Shakespeare once said: Some are born great women’s ministry leaders, some achieve greatness in leading a women’s ministry, and some have the position thrust upon them kicking and screaming.
William Shakespeare never said this. Poor, old Wilhemina Shakespeare of the Christ Bible Church in Everytown, USA, said it after her pastor selected her to lead their women’s ministry.
Wilhemina has loved Jesus since Paul first saw the light, but she tried to bolt for the nearest door when her pastor chose her to lead, saying, “I’ve never led anything more than the ‘Happy Birthday’ song at our family birthday dinners!”
Fortunately for the women of her church, Wilhemina was too slow to run away. And she knew her Bible. Rather than be overcome by fear, she turned to God’s Word and remembered Jesus’ divine discourse in Matthew 5 on how His true disciples should live.
She saw in the Beatitudes a divine design, not only for godly living, but also for godly leadership. She chose to depend on God and embrace these ten traits of a godly leader.
10 Traits of Godly Leadership
1. She bows before God continually.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matt. 5:3)
The godly leader remembers the true success of a ministry depends on Jesus, not on her or anyone else. She is bankrupt without Him. Before she steps out in leadership, she bows to the Lord in full surrender and seeks His will and wisdom.
- She makes prayer a priority in women’s ministry, not an afterthought (1 Thess. 5:17).
- She walks in humble brokenness before God and man, welcoming direction and criticism without becoming offended or argumentative (Mic. 6:8).
2. She shows compassion.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. (Matt. 5:4)
The godly leader wraps everyone in patient compassion, remembering we all go through trials and suffering.
- She reminds herself that God is working in every heart (Phil. 2:13) but not at the same pace (Phil. 1:6).
- She mourns with those who mourn and rejoices with those who rejoice (Rom. 12:15).
3. She leads with gentleness.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. (Matt. 5:5)
The godly leader considers herself a slave to Christ and to the women in His flock. He’s called her to serve and love them, not lord over them. As she serves, she studies and imitates the meekness of her Lord.
- Before she speaks, she considers if her words are true, helpful, inspiring, necessary, kind, and clear (Prov. 31:26).
- She persuades and inspires, rather than demands (2 Cor. 5:11).
4. She serves in righteousness.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. (Matt. 5:6)
The godly leader hungers and thirsts for the ministry to reflect the righteousness of Christ. She’s jealous (and zealous) for God’s name. She’s committed to staying faithful to His Word.
- She seeks to do what is good and right, no matter what (Rom. 12:1; Eph. 4:1).
- She guards the women from false teaching, doing research on resources their ministry uses to ensure that they faithfully adhere to true biblical doctrine (Rom. 16:17–18; 2 Tim. 1:13–14).
5. She’s quick to show mercy.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. (Matt. 5:7)
The godly leader remembers the mercy she’s received through Christ and is quick to extend mercy to all. She protects those God has entrusted into her care.
- She seeks restoration for those caught in sin (Gal. 6:1).
- She extends mercy when someone struggles or fails to do their job in the ministry and considers how to best help them become successful (Luke 6:36; Rom. 12:8).
6. She guards her heart from sin.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. (Matt. 5:8)
The godly leader believes the Lord when He says her heart is “deceitful above all things, and desperately sick” (Jer. 17:9). She doesn’t shy away from exhorting the women in her church to flee sin and pursue holiness.
- She studies God’s Word daily to know Him. She follows His commands (Josh. 1:8; Matt. 7:24–25).
- She is discerning about modern culture to help women overcome its temptations and traps (Matt. 10:16).
7. She seeks to be a peacemaker.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. (Matt. 5:9)
The godly leader knows that, even among the best of friends, disagreements can arise. She seeks to bring reconciliation and remembers that only God is able to judge the heart.
- She doesn’t avoid difficult conversations, but, after much prayer and with compassion, confronts when necessary (2 Cor. 7:8–10).
- She asks questions and listens well, affirming and confronting people, in order to help the women live peacefully with everyone (Rom. 12:18).
8. She displays faith and contentment in trials.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matt. 5:10)
The godly leader smiles at the future and keeps her mind on Christ when she and others come under fire. She stands for Truth, even if she must stand alone.
- She imitates Jesus, who never attacked when He was threatened, maligned, and struck. Instead, He entrusted Himself to God (1 Peter 2:23).
- She trains the women in apologetics and helps them know God’s character. She teaches them how to defend their faith with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15).
9. She counts it a privilege to suffer for Christ.
Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. (Matt. 5:11)
The godly leader expects to face persecution and every form of evil and does it with grace, counting it a privilege to suffer in service to her glorious Savior.
- She fears God, not man (Matt. 10:28; Prov. 29:25, Ps. 27:1).
- She stands firm in the full armor of God (Eph. 6:11–18).
10. She is blessed.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matt. 5:12)
The godly leader is blessed. She considers the great prophets of old and rejoices with them that any sacrifice or suffering she endures pales in comparison to the joys and rewards in heaven, even as she delights in today’s blessings.
- She commits herself daily to the study of God’s Word, keeping her eyes fixed on Jesus, the founder and perfecter of her faith (Heb. 12:2).
- She enjoys countless blessings as she builds strong relationships with the many wonderful women God sends to her church and they glorify God together (Ps. 34:1–5).
Embrace the Call to Leadership
Some of us felt the call to women’s ministry leadership almost from birth. Others accepted the position over time. Still others—like poor, old Wilhemina—had it thrust upon us, and we wanted to escape.
Whether you’re eager or reluctant, you can become the women’s leader your church needs. Follow Christ’s call to godly living as He so beautifully described in the Beatitudes and apply these ten traits of a godly leader. You’ll be blessed, and so will the ladies God has called you to serve. While there will be days you’ll be tempted to bolt for the door, don’t. Bolt for your Bible instead. Rest in Jesus and embrace His call, because “He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it” (1 Thess. 5:24).