Deep Imprints

Your Workplace is your Ministry

Resignation of Eve thoughts

It can be very confusing being a woman who yearns to  use her whole person to serve God.

I’m not ready to review this book yet, but its import is too great to not start a conversation.

I’ve been reading this book since Saturday night, and I have to tell you – it is stretching. I have a growing pain in my heart as I listen to women who are bound by tradition and others who have been disillusioned by tradition. Both are sitting in the same pews, both are hearing the same message, but the results are (in my opinion) equally devastating.

Jim’s premise is that women are either resigned to their subservient role in the church, resigned from the church because of the same thing, or re-signing in a new way. I am at the point of the book where we are beginning to hear from the re-signers.

Most interesting was my own reaction – those resigned to their role made me nauseous. I was terrified at how much I have in common with those who have resigned from the church to apply their skills and find their identity elsewhere. I really understood their frustration and even some of their conclusions. However, I know God’s voice. Where God calls, He provides. I believe, from the root of my being that my purpose in life will only come out of my relationship with God. However, I really understand how many powerful women (and men I bet) have left the church because of its hierarchical structure.

In the midst of the discussion, Jim points out that our hierarchical structure of days gone by is coming to an end. However, I have seen people who have tried to lead without leading, and this doesn’t work either.

Two things I have solidified in my thinking as I’ve read the first 2/3 of this book:

    1. All leadership is permission based. I know that I have always waited for permission to lead. Permission is from those who follow, but for me they have also been by way of a lid-lifter – someone who can help me lift my own lids and societal lids to operate in the giftings I have.
    2. The leadership that is needed is one of facilitation and vision. A firm understanding of where the church as a whole is headed, a firm understanding of the local congregations role in that overall vision, and then the ability to come alongside each person based on his/her personality, temperament and giftings, and show him/her where they fit and what their next step is.

This is a bit of rambling, but if you are female, and if you are trying to be what God has called you to in a very confusing time (now) and place (the church), this is a necessary conversation.

6 Comments

  1. Kim – that was a very thoughtful response. You made yourself vulnerable (I’m currently developing a workshop grounded in the work of Dr. Brene’ Brown’s “The Gifts of Imperfection” and her TEDxTalk “the Power of Vulnerability”)

    I am one of the women who has resigned “from” church for now. Having spent my whole life in church (more than 50 years) plus working on staff at a megachurch for 5 years…my story did not make the book. But, I have known Jim Henderson for more than 10+ years.

    In this book, Jim is inviting us to the conversation – to make it safe to talk about it publicly – we’ve been talking about it amongst ourselves for a long time.

    Leaving was a very sad day for me, but I could not stay and remain silent – and I had lost my voice at my church. God has not left me nor I Her. (God is after all both masculine and feminine)

    I would like to invite you and your readers to our upcoming free – Resignation of Eve Cloud Conference on Feb. 27 @8pm EST – you only need a telephone to join the call and have a chance to participate in a conversation with Jim and the women of “Resignation of Eve.” David Kinnaman, President and author of the Barna Group will also be on this call to talk about his latest research on women and the church. http://myaccount.maestroconference.com/conference/register/D5YMSUE4530RMOB – Hope you are able to join us. Thanks, Elaine Hansen

    • Kim

      22/02 at

      Thanks Elaine – I am looking forward to the conference. My heart aches as I read your story – I know the pain. I wonder what God is up to?

      • Your quote,”I wonder what God is up to?” struck me right in the center of my chest. I firmly believe that we (righteous and unrighteous, alike) are on the cusp of a huge shift in how we define church. I remember the late 60’s and the 70’s which was a revolutionary time for the church in so many ways. I think we are going to see something just as revolutionary and I think the “refugees” from the church are going to play a huge roll in this shift. There are a lot of leaders out there that are asking the right questions and some pretty significant books being written. What it’s going to look like on the other side I can’t even hazard a guess, but I am so excited to see. I definitely want to be a part of that shift.

  2. I never felt that I had a place for my true giftings or my true leadership strengths within the confines of a local church. However, I do know I am called – not all called people are called to traditional church ministry. Regarding your two points – I am having trouble wrapping my head around the first point of leadership based upon permission. I believe that leaders lead – they just do – they can’t help themselves. Leaders fill caps – they intuitively find those spots and places where direction is lacking and they direct, mentor, organize, manage – they just lead. Permission is unnecessary – it’s like getting permission to have green eyes or brown hair – you just have those things or you don’t. I believe leaders don’t have to look for leadership opportunities – the opportunities will find them. Regarding your second point, of facilitation and vision. True leaders do facilitate and true leaders have a vision. In fact, I don’t think you can lead if you don’t have a vision. What characterizes leaders ordained and created by God vs those created by men is that they have the ability to engage people in their vision and instinctively facilitate that engagement. I can always tell when someone is trying too hard, myself included. I do know that God has called all of us to be the best possible us we can be and that has nothing to do with a bunch of man-made rules or an archaic paradigm.

    • Kim

      22/02 at

      Thanks Rhoda (did you notice I got the comments sort of fixed?). My point on permission is that you aren’t leading if no one is following. In all honesty, you can do all the points of leadership right, but if nobody is following, you are talking to the wind.

      You know how much I honor you and know that God has a great plan and job for you on planet Earth. I look forward to see what doors He is opening next.

  3. Jim Henderson

    13/02 at

    Kim

    I appreciate your honesty and look forward to seeing where this leads for you. Id love to see conversation groups form in different denominations.

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