Leadership Summit 2008 | NANCY BEACH & NANCY ORTBERG: Gifted To Lead – The Art of Leading as a Woman in the Church


I may have been one of the first to register for this segment of the conference (I signed up last year at the announcement), and the last to ever attend :-). In attempting to add a female staff member to this portion of the conference, I was told by customer service that I may not have been able to get in anyway, since it is women only, not just about women in leadership. Go figure. So I simply transferred my ticket over to my staffer, and she is in Chicago right now, and so I just stayed home to attend the satellite.


Well, perhaps I’m just that strange (I’m willing to own my somewhat unconventional personality). But for me, listening is a fundamental quality of leadership. So attending this segment of the Summit was a great chance for me to listen to the global issue of gender and leadership, and not just read theological books about it.

Second, I feel responsible to understand issues from all angles, especially as one who is an advocate for a more egalitarian postion on the issue. It is therefore important for me to speak intelligently to the subject, and that means gathering information from every place that I can. I thought this one-day conference would have provided me a much needed data-set for my ministry.

Third, and more sentimentally, to support their efforts.

CONTENT NOTES (from my representative there now).

Of the approximately 2,000 gathered, it is fascinating that it seems that only 1/4 to 1/3 are staying for the rest of the Summit. The room they met in this morning is around round tables, to captivate the relational aspect of women in their learning style, and they were reflective in their development, each in their individual ways, as well as collectively.

The tenor of the gathering is, as always with Willow, thoughtful and sensitive to the dynamics and diversities, even of this particular group. We must be very careful when dealing with groups of people to not categorize or over-generalize. I remember Tony Campolo sharing that his wife Peggy would observe that you can’t talk about the “homosexual lifestyle” any more than you can talk about the “female lifestyle.” Madonna and I (Peggy) are both females, but we do not have the same lifestyle.

That same sentiment has characterized this gathering as well. So, for those in the room that are too uncomfortable being surrounded by estrogen, and those in the room that are just too happy, their hope is that we would all come together to learn the principles of leadership that transcend any particular penchant towards one end of the spectrum or the other.

Jenni Catron, has posted some of the key points that were discussed at her blog; sessions 1&2, and sessions 3&4.

Keri Wyatt Kent has posted thoughts at her blog.

About VIA



  1. I admire your willingness to dig in and support women leaders in the church. Wish you could have joined us today!

  2. […], I so admire the fact that you want to be a listening leader. that’s so cool. I was at most of the day, since I’m a long-time member and volunteer at Willow. I had to leave before the last session because even though I am a leader in our church, I had to drive a carpool for my own kids. You wondered why not all the women who were at Gifted to Lead are staying for the next two days. They may have similar reasons. they don’t perhaps have the freedom or support at home to be gone for three or more days, or their church doesn’t have the budget to send them. As a listening leader, I would encourage you to keep that “home-ministry” or “home-work” tension on your radar screen. YOu can read more about my response to Gifted to Lead on my blog. Also, I highly recommend Nancy Beach’s book Gifted to Lead, and Nancy Ortberg’s book on leadership, Unleashing the Power of Rubber Bands.

  3. Pam Shell

    Where will Gifted to Lead be held in Sydney this week? Are there any vacancies? What is the cost?

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