Part 2 of our incredible interview with Beth Grant, Co-Founder of Project Rescue. This week we discuss “Women in Leadership.” Here’s the transcript:

ERIK: Well I want to shift gears a little bit here because you have been an incredible voice when it comes to women in in leadership and I know this is a big topic, it’s a big topic in the church, but it’s a big topic in the culture at large. And so I just want to get some, I guess some wisdom from you, and maybe what you would say to women who are in the marketplace, women who find themselves in ministry in the marketplace and leadership, Christian women, women of faith, women who are stepping into their identity in Christ in all of these different spheres and vocations, whether it’s in the marketplace, and motherhood, and ministry.

You know we talk a lot about activating marketplace believers here at the Stone Table. I mean, we want to see the Gospel demonstrated and proclaimed to the ends of the earth and we we’re doing it from the marketplace, But I want to encourage some women out there, some women entrepreneurs, some women in business, some women in ministry – what would you say to women of faith who are in the marketplace to encourage them to step into leadership roles. And I’ll just let you bring the wisdom here.

BETH: Well, I’m passionate about this topic. First, we need to really be very certain of our identity in Christ, very certain. Identify and recognize where’s God gifted you. Recognize that and embrace it, step into it, grow it, mature it, because He’s gifted us for a reason and we function there. It flows, it just flows. It’s a joy to function in our strengths but to embrace that, and I know as a woman roles and titles tend to come and go.

My husband can step off the plane anywhere in the world and wear the same navy blue jacket and blazer and pants and do the same thing and that’s been that way for 44 years. But for a woman, often for seasons and the different ways cultures look at us, I could go – every culture I went to over our marriage had a different opinion about women and women in ministry and what are our roles, so I think it’s really critical that I have this deep foundation of peace and knowledge that I know who I am in God so that my peace with that doesn’t depend on someone else’s opinion of the day or the week or the location, because that’s reality. But when I know who I am in Him and then I can – He does open doors.

The steps of a righteous woman are ordered of the lord and I can walk in that. And He gave me certain strengths and gifts I am to be obedient with those and he is the one who opens doors. I really love to encourage women because I feel strongly that we need women of excellence in the marketplace who are followers of Jesus, to know how to walk in his authority and in his strength and in his courage. That’s desperately, desperately needed.

[Interruption, phone ringing in background]

ERIK: You’re such an important leader. People are calling you all the time!

BETH: It’s my daughter… (laughter)

But we need women of excellence who are confident in that because they know, they know there’s a peace there about who God created them to be – not someone else, but who they are in Christ – and so I believe in being excellent. If it’s in the marketplace professionally or a vocational ministry we need to do what we do with excellence. Paul said “study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that doesn’t need to be ashamed.” We need those kinds of women in leadership.

The other thing I would say is, you see, I feel – my mom worked for the federal government, and she had a position because she did what she did with all her heart and she did it as unto the Lord. She was gifted. She ended up doing things, she was one of the first women to work in the settings she worked in. And I learned from her early on and I feel it passionately – the call of God, she was called of God and she knew God directed her and led her where she was and she walked with God there.

But we firmly believe, and I believe, the call of God is not a gender issue, it’s an obedience issue. It’s not a gender issue.

And when we make our calling a gender issue, we all lose. The body of Christ loses. And so others may try to make it a gender issue, but God doesn’t. And so, I don’t have to defend obedience. But I do need to obey. When I said “Jesus, I’ll follow you,” I kind of turned that over to him. But we need women that know how to hear his voice and be led of him and walk with Him there. And I’m convinced, to do this in 2020 takes courage. It takes courage.

But I go back to some, I love the Old Testament. I love some of those people of faith. I love the prophets and God keeps saying “don’t be afraid, don’t be afraid.” I mean, He’s calling us to take steps away and we have to do that in courage. I can be feminine and be courageous. And I think in a day when evil is being unleashed like I’ve never seen in my lifetime, it’s just like this tsunami of darkness, I can’t face that in my own power and strength and authority. I don’t care what title I’m working in, it takes more than that.

I need to be able to discern the settings into which I am serving, that God calls me into, to work. I need to discern what’s happening spiritually so that I know – sometimes this is a structural organizational problem that I’m dealing with, sometimes it’s a spiritual problem, and I need to be walking the Spirit whether it’s in the marketplace or in the church, in the red light district, I am desperate to walk before him with an awareness, a presence that I don’t walk before men ultimately, or mankind, I walk before God.

