Gender Equality and Leadership

Good news on the horizon. Gender equality is nearly here. After a long spell of gender imbalance due to sheer numerical strength, my world is opening up to the other sex. I think it is fair to say that gender equality is in sight, although still far off. Finally . . . . we are starting to see some MEN involved in missions.

In my field, women normally far outnumber the men. It has been said that a 7 to 1 ratio is normal for some areas of the world. But as the world of missions begins to impact the home front in UK and USA, we are seeing more equality. And men are turning up. About time.

Last week I was part of an incredible week of events that included training, networking encouragement, counsel and strategy. The event was put together by Karen Campbell and Shannon Hopkins and was inspired by a meeting we had in Houston last year concerning the WMU.


The Women’s Missionary Union is the largest organized laity in the SBC and the largest Protestant organization for women in the world. Over the years, the WMU has raised $2 billion dollars for missions (or so i was told) through donations, sales of their magazines and products, and through investments. Thats actually a whole lot more than many mission organizations could ever hope to raise. WMU are looking into storytelling online as a means of sharing the missions vision with local churches, and a number of us have been helping the creative process. Well, Shannon and Karen more than anyone. And this is part of the reason we were all meeting in London.

We had a hoot of a time. It would have been even better if my wife was able to come [she had to stay back with the kids but Karen and Shannon were INSISTENT that she came] Heres a 2 minute movie of an interesting conversation about gender that we had on the London underground where we talk about gender reconciliation.

[movie removed temporarily – someone does not want to be on the movie – i am waiting to hear]

{18.5.06 Movie added again with blessing of BW]

Who’ s in the movie? From left to right:

– Robin Paoli from San Francisco is looking into bringing the Doxology exhibition into her city.

– Bjoern Wagner from Kubik, Germany (where i preached last year) is doing most of the talking. Everyone loved him.

Shannon Hopkins who started the Emerging Church Network in Texas and allowed the men to take it over. Shannon works with me as a colleague and ministry partner. She has helped me with some large events and I have helped her with some large events (like WabiSabi). The ECM has since taken a very manly turn but is still moving ahead in Shannon’s absence.

Emily Chalke, daughter of Steve Chalke, who is preparing to permanently move to Bangkok next month to live among and minister among prostitutes. She has been active in stopping human trafficking in UK and Bangdok. In most hard-core mission environments I have seen around the world, women greatly outnumber the men.

– Trish Taylor, joint author of “The Leader’s Journey” came to counsel and encourage.

– Ken Shuman, “Poker Pastor” at Main Street Crossing, Houston.

– Larry Jay, about to start an outdoor pilgrimage ministry in California

– Becky Shuman, partner in marriage and ministry with Ken.

– Karen Campbell, of UBA Houston, leading this group and representing the Women’s Missionary Union,

– Julie Blick, survivor of my youth group in the 90’s along with sisters Cindy and Maggie, and now a vital part of our lives and ministry.

And just in case you thought i was losing touch with my manhood and getting pushed around by the women, I want you all to know that I exerted some seriously STRONG LEADERSHIP when they all arrived home on Friday. Having spent the afternoon in the kitchen preparing the pizza, I gave firm and razor sharp direction in how to roll out the dough AND place the pizza ingredients for maximum effect. I don’t know what they would have done without me.


Why? – because sometimes you have to exert your leadership to get the job done, whether you are male or female. And in Christ, we are neither (Gal 3:28).

Hey – thanks Karen and Shannon for pulling together a superb event – series of events – that were encouraging, inspiring, healing, stimulating and allowed me to bring my gifts also. Thanks also to those that travelled so far to give of themselves. You have made a huge impact and we look forward to moving ahead together. Huge regrets that Debbie was not able to come for this one.

Related: Women: Am I missing something?

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Andrew Jones has been blogging since 1997. He is based in San Francisco with his two daughters but also travels the globe to find compelling stories of early stage entrepreneurs changing their world. Sometimes he talks in the third person. Sometimes he even talks to himself and has been heard uttering the name "Precious" :-)


  • well they do say ‘behind every good man……’ or maybe that should be ministry ??
    what a delightfully happy gift you have been given in being able to recognise that God’s Kingdom is being extended most radically through the suffering service of women who simply go out and do as Jesus commanded
    do you think when God said ‘it is not good for man to be alone’ that was a recognition that mothing would ever get done if men were simply allowed to implode under the weight of their own so serious thinking ??
    i like the laughter in your video – it is such a blessing of God’s graciousness that men and women can come together and explore the issue of reconciliation in an atmosphere of merriment and non threat

  • Gender Equality Video

    //MOOD: Swell //ITUNES: Last Night by Over the Rhine TallSkinnyKiwi posted a video about Gender Equality that also talks about Americans and Germans. And considering the fact that there are a lot of people of both genders, as well…

  • Gender Equality Video

    //MOOD: Swell //ITUNES: Last Night by Over the Rhine TallSkinnyKiwi posted a video about Gender Equality that also talks about Americans and Germans. And considering the fact that there are a lot of people of both genders, as well…

  • Andrew, you never had a chance! I don’t know about the others, but Shannon, Trish, and Karen can hold their own with anyone! te

  • Andrew, I’m a regular reader of your blog. Enjoy it. Thanks for the observation regarding the frontlines of missions and gender equality. Perhaps a growing recognition of the mission field surrounding us will compel us to empower the whole church, both men and women for missional leadership. The concern for position in the church has lead to the consolidation of power in the church, which I belive has lead to less effectiveness in community transformation and effective discipleship. More women have been willing to take on the humility required to serve in the trenches of human life for the Gospel. Thanks for noting what may become a trend.

  • Only you could write a post like this, gracious sir. And it was great reading, and encouraging too. I skate around reading blogs about ministry and have just lately got it in my head (last week, in fact! thanks to some insight from an essay of Eugene Peterson’s) that “pastor” does not mean “male”. And pastor does not means presiding over a church property. I like that bit of freedom too!

  • Hey Andrew – if it was me – I was just making fun. Put the movie back on – it’s nice. So please go ahead do this. The mail I sent you probably got lost, so I do this via comment. I would be glad if you linked my blog to the name, so people would get to know the other side of me instead of being a stand up comedian in the london tube.
    Greetings from Germany! Keep it up

  • Great post – but left wondering how long Emily must suffer from “famous dad syndrome” and why we succumb to the trap of describing people in this way.Was it relevant to what she contribute to be Steve’s daughter?
    PS: refernce recent PC ticking off about using “girls” about women – my 17 year old daughter and 40 something wife are on a “girls night out” – their term!

  • Gender Equality

    TallSkinnyKiwi claims that there is an increase in gender equality in one area of the Church, men are finally getting into missions. Maybe its because we spend so much time running the local churches, but women have had a much stronger p…