As many of you know, I’ve written a good bit on women in ministry. Specifically . . .
One of today’s most remarkable female Christian leaders is Jenni Catron. Today, I caught up with Jenni to interview her on her new book, Just Lead: A No Whining, No Complaining, No Nonsense Practical Guide for Women Leaders in the Church, written with Sherry Surratt.
Instead of asking, “what is your book about,” I’m going to ask the question that’s behind that question. And that unspoken question is, “how are readers going to benefit from reading your book?”
Sherry and I wrote Just Lead! with the hope of connecting and inspiring other women leaders. Leadership can often be lonely and isolating and we believe this book will affirm the importance of your calling, remind you that you are not alone and equip you to keep leading well.
Tell us a bit about the experiences that shaped the insights in the book.
My professional life thus far has included time in the corporate world as well as in ministry. Sherry’s background is in education, ministry and now non-profit leadership. Collectively we bring a diverse set of leadership experiences in leading women, leading men, leading people younger and those older than us. That diversity of experience makes the content applicable to leaders in many different arenas while also showcasing some of the consistent threads that run through leadership regardless of the context.
How is your book different from the many other books on leadership?
I think what sets Just Lead! apart from other leadership books is that it’s written to women leaders who are Christians. There are many books written to leaders and there are even a handful of books written to women leaders, but there are very few that equip Christian women who are leaders. Our goal was to help Christian women leaders see how their faith collides with the challenges they face in leadership.
Give us two or three insights on leadership that would be helpful to Christians.
Leaders are decision makers. It’s one of the key things that distinguishes us from the pack. However, sometimes we as leaders can become too comfortable and confident in our own decision making power. In the chapter on indecision I challenge leaders to pray for discernment and to remain connected to God for guidance and direction. ”Good decision making is an overflow of a heart that is in tune with God.”
The other thing I would say is to constantly be on guard for where pride is lurking in our hearts as leaders. It is so easy to drift towards taking too much credit or finding false confidence in the work God is doing in us. Proverbs 11:2 says, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” When we keep ourselves humble, God equips us with the wisdom to lead well.
What do you say to the Christian who says that God didn’t call them to lead?
You may not feel called to lead, but I do believe you are called to steward your influence well. All of us have a sphere of influence – family, friends, co-workers, children, etc. John Maxwell says, “leadership is influence”. By that definition you’re a leader to someone all the time. Regardless of whether you like the leadership word, I would encourage you to consider your sphere of influence and how you can more intentionally seize the opportunity you have to love and serve the people in it.
I agree that the New Testament envisions all Christians to be leaders. (See The Myth of Christian Leadership where I make this case biblically.) That said, what has the response been to the book so far?
We have been incredibly grateful and humbled by the response to the book so far. Every week I get emails and messages from women who are reading the book and finding encouragement and hope. I’m so inspired by every one of those responses.
What else do you want readers to know about your book?
I really believe this is one of those books you should not read alone. Grab a co-worker or friend, read a chapter every week and discuss over lunch. Gather all the women on your staff and read the book together. Create a small group… whatever it takes to build a circle for you to discuss the ideas and share your own experiences. My best leadership learnings have occurred when I’ve been able to work through them and pray over them with others.
See also An Interview with Mary DeMuth
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