Passing the mantle is a Biblical concept

by Polly House on Thursday, December 15, 2011

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Terri Stovall stressed to women attending her breakout session that they must be willing and intentional to pass the mantle on to younger leaders and have them begin learning the leadership skills necessary to take over a ministry.

Stovall was one of more than a dozen breakout session leaders during the 2011 Women's Leadership Forum Nov. 10-12 in Nashville, Tenn. About 625 women, representing 180 churches from 35 states and eight denominations attended. The event was sponsored by the LifeWay Women's area of LifeWay Christian Resources.

Stovall, dean of women's programs at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, used the Bible story of Elijah and Elisha as an entry into her conversation about how to identify future or potential ministry leaders.

She suggested that as Elijah saw Elisha working in the fields, the first step is to find out who is already working, not for the accolades, but because God has called them to work.

"Look and see who is doing the small jobs," she said. "Look at who is doing the jobs that nobody else wants to do. Then, of those people, find the ones who are teachable."

As the older women draw in the younger women into leadership positions, it is important that these older women find ways to publicly affirm and commission these younger women.

"Many young women have never been affirmed by an older woman," Stovall said. "That is so important to them."

She said she sees a craving for cross-generational relationships, mostly because there is such a wealth of information to be shared.

"Make sure that you are honest and real with them," she said. "Young women are looking for truth and authenticity. They aren't getting that from the world. They crave it from you."

Image Gallery

All photos by Kent Harville.

Women's Forum - Ann Rice

Ann Rice, left, makes a point during the "Decades Women's Forum Panel Discussion." Other members of the discussion panel included Leighann McCoy (to Ann's left), Julie Woodruff, Esther Burroughs, Jimmie Davis, Mickey McCloud, Lauren Farmer and moderator Rachel Lovingood.

Women's Forum - Esther Burroughs

Esther Burroughs makes a point during the "Decades Women's Forum Panel Discussion," as Julie Woodruff smiles at the comment.

Women's Forum - Panel

"LifeWay Women Live Webcast: Minister's Wives Get Real to Connect All Generations of Minister's Wives" was moderated by Chris Adams and Paige Greene (far left). Panelists include (clockwise) Rachel Lovingood, Brandi Wilson, Jennifer Landrith and Leighann McCoy.

Women's Forum - breakout

Beth Plummer, left, and Jackie Spann, both from First Baptist Church, Pelham, Ala., discuss and select the Women's Ministry Leadership Forum's breakout sessions they want to attend.

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