25A large crowd was following Jesus. He turned around and said to them, 26“If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. 27And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple.
28“But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? 29Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. 30They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’ Luke 14: 25-30, NLT
Kingdom work is costly. It requires that you carry a cross. Many, however, have exchanged the proverbial cross for spaces and places of comfort, both socially and psychologically.
This past year and a half, I have been privileged to travel across the Country and speak with many individuals of various races, ages and socioeconomic status. The subject was women in ministry. Time and time again, I heard individuals lament the fact that pastors, laity and denominations have begun to say it is no longer an issue because so many women have become licensed and ordained, are serving in churches in various capacities and are even becoming senior/solo pastors.
One female pastor, working on her doctoral dissertation was told by her doctoral advisor to abandon thoughts of writing about the topic because “it is no longer an issue.” Ironically, the visible “success” of women in ministry over recent years has served to hinder the broader work of opening doors for women called to pastor.
As discussed in my book, Beyond the Stained Glass Ceiling: Equipping and Encouraging Female Pastors (Judson Press, 2013), although increasingly becoming the largest demographic graduating from seminaries, women still significantly lag behind men in positions and pay in the Church. Women still only comprise approximately 10-12% of senior/solo pastors across all Protestant denominations. The fact that you can name female pastors across the nation that have been called to mid-sized to larger more stable congregations is an indication of how few there are.
Because of the “success” of women graduating from seminary, being licensed and ordained, being called to serve as pastors (most serving in churches that are near death, have died or are so broken and dysfunctional that no man would ever consider going!) the view is rapidly becoming, “It’s no longer an issue.”
Tragically, even women who are happy to have “something, rather than nothing” are reluctant to continue to press for greater progress and opportunities. Yes, certainly the foundation has been laid, but the house is not built! Has success become our enemy? Much like those who believe that racism is no longer an issue in America because we have elected our first African American President, many believe that women ministers have broken through the stained glass ceiling and therefore, need to move onto more important matters.
There is a cost associated with pressing this conversation. But true success and deliverance is always a costly endeavor.
Yes, a little success can be a dangerous thing. Consider Dan Black’s words concerning the issue…
Three Undeniable Dangers of Success
Dan Black on Leadership:
I’ve not achieved the level of success I desire. However, I have seen enough success in different areas of my life to know: Success can leave in a blink of the eye if you’re not careful. If you want to achieve and maintain success then you should avoid common success killers. No matter the level of your success remember it has the potential to bring these dangers:
1. Future success can be blocked-http://danblackonleadership.info/archives/3908
When you begin to obtain success, it can be tempting to relax and enjoy the moment. Relaxing and celebrating for too long can cause you to forsake the success you’ve achieved and be a roadblock to further success. This is because you stop putting in the hard work, effort, and energy that first allowed you to become successful. One solution is to take a short amount of time to relax and celebrate then to keep taking action toward higher levels of success.
2. Success can cause you to stay in your comfort zone-
Nothing significant or great is ever done in your comfort zone. A danger of success is that it can cause you to stay in your current situation or comfort zone. Success can bring comfort and complacency. This can prevent you from taking action or calculated risks. To avoid this danger I recommend being intentional about regularly moving outside your comfort zone and to associate with people who stretch you.
3. Success can bring harmful changes-
Success can bring harmful inward changes. The harmful changes might include: pride, arrogance, self-absorption, a sense of entitlement, and becoming egocentric. These cause a person to become an Outside-In Leader. This is dangerous because a leader’s inward life (heart condition) is shown outwardly through their actions, attitude, and behaviors. These changes can impact every area of your life. The solution is to be self-aware, have accountability partners (To keep you level headed), and to clothe yourself with love, kindness, and humility.
Post a comment or send me an email at Shepastor1@hotmail.com
Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,