Unearthing and critiquing the guiding metaphor about women is one of the most important leadership tasks in our era.
Each workplace has a guiding metaphor about women, and while most never bring it out into the open for honest dialogue and critique, it communicates loudly throughout an organization’s culture, policies, processes, and how people relate with one another.
As I reflect on research I conducted with talented women from approximately 30 nations who are serving and leading in God’s mission, I believe unearthing and critiquing the guiding metaphor about women in our ministries and workplaces is one of the most important leadership tasks in our era.
Females make up more than half of the people in our congregations and more than half of the global mission work force. To do their best work, they need a guiding metaphor that is affirming of their gender and humanity.
Women as Temptresses Who Cause Men to Stumble
Sometimes, it feels like the prevailing metaphor in many evangelical ministries and workplaces is “women are temptresses.” Ever since Eve took a bite of that forbidden fruit, it can feel like women are blamed for many of men’s shortcomings and character defects,especially in the area of sexuality.
In all my years of ministry, I have yet to meet one woman leading in God’s mission who had the intent of snaring a man and leading him down a destructive sexual path.
Nevertheless, because of this guiding metaphor, women leaders are often separated from men and frequently shut out of opportunities that impede their development. I believe in exercising wisdom when it comes to sexual temptation, just as I adhere to wisdom when establishing processes in other areas such as integrity regarding how money is handled.
There are basic principles that are simply wise to implement in a wide array of situations because …
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