Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Ways Men Lead that Encourage Women

Leadership is a privilege and responsibility that all men have from God. Many won't hold positions of public leadership, but they're still called to lead in the private sphere (Eph. 5:23)

It seems like everybody's talking about leadership nowadays. But ironically, many consider the idea of biblical manhood (including male leadership) passé, even oppressive. That's due in part to a radical misunderstanding of what kind of leadership God has called men to exercise. Let society think what it will. Our first concern should be what God commands, and He commands men to exercise leadership.

Some time ago, I asked some of the young, single women of Higher Rock (heretofore referred to as 'the sisters') to enumerate ways that men lead that encourages them. Below are some of their responses. (I'll include the rest in a later post.)

1. Initiating Substantial Discussions

The guys and gals are enjoying dinner together. The conversation is light and full of laughter. It could go that way all evening, but many young women (and sensible young men) would really appreciate something more substantial, and it would be great if one of the guys steered the conversation in that direction. This might involve talking about last Sunday's preaching, or sharing news about the ministries of the church, or swapping prayer concerns.

When men deliberately do this, they show that they're intellectually mature enough to think about such things. When they do it in a skillful and engaging way, they also show that they're socially mature enough to do so.

When men do this, it also gives women the opportunity to fulfill their own roles in supporting godly leadership.

2. Making Firm Decisions

According to the sisters, it's encouraging when men make firm decisions. These include things ranging from ministry decisions to where to eat. We should be able to think clearly, make good decisions, and not be easily swayed by others.

Mind you, "decisive" doesn't mean "stubborn". What's the difference? The decisive man is considerate of other people's concerns, and shows that he really has understood and valued them. His attitude is completely compatible with Christ's model of servant-leadership.
What if, after all this, the sisters still disagree with the decision? Then it would help, they say, if he explains his reasons. One sister explains,
Though it's not required for leaders to always explain their decisions—and yes, it's valid that sometimes the obedience needs to be immediate and calls for trust on our part—but there's something to be said for communicating to us [women], and not just having a master and servant relationship. Rather, if you [men] want us to know how to support you even in ways you didn't articulate or think of, it benefits a lot to communicate your reasons and thinking. For me knowing how you reason and what factors were weightier to you not just builds trust but it also helps me know you and anticipate what's important and therefore even more quickly take cues and support [your] leadership. One can't assume that just because you're being asked about your reasons that it is equal to being scrutinized or assessed but rather we want to know how you thought about it and have a better grasp of your priority and goals so that we might come alongside and not just be utusan but actually be able to help think and support. We each can't read the other [person]'s mind. Of course, us asking about your thoughts shouldn't be conditional to our willingness to support. That has to be clear on our part.
On the rare occasion that the two sides still can’t come to an understanding, according to the sisters, it’s enough to be reassured by the man’s character, his track record. This should remind us that it’s crucial for men to establish a pattern of sound reason that is firmly grounded by Scripture and upheld by prayer.

More on this in the next post.

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