Steps Every Church Can Take To Develop Female Leaders with Kadi Cole

This week on Tithe.ly TV, Dean and Frank talk with Kadi Cole about developing female leaders in the church.

This week on Tithe.ly TV, Dean and Frank talk with Kadi Cole, former Executive Director of Multisite at Christ Fellowship Church in Palm Beach, founding member of the Women’s Executive Pastor Network, and author of Developing Female Leaders: Navigate the Minefields and Release the Potential of Women in Your Church.

During the show, they talk about:

  • How pastors can grow leaders in the church
  • Common myths about women and leadership
  • The essential role that women should play in a church’s giving strategy (and the statistics that support them)


Here’s a list of resources mentioned during the show:

Never miss a show, subscribe via:

Subscribe to increase giving and grow your church

Is your church in financial trouble? Do you wish you had more resources to reach people for Christ? Subscribe to Tithe.ly TV to learn how to increase giving and multiply resources in your church.

H1 What’s a Rich Text element?

H2 What’s a Rich Text element?

H3 What’s a Rich Text element?

H4 What’s a Rich Text element?

H5 What’s a Rich Text element?
H6 What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

H4 Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

H4 How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

  • List Item 1
  • List Item 2
  • List Item 3

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.


Steps Every Church Can Take To Develop Female Leaders with Kadi Cole

Steps Every Church Can Take To Develop Female Leaders with Kadi Cole

This week on Tithe.ly TV, Dean and Frank talk with Kadi Cole about developing female leaders in the church.

Show notes

This week on Tithe.ly TV, Dean and Frank talk with Kadi Cole, former Executive Director of Multisite at Christ Fellowship Church in Palm Beach, founding member of the Women’s Executive Pastor Network, and author of Developing Female Leaders: Navigate the Minefields and Release the Potential of Women in Your Church.

During the show, they talk about:

  • How pastors can grow leaders in the church
  • Common myths about women and leadership
  • The essential role that women should play in a church’s giving strategy (and the statistics that support them)


Here’s a list of resources mentioned during the show:

Never miss a show, subscribe via:

Subscribe to increase giving and grow your church

Is your church in financial trouble? Do you wish you had more resources to reach people for Christ? Subscribe to Tithe.ly TV to learn how to increase giving and multiply resources in your church.

video transcript

(Scroll for more)

Dean Sweetman:  Let's do it. Hey everybody, Dean Sweetman here along with Frank Barry. Got a fantastic show for you today.

Frank Barry:    Oh yes.

Dean Sweetman:  Mate, how you doing?

Frank Barry:    Doing awesome. Kids are off to school.

Dean Sweetman:  Hallelujah.

Frank Barry:    We're rocking.

Dean Sweetman:  It's 8 a.m here on the west coast.

Frank Barry:    Things calm down around the home office once the kids are off to school. So doing great.

Dean Sweetman:  Somewhere my grandchildren are off to school so it's wonderful. Man we've got a fantastic show today and always talking about generosity coming from every different angle you could imagine. We got a really terrific guest today. I want to welcome Kadi Cole. Kadi welcome to the show.

Kadi Cole:      Well thank you both so much. It's really an honor to be here.

Frank Barry:    Yeah.

Dean Sweetman:  Great to have you. We're going to talk about ... You've written a book all about women in leadership in the church. And so we're going to unpack that a little bit, because I think it's a really important subject. Having female leaders getting raised up in church. I think I said to you before we jumped on, I find women in leadership so much easier than some of the men that I've had to manage over the years. Yeah, a lot of fun. So why don't we just start, Kadi, and just introduce yourself, tell us a little bit about your background, your involvement in the church and what led you into this whole idea of raising up female leaders.

Kadi Cole:      Well thank you so much yeah. I've been in full-time ministry for almost 20 years, but have been serving since I was a teenager in my local church. Very passionate about it. Didn't think I would ever work in full-time ministry. A lot of that because I didn't really see any women doing that, so it wasn't even on my radar. But God has a funny way of just creating the right opportunities and opening the right doors to put us where we're supposed to be. So I got the chance to be on staff at my church I was attending when we were just a couple thousand people. About 15, 18 years ago. And we experienced some high growth environments and started doubling in size. And they recruited me to come on the staff team to help sort of bring some organizational structure. I have a masters degree in human research development. I was a dean at the local Christian college here in town. And so I came on to sort of bring some strategy to our production arts and some of our organizational leadership, and that eventually landed me in Multisite. So that's what I've been doing the last 15 years.

