Women’s Ministry Leader Survival Guide Tool #3: If You Don’t Feel Gifted to Lead

Buckle up your tool belt, leaders! Christina Fox is on the blog today to equip us with tool #3 in the Women’s Ministry Leader Survival Guide series. Have you ever felt weak and incapable of leading? I sure have! Christina teaches us how God provides everything we need to fulfill our calling. Meet Christina in her personal message to leaders. I’m cheering you on as you ready your heart for fall ministry! —Leslie Bennett, Women’s Ministry Initiatives

Do you have an “I will never” list? You know, one of those lists of things you will never do, either because you don’t have the desire or you simply don’t think you are up to the task. At the top of my list is, “I’ll never jump out of an airplane at 1,200 feet in the air.”

One of the things I’ve learned about my “I’ll never” list is that God has other plans for me. If you had asked me when I was in college if I was called to teach, I would have said, “No.” If you had asked me if I would ever speak in front of an audience, I would have emphatically said, “No.” (As evidenced by the fact that I put speech class off to the very last semester of college.) Yet teaching and speaking are two things God has called me to do since then.

It started when our church was in a bit of a crisis and everyone had to step up and help out. I found myself teaching for the first time, and I was terrified. I reminded God that teaching was on my “I’ll never” list. I reminded Him that I did not have the skills or training to teach. I pointed out that I am not a leader by nature; I’m more of a helper to those in leadership. But as I quickly learned, God called, and I had to respond.

God Calls the Weak

Perhaps you find yourself in a place where you are called to serve in leadership in some way, but you simply don’t feel gifted to do so. You don’t think you are up to the task. Maybe the thought of leadership terrifies you. You might fear making mistakes and letting people down. Or embarrassing yourself. Or freezing because you just don’t know what to do or say.

You are not alone.

Remember Moses? God called him to lead the Israelites out of slavery and into the Promised Land. The Moses we think of who parted the Red Sea and met with God on Mount Sinai didn’t start out that way. When God spoke to him from the burning bush and told him he would rescue His people, Moses said, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue” (Ex. 4:10).

Like me, Moses pointed out to God his insufficiencies and weaknesses. Then, God reminded Moses that He was the one who created man’s mouth and said, “I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak” (v. 12). But Moses insisted and asked that God send someone else. God was angry and said that Aaron could go and speak for Moses: “You shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth, and I will be with your mouth and with his mouth and will teach you both what to do” (v. 15).

God often uses the weak to carry out His will. He used the youngest and most unlikely of all Jesse’s sons to be king of Israel. He used a poor young teen to be the mother of our Savior. He called an uneducated fisherman, who often said and did the wrong things, to take the gospel to the Gentiles. God uses the weak, insufficient, and incapable and makes them strong. And in so doing, God gets the glory.

What this means is that God calls and God provides.

God Makes Us Capable

Personally, I like to know what to do before I face a task. I like to be prepared and to know all the potential issues I might face so I can plan how I will address them. I like to feel confident and capable. When I was called to serve in leadership, I certainly didn’t feel that way. I didn’t know what I was doing. But God doesn’t call us because we are already capable and sufficient; rather He makes us capable. This was true for Moses. It’s true for you and for me.

God makes us capable by giving us what we need to fulfill His calling in us. Ephesians tells us He prepared good works for us, way back in eternity past (2:10). Whatever God plans and wills comes to pass. If He calls us to something, there is nothing that will impede that work. No insufficiency in us can keep Him from using us for His kingdom purposes. 

In fact, God knows all that we need to fulfill those tasks. And just as He gave Moses all he needed, He provides what we need as well. “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence” (2 Peter 1:3). In Christ, we have all we need to serve Him in this work.

Those skills you lack? The Spirit provides them through His power at work in you. He gives gifts, things you and I don’t have within us (Rom. 12:6–8). He also produces fruit in us, fruit which enables us to carry out our callings to His glory (Gal. 5:22). He strengthens and enables us to lead and teach and disciple and do our part to build up the Church.

God also provides for us through the leadership in our churches. Our pastors and elders equip us through preaching and teaching us the Word. They lead and shepherd us in what is true and holy. “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ” (Eph. 4:11–12). God also provides older women—those experienced in ministry—to mentor and disciple us in leadership.

While I never thought I would teach or lead in women’s ministry, God knew best. And every time I’ve felt insufficient, weak, and incapable, He has graced me to do the work He’s called me to. Like Paul, I’ve come to embrace those weaknesses and boast about the God who does amazing things—even things I thought I’d never do.

So if you have one of those “I’ll never” lists, join me in casting it aside and instead wait and watch what God does as He uses us—despite our weaknesses—to advance His kingdom. 

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