As women in church leadership, we experience unique challenges and face obstacles that can keep us from walking confidently in our calling.
I can think of many times where I’ve found myself trapped in a mindset of “I’m not good enough” stifling my ability to lead effectively. That cunning enemy called self-doubt can creep in and cause my self-confidence to retreat.
That leaves me feeling stuck and unsure of what to do next.
Rather than reaching for the latest leadership self-help book or the “how-to gain back your confidence” blog post, I prefer to look to the courageous heroes in the Bible.
These people and stories inspire me to refocus on God’s Word where I find assurance that He is the only life coach I need.
One such Biblical heroine, whose tale of bravery is worthy of its own Marvel blockbuster movie, is Queen Esther. It’s in her valiant story that I garner powerful strategies on how to lead effectively in ministry.
In this post, I’m going to unpack 5 ways we can each lead like Esther.
1. Be a Courageous Leader
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary describes courage as mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.
When the stakes were high, Esther rose to the challenge.
It took great courage for young Esther to approach the King with her request to save her people. Esther certainly knew death was a possibility, but she was willing to die if it meant answering God’s call to save her people.
It is highly unlikely that we will have to risk death in our leadership roles. However, we do need courage to step out of our comfort zone in order to grow.
Stepping out pushes us to take chances in leadership that create room for innovation and creativity—even when success is not guaranteed.
As Nelson Mandela put it, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.”
Stepping out in faith can be scary, but that is when we discover who we truly are as leaders. It is where we experience meaningful growth and where our bravery inspires others to follow.
Pause to Reflect
When was a time you had courage to step out of your comfort zone in leadership? What was the result? In what ways did you grow as a leader?
2. Be a Strong Leader
Esther asked her uncle to recruit a prayer team “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa and fast for me…”
She was leaning into her heavenly Father for her strength. She modeled it by praying and fasting in the same way she asked those she led to do. She surrendered herself to God knowing it was His strength she needed.
So many times, we rely on our own strength and don’t even realize it. We get ourselves caught up in the details of our jobs. We allow frustration, exhaustion, and anxiety to sneak in and distract us from our real source of strength—Jesus.
It is imperative to have an active and dedicated prayer life. You don’t want to be so good at leading that your spiritual life stinks.
Recruit a prayer team for your ministry and share prayer requests with them on a weekly basis. Be specific in what you ask them to pray for. Ask your team how you can pray for them also.
Pause to Reflect
How is your prayer life? How can you make it better? Who are people you can recruit to pray for you and your ministry?
3. Be a Servant Leader
“The measure of a leader is not the number of people who serve him/her but the number of people he/she serves.” John C. Maxwell
Esther’s servant heart shines through her obedience to God’s call, her humble service to the King, and her willingness to sacrifice her life for her people.
Our eagerness to serve others in leadership is contagious and blesses those on our team, staff, and senior pastoral team.
Always assume good intent of others and approach them with an attitude of grace. This builds trust in you as a leader. Remember, we are all in this together and work for the glory of God.
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. Phil 2:6-7
Pause to Reflect
What are some ways you can serve your team? Your fellow staff members? Your senior pastor? Keep a journal of how your service to others is helping you become a better leader and reflect on it from time to time.
Ask yourself, how can I serve more effectively?
4. Be a Leader Who Seeks Wise Counsel
Esther’s Uncle Mordecai pushed her to go to the king when it was dangerous to do so. He reminded Esther that God is in control with his words, “And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14.
We are best served by surrounding ourselves with team members who will push us to lead outside of our comfort zone and encourage us to follow God’s direction.
An accountability partner is essential for keeping us on track both spiritually and professionally.
It is also important to have an open dialogue with senior leadership in the church.
Invite them into your ministry and share your goals while also asking for their input. It is critical to your growth as a leader and to the unity of the church.
Who is your Mordecai? Think about a situation where your accountability partner helped guide you down the right path when you were starting to veer off course.
Pause to Reflect
Do you meet with your senior pastor on a regular basis to share your wins and challenges in ministry? If so, how has that helped you? If not, I encourage you to do so.
5. Be a Strategic Leader
Esther made her plans carefully, keeping in mind all the elements that could thwart what she was trying to accomplish. She gently approached the King to invite him and Haman to a banquet she had prepared for them. Then Esther waited until a second banquet to approach him with her request.
She carefully considered all the elements and personalities she was confronted with and strategically executed her plan to create the best possible scenario for success.
You must approach your ministry in this same way.
Be sure you have a strategic plan for your ministry that includes your vision, mission statement, goals, and church’s mission statement. Share it with your team and the people you serve in ministry often.
Everyone on your team should know your mission statement, understand the vision for your ministry along with the vision of the church and how they work together for the kingdom of God.
It is vital to creating a supportive and encouraging culture for your ministry. It is also important to evaluate your progress on a regular basis and adjust as needed to be sure your ministry is thriving.
Pause to Reflect
Do you have a mission statement for your ministry? If not, try to write a one sentence mission statement.
How does your mission statement align with the mission of the church? Do your team members know your mission statement? What are ways you can communicate your ministry vision to your team? The people you serve?
Lead Bravely Like Esther
In today’s world of high tech, high stress, and high expectations, we, as women leading in ministry, need to dust off our crowns and answer God’s call. We need to be leaders worth following.
We need to be brave like Esther in order to lead the next generation into God’s kingdom—with laser-focused confidence in our identity as daughters of the King.
Now that’s a leadership assignment I am honored to accept.
Won’t you join me for such a time as this?