Kadi Cole:      Eventually was executive director over our nine campuses. And now I work with churches all over. Really specializing in Multisite, particularly leadership network and work with all sorts of environments. And that's kind of what actually led me the book, because I'm very passionate about churches being healthy, about our growth strategies, and I started kind of running into this issue about ... First of all, every church I know wants more leaders. It's kind of a major link that everyone's experiencing. So we're always having conversations about that. And about a year and a half ago, as I'm in these network meetings and speaking at conferences on leadership development strategies, I started having teams of male senior and executive pastors come up and ask me, what they could do to develop the women on their team to do a better job. They're like, we kind of want someone like you. We think we have some potential. How do we help these women sort of stay in ministry and work up into higher levels of leadership?

Kadi Cole:      And we'd have a great conversation. Their hearts were really great. And I was excited about the potential they were seeing in some of the women on their team. But some of the things they would tell me about what they were doing to help these women weren't always the most helpful things to do. And they really didn't see it. And I'll be honest, I had a really hard time explaining to them why a young female leader, or even a woman in her 40s who's new into church ministry leadership, why that conversation, or why that approach would not be helpful to her. And so the interesting thing is over the next probably two or three months I had two other church teams come and talk to me about the very same thing. And these churches were from different theological backgrounds, different cultural contexts in the United States. I started to realize that gosh, churches all over the board are really struggling with this. It doesn't really matter where you fall on the theological spectrum. It doesn't really matter if you're big or small or if you're in the bible belt or the pacific northwest. This is a challenge for people. It's a challenge in our country, it's a challenge in every business, and it's definitely a challenge in the church.

Kadi Cole:      So I'm kind of a research nerd so I decided to jump in and see if I could figure out those churches that are doing a good job at this. What are the best practices that they're doing? And then how can we help bridge the gap between these great male leaders ... Most of them are male. 90% of church leadership are male. What can they learn? And how can we do better as church leaders to sort of help up and coming women in leadership? And then what can we as women to do steward our ministry better and go into those environments where we have a lot more unity, a lot less awkwardness, but really move this conversation forward in whatever context you're serving in, whatever theological perspective, there's room for all of us to do better. So that's really the emphasis and process of the book.

Dean Sweetman:  So it kind of came out of a desire from male leaders to have women raised up. And you said a little bit ago that the way in which they were thinking about it, you had to kind of bring some, hey, maybe that's not the right way to do it. Explain some of the mindsets that some of the guy leaders had that you didn't think were really conducive to raising up women.

Kadi Cole:      Sure so one of the most common I hear a lot, is a high level guy leader will say, "I've got this great woman on my team, she's a volunteer in my student ministries", or "She's from the business world and I want to bring her on staff." And so they offer her the role as his administrative assistant. And his thinking is very excellent. Like he's thinking gosh, I would love for her to be in these high level meetings. I would love for her to understand how I think and be able to multiply what our culture is. But the problem is when you're trying to grow a leader, leaders are ... First of all if they're actually gifted in leadership, an admin role will drive you crazy. But secondly, it's not the way you grow a leader. You don't grow a leader by helping know how to serve coffee and take great minutes and send out calendar invites. You grow a leader by giving them people to lead. By giving them projects to manage. By having them rally a team. By investing in multiplying leadership and creating momentum. And so you cannot do those things from an admin position.

Kadi Cole:      You might understand how all the leaders around the table think, but unless you're invited to the table, you're not actually leading. So that would be one. A second one I found is in parenting years. And this I feel like, I have a big heart for pastors in this role because it's challenging when you have women leaders who are in, especially young parenting years or starting families, and they're trying to figure out what they want to be as a mom, and how many kids they want to have, and how they want to prioritize that. And as the church we know that is a huge part of a woman's life. It's a part of dad's life too, but it's important. And we want to make the right sacrifices at the right time. But I meet a lot of guy leaders who sort of have the conversation as pastors, and kind of have this great pastoral heart for these women leaders and think, gosh, she's so talented, but I know they're starting a family, or she's pregnant, or she's got two little ones at home. So I'm not going to even make her feel the pressure to say yes to this promotion, or this opportunity, or this conference that's out of town. I'm just going to sort of let her just go along on her way.

Kadi Cole:      Well the problem for the female leader is she interprets that as being overlooked, underappreciated. She's not recognized as a leader or someone worth investing in, which is not what he's trying to do at all. But by not having the conversation with her, he really misses a great opportunity to affirm her leadership, to involve her in that decision, and really hear her perspective. And that's when you can really be both a pastor and a leader. The leader conversation is, "You're a great employee, you're a great leader, I see potential, I would love for you to come to this." The pastor then says "But I also understand you have these priorities, and I want you to know if you decide to give up this opportunity, it's not your last chance. There are more opportunity in your future and I want you to prioritize home and family as much as you want to prioritize your leadership here. So there's no pressure either way, but you're invited to go." Like that's a totally different conversation than just watching all your teammates go to a conference across the country and you get left at home with your kids.

Dean Sweetman:  Excellent.

