Every Christian woman has a God-given purpose. Did you know that one of the specific purposes God has for each woman is for her to be an active leader in the church?
Written by a member of the Lord’s church, Teresa Hampton’s Leading Ladies: Willing Hands, Willing Hearts gives us a complete look at leadership. The book starts with a practical look at this calling for women. Teresa Hampton writes, “…I am reminded that though the world may choose a certain type of leader, one that looks the part, a true leader may emerge from a young shepherd boy, or from a frightened young woman who has taken on her first Bible class… God is always looking for individuals with pure hearts who are willing to lead.”
If you doubt that this is true of you, you may currently have misconceptions about leadership. Leading Ladies identifies them and shows us the view that we should have. Have you ever thought any of these things: the ability to lead is a talent that only some possess, a leader must be profound and well-spoken, must be married, must be a certain age or maybe that leadership in regard to Christianity should just be left to the men? If so, Leading Ladies is a great resource for you. Whether it is misconceptions like these or discouragements in your life that hinder you from believing you can lead, don’t let anything keep you from embracing this role that God has for you. We are to strive to be leaders in our realm of influence no matter where we are in our lives.
As we already know, the leadership each woman is called to is not leadership in corporate worship. But, oftentimes, we ladies are content to leave the responsibility of leadership within the parameters of the worship assembly. Leading Ladies outlines for us the scriptural guidelines given for our role in the church, how we are to cultivate it in our everyday lives, and what God expects each of us to accomplish.
Throughout this book, Teresa Hampton uses many examples from the Bible along with her own personal experiences to show us the importance of this calling for women. These examples serve as an encouragement as she helps us see that leaders are not perfect. I particularly appreciated her look at Elijah. She says,
Leaders must be spiritual to the core, but let us not forget one essential point – they are human. As I turned to God’s word to break the inconsistency, scripture revealed that spirituality is not a constant… Elijah’s victory on Mount Carmel must have created within the prophet an enormous spiritual high… He followed the astounding contest with another amazing work of God, the ending of the long drought (I Kings 18:20-46)…Jezebel sent word to Elijah that by the next day he would be as dead as the prophets he had executed. Elijah ran for his life and eventually hid in a cave near the mountain of God… In reality, Elijah was in the middle of a major pity party. He had convinced himself that all the other righteous men and women had been put to death, leaving him to play a cat-and-mouse game with a wicked king and queen. Elijah had had enough of this leadership business… With a still, small voice God forced Elijah to realize he had taken his focus off the Creator and had concentrated on his own woes. God redefined the situation; God redirected him in the work that had to be completed, gave him a trusted servant in Elisha, and comforted him in the knowledge of the many faithful who were continuing to honor God in Israel. The resounding lesson for leaders must be that when trials, disappointments, depression, grief, or physical illness draws us away from the work of the Lord, and they will, we must remember that the work of God must go on. If we continually look to God during the difficult moments, He will refill our cup, pointing us back to the positive force which refreshes our souls.
Examples like this one and others clarify leadership – the benefits, the struggles and the overall goal.
This book would be helpful to any Christian woman, but it is an especially good read for those who are young in age or in their faith and need a start in the direction of leadership or for those who need an encouraging reminder that God is indeed using them. I benefited from reading this book because it challenged me not to let anything, including myself, get in the way of consistently serving the Lord’s church. I have difficulty seeing myself as someone who should lead because I am not as extroverted as I would like to be or as comfortable with taking the initiative with church matters partly due to my age. However, after reading this book, I have gained a better view of God’s will for me in leadership. I’ve also been given the encouragement and confidence I need to pursue the opportunities I have to serve the church where I am now in life and in the years ahead.
Teresa Hampton conducts class, workshops, and special events for ladies. In addition to Leading Ladies, she has two books: Illuminating Shadows and Come to the Garden. She is writing a book especially for girls on leadership. Teresa attended Freed-Hardeman University, Georgia Military College, and Theological University of America. She taught kindergarten and middle-school girls in Christian schools in Mobile, Alabama and Valdosta, Georgia. Teresa encourages and instructs ladies at East Tennessee School of Preaching and Missions in Knoxville where her husband Gary serves as director. She edits Wellspring, a monthly e-newsletter (www.thebible.net/wellspring) to inspire, motivate and strengthen women. Gary and Teresa have two children: Nathan and Tabitha.
By Rachel Wilkie
Rachel (age 23) serves with the Bear Valley church of Christ in Denver, CO. She is the daughter of Brian and DeAnn Wilkie and sister of Jack, Anna and Joe Wilkie. Her father, Brian, serves as an elder for the congregation. Rachel’s interests include gardening, reading and cooking.