Women’s Ministry Leader Survival Guide Tool #8: How to Honor God and Influence Your Leaders

I’m applauding Linda Green for her wisdom on honoring God by submitting to our leaders—Tool #8 in the Women’s Ministry Leader Survival Guide series. This tool isn’t always easy to follow but it’s essential if we love God and want to flourish in ministry. Today is the final installment in the survival guide series.

Would you mind dropping a comment to let us know how you’ve been encouraged and equipped for fall ministry throughout the month? While you’re at it, tell us the topics you’d like to see addressed in a future blog or ebook. It’s our honor to serve and pray for leaders like you! —Leslie Bennett, Women’s Ministry Initiatives

In God’s kind Providence, He called me over a decade ago to begin a women’s ministry at the church where I had been serving in a children’s ministry role. Without a doubt, this was God’s doing because, while my leaders gave their full support to me, there was not much clarity on what that ministry should look like. Yet even as God began to give me a gospel-oriented vision along with a passion to help women learn how to glorify God distinctly through their womanhood, I began to see that He had many lessons to teach me as well.

Perhaps God has laid a burden on your heart for women to understand their God-given design and redemptive calling to be a life-giver in their sphere of influence. If so, be encouraged that—while this is a high and holy calling—some people may not appear as enthusiastic as you are.

The reality is that our churches are filled with women and men who have been greatly influenced by the culture and may hold differing views on biblical womanhood. Along with that, your pastors and elders may have other areas of focus that seem more urgent for them to invest energy and resources into. While God calls us to lead in truth, He also clearly calls us to submit to our leaders. 

5 Lessons I’ve Learned

Thus, the question I want to speak to is this: How do we influence our pastors while still respecting and submitting to their leadership? Here are some of the valuable lessons God has taught me in my own journey.

1. This is God’s church, not mine.

While I have been at our church for thirty years and may think I know what our people need, I must continually remind myself that this is God’s church and He is sovereign over all that concerns it. I admit that when something appears clear to me, I often wonder why it isn’t as clear to others. But I have learned to take my concerns to God before anyone else.

Clearly, as we all know, God usually doesn’t work on our timetable. He entrusts His people with the gospel and appoints leaders to keep watch over the souls of those they lead. When God gives us the privilege of working alongside godly men, He commands us to do so in the context of our divine design and under the authority of His Word.

2. God created us to complete, not compete with, the men we serve alongside. 

Something that is important to understand is how feminism has affected not only our women but the men in our churches. When you think about the confusion in the culture, it’s no wonder. Men don’t know whether opening the door for a woman will bless or offend her. Today’s women are bolder and feel free to express their opinions, often in a way that undermines the leaders God has placed over us.

The truth is that while God may have given us strong leadership skills, He has not changed His mind regarding who is to lead and make final decisions in the home and church. I have learned that leading by influence rather than a loud voice, manipulation, or intimidation is far more effective.

3. Submission does not mean we have no voice or that we never speak up and share ideas. 

Submission is an attitude of quiet trust that comes from believing that God knows the needs better than we do and will work all things out in His time and for His glory. It is Christ’s submission to the cross which both motivates and informs our submission (Phil. 2; 1 Peter 2). While we can appeal to our leaders when we see something that concerns us, in the end (unless we see blatant sin at work in a leader) we are to submit to the authority God has given them in the church.

4. Our leaders will listen and respond much more quickly when our encouragement outweighs our suggestions about how they could do ministry better.

It’s easy to complain and grumble about what we think our leaders should or shouldn’t be doing. But Hebrews 13 tells us that this will be of no advantage to us. Our pastors have been entrusted with the weighty responsibility of caring for the souls of their church members. 

While that doesn’t mean they don’t fail at times (they are sinners just like us!), it does mean that they need our encouragement far more than our critical spirits. Once our leaders learn to trust us and know that we are for them, I have found that they will gladly listen to any burden God has laid on our hearts regarding ministry to our people.

5. There is power in prayer. 

The greatest thing I have learned over the years is to pray for my leaders and wait on the Lord to bring about the things He has laid on my heart. In the past few years, I have had the joy of seeing answers to prayers I began praying years ago. While movement has sometimes been slower than I’d like, I have learned to wait patiently, knowing that His plans are always better than mine and He is always at work.

If God has entrusted you with ministry to women, rejoice and work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving Jesus Christ (Col. 3:23–24).

Gracious Father, thank You for the privilege of using the gifts You have given us to serve Your Church for the glory of Your name. We pray that You will equip and empower our leaders to humbly and boldly teach and shepherd Your people according to Your sovereign purposes. Finally, we ask that, by Your grace, our words and actions would be helpful and encouraging, that they might do their work with joy. Amen.

About the Author

Linda Green

Linda Green is the coauthor of He Gives More Grace with her daughter, Sarah Walton. The thirty-day devotional offers biblical hope, encouragement, and wisdom for mothers. Linda is married to Ray and is a mother to three grown children.