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June 2014 - Leadership Lessons from three Women: Mother Mary, Lydia, and Priscilla

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John A. Kline, PhD jkline@klinespeak.com
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Dr. John Kline

Although the New Testament spends little time discussing women, Elizabeth (the mother of John the Baptist), Mary and Martha, Mary (the mother of John Mark), Mary Magdalene, the Woman at the Well, Eunice and Lois (grandmother and mother of Timothy), and others were influential. Mary the Mother of Jesus, Lydia the seller of purple, and Priscilla (or Prisca), teacher and mentor of Apollos demonstrated leadership. 

Leaders assume responsibility. Mary took on the responsibility to birth and raise God’s Son. (Luke 1:26-56; 2:1-20)   Not only did Mary give birth to Jesus, consider that Mary (along with her husband, Joseph) was responsible for raising the Son of God.  Raising children requires parents to assume much responsibility.  Imagine the responsibility of raising the Son of God.   Mary is revered today above all women, for she willingly took on the greatest responsibility that can be imagined. Even if leaders delegate, the leader must take responsibility for the results. As Peter Drucker so powerfully put it—“leadership is responsibility.”

Leaders listen and then respond appropriately. Lydia listened and responded to the message of the Way. (Acts 16:11-15, 40) Lydia was a business woman in a man’s world—which explains her presence in Philippi where she met Paul who was no doubt surprised that his first European convert would be a woman. Lydia listened, was converted, and then acted so that she became an influence and a force for Christianity.  Two of my own quotations say it well: (1) “Appropriate action requires careful listening” and (2) “Leaders must be listeners.”

Leaders willingly elevate others to further the mission of an organization. Priscilla–the wife of Aquila—helped Apollos take the limelight to further the mission. (Acts 18:1-3, 24-28)  Three times in his writings (Rom 16:3; 1 Cor 16:19: 2 Tim 4:19) Paul mentioned this great woman  who along with Aquila graciously stepped back so their student, Apollos, could take the limelight and become an influential preacher of the Word.  Priscilla was a true servant who showed her willingness to elevate others for the good of the mission of spreading the gospel.  In this way, Priscilla reminds us of John the Baptist (see January 2014 Column) who was willing, for the good of the mission, to let another take the limelight.

John Kline
Montgomery, Alabama

June 2014 - Leadership Lessons from three Women: Mother Mary, Lydia, and Priscilla
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