And I encourage women – become spiritually sensitive so that wherever he has us placed, we are aware of what’s happening, we know how to pray, we know what we’re dealing with. But I believe in this day I see God raising up an army of women, courageous women, highly qualified, and he’s opening doors for them in unusual places.

ERIK: You’ve modeled this so well Beth. You know, to see the leadership that you’ve put forth in so many ways across the decades I know has been an inspiration to so many women. And I think you’ve embraced it through the gospel, through not abandoning your identity in Christ, but embracing it more deeply. And I think so many women just need to be encouraged in this space today. They’re either encouraged to, I guess, be angry and run over these cultural norms, or they’re encouraged to be quiet, and you know, just stay in the background.

And it doesn’t seem like, it seems like what the gospel calls us to is this embracing of our identity in Christ and then responding in obedience from there. And so, you know, as a guy with two daughters, I want to see them become everything that God has created them to be. So I know you’ve shared so much already, but if there was a woman out there that was listening to this that was just kind of struggling with, I don’t know, some insecurity, not quite knowing how to step into some of the things that she’s feeling God’s calling her to, what would you say to her?

BETH: I’d say “go with your passions.” God gives us passions for a reason. Recognize your strengths. That’s sometimes, that’s not a lack of humility, but God is the one who gives us strength, and I think it’s recognizing his lordship to say “Lord, you put this in me, now I’m responsible to steward those strengths.” And I’d say “lift up your head.” If I look inward as a woman, my culture teaches me, especially American, Western culture, to be self-conscious. Self-consciousness is paralyzing.

The more I look inward and am self-conscious, the more paralyzed I am from stepping out and reaching out and reaching up. And so I’ve had to say –  about 10 years ago, I realized, I started praying that prayer for myself but also for my sisters,  daughters of God, women of God, “free us, oh God! Free us from the chains, the cultural chains of self-consciousness, to walk in God-consciousness,” so that I walk with the awareness of Him in His presence, and when I’m walking with an awareness of His presence, it’s like something stands up inside of me, because I know I’m not walking in Beth Grant’s strengths, I’m walking in him.

And we have enemies, but it’s not men. We have an enemy. And so my anger needs to be stewarded and focused in a way that is proper and appropriate and biblical. We have an enemy. We need to pray against him and in the name of Jesus, you know, tell them where to go! So then, I can walk with a sense of, wait a minute I walk before God. I’m not going to stumble over Beth all day long because I’m, I’ve prayed, “Lord free me from self-consciousness, how I look, what I wear, what people think of me.”

I can’t live there and run this race with courage and spiritual authority. I have to get over Beth. That’s not the issue. This is all about Jesus and I’m going to walk with him and we’re going to see victory! But I have to get free of that if I’m going to run this race and people are going to see Jesus. If I’m self-conscious, people will never get over Beth either. I stand in the way.

ERIK: That’s so beautiful, it’s a beautiful challenge to all of us. And you know, my prayer Beth, is that the Lord raises up another generation of Beth Grants. You have led the way in so many ways, and you’ve done it with passion and grace, and I’m just thankful that you would take a few minutes to talk to us today about these things.

BETH: You are more than welcome Erik. It’s an honor, I mean, these are things close to my heart obviously, but I’m just, I’m praying that, I believe there are parts, very broken parts of our culture in America. I believe there are subcultures in America that uniquely respond to women who walk with God and are less put off by women. And I’ve seen God uniquely use women because women often come off as more compassionate and don’t raise the fight in people, usually, in the same way.

And we’re often more comfortable expressing the compassion of Christ. And America is full of hurting people. They may sound loud and angry and rebellious, but they’re hurting, and I believe God has women in the marketplace, professional places, and in and out of the church, and in dark places, that He’s using to reach parts of America that would be difficult for traditional leaders to reach. So I’m saying to my sisters, “stand up!” It’s time! We need you!

ERIK: Well, amen to that. And again, as a father of two daughters, I want to see them embrace their roles in the Kingdom with a ferocity, a passion to be every bit of who God created them to be. And I’ll follow that anywhere, whether you’re a man or a woman leader God puts in front of us that that will lead with gospel centricity, a focus on Jesus, a love and a passion for His Kingdom. It’s time for leaders like that to rise up all over this world.

BETH: Amen. And thank you for being the leader you are.

ERIK: Thank you Beth. You and David are special people, and so please give him our love.

BETH: I will do that, I will do that. And thank you and Stone Table for all you do, and we look forward to seeing what all God is going to do.

ERIK: We just hang on for the ride right? I mean, we get up every day, fall on our knees and say “Jesus, show us where to go,” and it’s a beautiful ride from there.

BETH: Amen, thank you so much.