapel was going to not only earn me some funny looks, but, at times, some very harsh words.  I spent many tearful times wondering if this whole worship and ministry thing was worth it.  I would cry with friends, wondering why God would gift me to speak and lead when it seemed like it was so taboo.  The truth is people can be brutal.  A high school teachers told me a “smart girl shouldn’t waste her time with such things.”  Other church work students/leaders insisted I needed to “get back in line or find a new church body” as if I had been running amuck outside of God’s commands.  People both inside and outside of the Church will say things to you, about you, even against you.  It will hurt.  Hear people out with gentleness, but only accept Scriptural rebukes and put some Teflon on your armor to let the arrows slide right off.  Just remember, Jesus said that would happen when we follow him.  The enemy wants you to get discouraged and quit.  Offer the ugly up to Jesus in thanksgiving, shake the dust from your sandals, and walk on.
  • Be gentle.  This one has taken me awhile to appreciate.  My college self was a bit more fiery than I am now.  I loved to engage in “discussions” about such topics that were really more about me winning and showing up the jerks on campus.  Let’s face it.  That does nothing.  I was on a crusade for awhile to understand and free women’s roles in our church body as Scripture would describe.  I pushed and got angry.  I became defensive and ultimately lost sight of the cause of Christ for the sake of the role I thought I was entitled to and needed to defend.  Sister, when ministry becomes more about taking a stand as a female leader, then we’ve lost sight of the most important thing: the Gospel.  Don’t be afraid to step into your calling as a woman of God in leadership.   Don’t forget that Godly leadership keeps the Gospel as the thing, not to be overshadowed by any cause other than Christ.
    I eventually came to the realization that the people who thought I was wrong for being a female worship leader and faith leader would not change their minds by my arguments, anger, or witty remarks.
      My venting about them to everyone I know wouldn’t be the magic solution to swaying their opinion.  I came to realize that those people would being serving the Church, and God-willing, growing the Church in a way and to a demographic that I would not.  May we each be a little less distracted with the internal arguments, and instead serve well and reach many lost for Jesus.
  • Be humble.  You are not a rock star.  You are not a diva.  You are just a girl that God gave gifts.  He could take them away if he chose.  This is not about you.  As Christine Caine once said, "If the light shining on you is brighter than the one shining in you, the light on you will destroy you."  Let God ground you and develop you.  Don't think of yourself more highly than you ought.  Be honored to serve.  Be humble.
  • Be awesome.  Yes.  That is what I meant.  Work your butt off.  Earn your right to be there.  Don’t act entitled or play the victim church chica.  Get in there and kick some tail.  There are a lot of great worship leaders in the world and even in the LCMS.  Most all the well-known ones are men.  Ladies, this isn’t about making us famous, but God deserves for us to do the best with what he’s given us.  Don’t coast on your sweet spirit and ability to work it off the fly.  Practice.  Expect excellence.  Make a ministry more quality than when you got there (understanding that it takes time, elbow grease, and a lot of walking and working with people).  Do ministry and life with integrity.  Seek to honor Jesus in how you live and lead.  People will grow to respect and honor your leadership.  Make much of Jesus.  Show people he’s worthy by how you do everything for his glory.  Be awesome.
  • Don’t be bitter.  Look.  Ministry can be rough.  For men and women alike, this life isn’t an easy one.  But sister, you have a bit bigger target on your back.  Don’t make a scene carrying it.  You don’t do this for others or even for yourself.  This is for the Kingdom of God.  Jesus’ bride is so full of brokenness.  You will be pressed, persecuted, and struck down, but there’s treasure in you, Miss Jar of Clay.  Don’t lose sight of the fact that God is sovereign and faithful.  The brokenness of the Church is the very reason it needs you.  Resist the temptation to get ugly at people even when people are ugly.  Pray regularly against a bitter root, especially as women who can tend to take things more personally.  When we’re bitter followers, it gets a bit more difficult to know we’re Christians by our love.  Make peace with the brokenness, seek out and strive for wholeness, and ask God to keep your heart joyful.
  • Be encouraging.  There are gifted women in our churches that God might be preparing to be leaders in his Church.  Encourage them.  Draw them out.  Take special attention to mentor and disciple them.  Pray with and for them.  Give them opportunities to trying things and fail and try again.
    If you want to really encourage women to lead, specifically in worship, get women up front leading so that others might be emboldened and given permission to even entertain the dream of leading.

    One of the most touching moments of my worship leading tenure was a mom of a little blonde girl that came up to me one Sunday.
      She shared with me how I was the first female at their church to ever hold a guitar and lead the band.  Before that, girls had only ever sang backup vocals.  It wasn’t intentional by the leader.  It was just the way things were.  So here I was, leading the band, playing guitar, singing, praying, and leading the gathered in an encounter with Jesus.  This teary-eyed mom thanked me for allowing her musically-gifted, Jesus-loving little girl the opportunity to dream that she could grow up to play a guitar and point people to Jesus.  Sister, as you lead, you give others permission to do the same.  Raise up this next generation of women (and men) in the Church.  Point out their gifts and take the time to teach them what it means to lead others by following Jesus.  After all, it’s not about being rocker chicks or girls ruling the world.  It’s about Jesus, following him and raising up disciples to make disciples, both men and women.