Is there still a glass ceiling when it comes to women in ministry leadership? In the United States, the response may be “it’s being shattered.” Mary Jo Wilson, Vice President for Missional Engagement for Asian Access, believes the response should be the same for women around the world.
Her own desire to understand how God views women in leadership compelled her to invest time in scripture and prayer. She says that, in a world of mixed messages and traditional values, it can be easier for a women to lead from the back rather than take a more upfront role at the table where key decisions are made in ministry.
“I think it’s been difficult sometimes to capture those women and to find a place where we can engage them and develop them as leaders because they are in the background and often they’re more comfortable in the background.”
Mary Jo’s personal investment resulted in a white paper on women in leadership.
“As I studied and prayed, the point of my paper was women and men serving together and how we can come together in the body of Christ and be all about the mission – not separating and not limiting anyone to serve and be about the Great Commission.”
Her studies are now being used by Asian Access to develop better methods to engage women in their servant leadership ministry. Mary Jo believes that men must be key partners in change for women in Asia. She shares, “Some of it is engaging men to talk about how we’re going to do this so it’s not just women saying ‘we need more voice,’ but men saying ‘we need your voice’ and discussing together how we can go about that. “
Mary Jo and the team at Asian Access see women in leadership as pivotal in the countries in which they serve. “I think the Gospel speaks to us and – if we’re really experiencing the God – says that we should be saying that NO ONE is less. If we’re reading the Gospels and Christ’s interaction, He is about the oppressed and the vulnerable and certainly women would fall into that category, so I believe the Gospel is what compels us to bring women in and to say, “You’re not less and you are co-image-bearers.” And when God created us, He created us together, and together we express His image in the world.”
Learn more now about what Asian Access is doing to develop servant leaders throughout Asia.
Listen to the broadcast: (story starts at 1:47)
- Originally published on Mission Network News
- Download audio file: http://www.asianaccess.org/mnn/4-5min-Jan04-2016.mp3
- Mary Jo Wilson's web profile
- Photo credit: Creative Commons/United Nations