Mapping the Journey
How do we get to the place where healing and reconciliation between women and men is possible? The journey begins with stopping the blame game. I think on some level assigning blame gives us a sense of control and closure. Like we’ve done something. If we are looking for blame, we will always be looking backward. That should tell us something.
Jesus didn’t look backward; he was always looking forward, saying and doing things that ushered in the future. It is crucial to ask the right question when it comes to changing the way women and men work together. “How could our healing, wholeness, and restoration be woven into a story that brings glory to God?” That’s a question worth asking and living. If we will take a clue from Jesus, we will reframe suffering and tragedy into possibility and hope (see John 9:1–3).
I believe gender inequity is at the heart of the world’s greatest felt needs. God’s original design was that men are not designed to be alone, but to live in relationship with not only God, but women (see Genesis 2, especially verse 18). God created the best leadership model—men and women together. The way we were designed for each other is deeply connected to who God is. The way we think about God is at the root of our relationships: God is Trinity; God is not alone; God is community; God is relationship; God is shared leadership; God is relational; God is all the things that gender equity will help us create on earth. The essence of godly leadership is shared, mutual, and flourishing.
Change begins with us, right now. Your venture into the transition of men and women working together might feel unfamiliar and unsettling. Expect it and talk about this with your teams. Take care of each other. Look for experienced leadership teams who have done the transition to gender equity before. Ask them for guidance and help. Change takes time. And those who really change things will keep moving. Keep fighting. Keep pushing against injustice, and keep inviting the future into today.
To live out a massive social change will require the commitment of dreamers to dig deep to find hope and keep it alive. Hope is an eternal currency for change, and there is nothing more essential in creating resilience for long-term transformation! To be transformed, we need to ask God to renew our collective minds (see Romans 12:2). God can show us the possibilities of a hope and a future we could not even imagine (see Ephesians 1:18)! Imagining a new future means losing the fear of what we cannot control and working toward what we can do right now. A celebration of our strengths will enable all of us to go faster and farther toward making a better world now.
We want to shout the good news of reconciliation! Jesus himself is reconciling all things to God. The relationship between men and women is at the heart of this healing work. This could be the best way to show the world what the power of God can actually do. This hope is staking our actions on our beliefs. It’s rooting and establishing ourselves into the soil of God’s kingdom. It will require everything we have and much more. It will require God to help us by providing us with eternal hope.
What problems from the past keep you from moving forward in your relationships with both men and women?
What godly examples do you have in your life that show men and women working together to build a bright future? How can you connect with these people?
How have you experienced God’s hope for the future? How does your relationship with God help you be an agent for change in your church, community, and personal relationships?