October 18, 2018 / Ben Sternke

Repenting As We Go: A 9-Part Podcast Series on Women and Men Leading Together in the Church

Over the past few years, women and men leading together in mutuality in the church has become more and more important for us, both as local church pastors and as coaches for pastorsSo when Matt initially suggested we take a few weeks of the Gravity Leadership Podcast to talk about what we’re learning about women and men leading together in the church, it seemed like a good idea to spend three or four episodes on.

We had no idea what we were getting into! As we shared our own stories and heard stories from others, we discovered a mountain of unresolved pain and untapped potential, but also an abundance of audacious courage to keep pressing into the goodness of women and men learning to lead together in communion.

There is a mountain of unresolved pain and untapped potential when it comes to women and men leading together, but also an abundance of audacious courage to keep pressing into the goodness of learning to lead together in communion. Share on X

Nine weeks later, we finally finished the series (for now). We’ve gotten lots of encouraging responses to this series (and a bit of pushback, which we appreciated a lot). Many have shared with us how healing it has been to hear people talking about this stuff. We know we’re really only at the tip of the iceberg when it comes to understanding how much more repentance is needed. We still have a long way to go, but we have a lot of hope that men and women can learn to walk together in mutuality in the church.

Because Missio Alliance shares our commitment to women and men learning to lead together in the church, we wanted to share the links to our entire 9-part podcast series on women and men leading together in the churchWe pray that as you listen to these podcast episodes, God will give you a new imagination for how you can participate in this work of reconciliation and renewal.

Each link is to a specific episode below, but you can also subscribe to the Gravity Leadership Podcast in iTunes, or whatever app you use to listen to podcasts.)

Check out this 9-part podcast series on women and men ministering together that you won't want to miss from Gravity Leadership! @GravityLeaders Share on X

Part 1: Our Stories
Gravity Leadership cofounders Matt Tebbe and Ben Sternke share pieces of their stories regarding women leading in the church—the traditions they’ve come from, how they’ve changed, what they’re learning.

Part 2: Scripture and Hermeneutics
We dive into some of the “problematic” Scriptures that are often brought up when talking about women leading in the church, showing that there is indeed a way to interpret Scripture that allows for women fully functioning in church leadership.

Part 3: Amber and Seth’s Story
We interview Amber Haines and Seth Richardson, who work together at Christ the King Anglican Church in Fayetteville, Arkansas. They share some of the profound pain and frustration of confronting the cultural and systemic forces that resist women and men leading together, and how close they came to quitting altogether.

Part 4: Emily and Ron’s Story 

We interview Emily and Ron McGowin, who are both ordained as Anglicans, on their life and leadership together over the years. In this episode, we do some embarrassing realtime learning as it regards women and men leading together (having to do with men interrupting women).

Part 5: Why We’re Doing This Series

We take a break from interviews to zoom out just a bit and talk about why we’re talking about this issue in the first place. For us, it’s not a minor theological quibble, it’s a front-and-center issue we need to deal with if we’re going to follow Jesus and act faithfully as the church in the 21st century, because it’s ultimately about power.

Part 6: Derek’s Story
We interview Derek Radney, a friend of ours and a Presbyterian pastor in North Carolina who, while not affirming the full ordination and leadership of women, nevertheless is working for reconciliation and justice between women and men. We had a generous and generative conversation about what we’re all learning.

Part 7: Cyd and Geoff’s Story

Their relationship began when Cyd the Angry Feminist met Geoff the Very Friendly Fundamentalist. Beautiful things happened, they got married, and have pastored together for many years. Cyd shares about her ministry of friendship to men, and Geoff shares what he’s learned about calling women into leadership.

Part 8: A New Model For Leading Together

Amber Haines and Seth Richardson (who we also interviewed in Part 3) share a new theological model they’ve been experimenting with for how men and women relate to one another in friendship and leadership, rooted in the goodness of communion rather than the fear of “what could go wrong.”

Part 9: Learning As We Go

Matt and Ben, along with Becky Dunn and Deb Sternke (leaders at The Table in Indianapolis, where Matt and Ben pastor) had a roundtable discussion to finish the series, recapping and reflecting together on what they’re all learning as they’ve been participating in this podcast series.

BONUS: Tara Beth Leach on Empowering Women For Leadership

We interview Tara Beth Leach about her book Emboldened: A Vision for Empowering Women in Ministry. Tara Beth is the senior pastor of First Church of the Nazarene of Pasadena. She shares with us some of the challenges of being a woman in leadership, and how to create a culture where women can be empowered for mission, ministry, and leadership.

BONUS: Mandy Smith on Leading in Vulnerability

We interview Mandy Smith about the practice of vulnerability in leadership. A big part of Mandy’s journey as a leader has been learning to lead from a place of vulnerability, and learning to lead as a woman. We went longer than we normally go for interviews, but we just kept rolling because it was just so good (including Mandy prophesying to us just a bit at the end).

For more conversations like this, join us on Nov 10 for Church Together, a She Leads Summit in Pasadena. Regional venues also available across the nation.