Although you may see yourself as merely one among millions of Christian women, God has great plans for you to leave an eternal impression on others. He has created and called you to spiritually influence those around you—your children, friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors. This practical guide will help you grow in the six fundamentals of spiritual leadership and encourage you on your own journey from ordinary woman to spiritual leader.
“I not only recommend this book, I know I will be using it as I minister to women.”—Dr. Beverly Hislop,author of Shepherding a Woman’s Heart and Shepherding Women in Pain
“Kay’s own experience and the stories of women that are included illustrate how powerful these truths are and how crucial they are for women who truly desire to serve God in an extraordinary way.”—Susie Hawkins,author of From One Ministry Wife to Another
Chapter 1 The Fragrance of Leadership "What's in a name? That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet." Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 43-44) As Juliet so wisely stated, it’s not the name that determines the beauty and fragrance of the flower. We can recognize a rose simply by its unique scent. Is that true of leadership? Can we identify a leader without a title or position? If you act like a leader and smell like a leader, are you a leader, even without the label? What about you personally? Do you consider yourself a leader? Do you influence someone? If so, what would it take to turn that relationship into leadership? In other words, what is the fragrance of a leader? Just last week, I discussed leadership concepts with a friend. When she heard the topic, she suggested that it wouldn’t apply to her since she is not a leader. I disagree with her assessment, knowing that she encourages her children and grandchildren toward God’s kingdom and inspires others to grow in faith through the Christian books that she has written. What is it that makes us feel that we aren’t leaders unless we lead a committee, a large ministry, or a church? Why do we think that leadership requires an organized effort? What is the fragrance of leadership? Does my friend misunderstand its scent? God has a unique plan for you that utilizes your personality, gifting, and life situation to intentionally influence others. It may be time for you to take that truth seriously and open your heart to follow him on a journey to fulfill his purposes. You have every reason to be excited about what God has in store for you as a leader. I was an unwilling leader who found herself unexpectedly directing a team without a title on two different occasions. The first situation was not the designated chairperson’s fault, but the second one was. The woman abandoned her responsibilities; she failed to take action or move the group forward toward its goal. Because of my natural tendency to get things done, I began to do much of her work. (Or perhaps, I just couldn’t stand the feeling of having no one in control!) Although she continued to chair our meetings, she neglected her other duties. My response wasn’t particularly positive toward her because I felt used. This wasn’t delegation but abdication! Who was the leader of that group? Was it the chairperson who held the title? The way we define the term leader will help us determine the answer to that question. Certainly, those with titles and positions are easily recognized as leaders. My friend D’Ann chairs a Christmas luncheon committee which plans, organizes, and presents an outreach event so that women experience the love of Jesus. Many of my friends facilitate small groups that encourage other women in the scriptures. Christy leads in a ministry that networks Christians who provide healthcare to the poor in urban and rural communities. In her church staff position, Amanda plans and organizes the Sunday morning children’s ministry, leading a huge number of volunteers. Such roles involve both name and responsibility; they have the aroma of leadership. When there is no title or position and the work is less organized, we are less likely to call it leadership. 2 Cor. 2:14-16 (NET) says, But thanks be to God who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and who makes known through us the fragrance that consists of the knowledge of him in every place. For we are a sweet aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing—to the latter an odor from death to death, but to the former a fragrance from life to life. And who is adequate for these things? Intentionally or unintentionally, we are steering others spiritually, either toward Christ or away from him. Wherever we go, we hopefully leave behind his scent, thus opening up opportunities for us to draw people toward God’s vision. The fragrance of Christ comes through our words, our actions, and our attitudes. Paul says that some are drawn to the fragrance while others are repelled by it. When we verbally communicate God’s vision to those who enjoy the aroma so that they embrace it as their own, we lead them spiritually. The opportunity is there with our children, our friends, our co-workers, and our extended families because our influence pervades every relationship that we have. Leadership expert John Maxwell concurs, “The true measure of leadership is influence—nothing more, nothing less.” What turns a relationship of influence into spiritual leadership? My answer is intentional spiritual communication. Once we determine to cast a vision for God’s best and someone responds, we are guiding spiritually. We may begin by sharing our lives so that others whiff a trace of Jesus; eventually, however, we speak about our faith. The vision we cast may depict a need to follow Jesus for the friend seeking answers; it may paint a portrait of increased dependency on Christ for the struggling believer; or it may explain the future promise of bodily resurrection for someone with chronic illness. That’s when the fragrance of Christ mixes with the fragrance of leadership, with or without the name. What’s in a name? Nothing—it doesn’t matter if anyone else would call you a leader or whether you have a recognized position or title. You have the potential to grow and develop spiritual leadership skills, thereby impacting those around you. The decision and the determination to act are up to you.
Kay Daigle is a leader, having spent a total of ten years on church staffs leading women’s ministries and marriage ministry. She has taught and written her own Bible study curriculum for women for twenty years. Her desire is to help equip women for maximum influence wherever God places them. Kay served for a total of ten years on church staffs at Northwest Bible Church and Prestonwood Baptist Church, both in the Dallas area, leading their women's ministries. Kay earned her MA in Christian education with a focus on women's ministry from Dallas Theological Seminary and her Doctor of Ministry degree from Gordon-Conwell Seminary in effective ministries to women. A lifelong Texan, Kay and her husband of forty years, Gary, live in the Dallas area. They most enjoy time with their grown children, terrific son-in-law, and granddaughter. Kay prefers Tex-Mex over sushi and escargot. She also loves books, movies, and travel, as well as time with good friends. You can follow Kay on twitter @kaydaigle or friend her on Facebook.