Frank Barry:    I can see why people want to talk to you about this stuff. It comes out. It's awesome. And you're so good at delivery matters. Like how you deliver things especially to leaders or to people that have a lot of influence, or potentially ego, or any of those things. So your delivery is awesome. Just a random compliment while we're chatting, as we get to know each other. So, I don't know. A bunch of things sort of come to mind. My wife is at home. We have triplet boys. They're seven. And she just went to a Girl Scouts of America leadership conference, like a leadership training conference, with some friends and whatnot that invited her. And she came back and she's been home with the kids for I guess five and a half years. She went back to work for a little bit, and then she was like I think I want to stay home with them. So she's in that spot where you're like, they're first grade, they're in school. And she's starting to get the itch to do something. And it's like that ... She still wants to be a leader in some way, even though she's home as a parent and staying home with the kids and doing something amazing with our boys.

Frank Barry:    So all that kind of line of thinking definitely resonates. But I guess two things. Were there any other sort of really common struggles that you saw or that you're seeing as you do this kind of work? And then I don't know. How does society and what's going on globally with the women's movement ... There's a lot going on to unpack there. So I don't know. Those are just sort of two questions to throw out to chat about a little bit.

Kadi Cole:      Yeah those are great questions. And I think your wife is a perfect example. I think one of the reasons I'm so passionate about this is not because I have a big kind of women's agenda. That's never really been my thing. I've sort of just been really focused on my own gifts that God gave me, and figuring out how to serve the church using those gifts. And to be really honest, I get why this is a loaded topic for a lot of leaders. I'm very uncomfortable with it. I don't like how many of the voices I've seen have navigated it. And it makes me uncomfortable to be honest, as a Christian woman. It makes me uncomfortable as a church leader. And I'm not interested in that kind of dialog at all.

Frank Barry:    I think we lost her.

Dean Sweetman:  Dropped out.

Frank Barry:    Yep. Good thing we're recording it. We'll slice it together.

Kadi Cole:      Oh there we go. All right, I got you back. Sorry, I think it dropped. Sorry about that.

Frank Barry:    It's all good.

Dean Sweetman:  This is live recording. We love it.

Frank Barry:    Yeah, since we're recording, we're safe. We're safe. We lost you-

Kadi Cole:      I'm in Montana so I've gone to the place with the best wifi in town.

Frank Barry:    That's awesome. We lost you at kind of like, I'm not interested in that dialog. Like somewhere right in there is where, so carry on.

Kadi Cole:      I think I was just saying that I just think there's ... I understand why this is a loaded topic and why it does feel like a minefield. That's what I wrote in the subtitle of the book, is how to navigate the minefields. Because it is loaded, it can make me feel very uncomfortable as a female leader, as a Christian. I think sometimes ... Anyway, that's just not been my take on it. And I feel like I've been really lucky and privileged to be able to lead in a lot of different church environments and a lot of different ministry environments. And so I don't want to ... I want to open up more opportunities for women. So what you were just saying Frank about your wife, I think is such a perfect example of in my opinion, I feel like we have so much great leadership potential in many women in our church and we don't know quite how to access it. There are some unique dynamics of a woman's life that's different than a guy. Most of us don't graduate from college at 21 and just work full-time for 40 years. That's not what we do.

Kadi Cole:      But this is the most educated generation of women ever. They're earning more income than ever. Many are balancing multiple primary roles, or at least big careers at some season in their life. So we have more trained, educated, capable leaders than ever before. But many of our systems and structures, and even thought processes about how we utilize leaders in ministry, have not changed to adapt to the potential that we have in our congregations. And I would say that this is for men too. I think we're seeing a lot of this in millennials also, who are much more oriented towards a gig economy, or working multiple jobs, or project work. If we are only looking for people who will come in and work full-time from a seminary to do basic things and they're just there on the team until they die, that's just not going to cut it. And we see it in our volunteer ranks also.

Kadi Cole:      But really for someone like your wife, I just think gosh, what a great opportunity for someone to put in a lot of great hours during the school year, or be able to work from home, or be able to do part-time roles, or even high level volunteer roles where you serve as staff, but you maintain the flexibility to not come to work if you have a couple sick kids at home, or the violin concert is happening Friday at nine, and so you're not going to be at the meeting that day. You're going to skip it, and you can. And I would just say to leaders out there, both men and women, that it's mostly men who are at higher level leaders in churches, there is so much opportunity if you are just open to thinking about things a little differently. And most women know what they want, and know what they can offer. Even if you just said, what could we welcome from you? They'll have ideas, you don't have to solve it for them.

Kadi Cole:      So I think that's a really important piece to just remember that the biggest thing is that we just steward our own churches. I think a lot of times leaders feel pressure to sort of have a big thought about this, or kind of have solved the big generations of debate about this. And I just really try and encourage people, just care about your congregation and the handful of great female leaders that are in your leadership circles that are wanting to do something, or wanting to do more. And if you kind of lean into that conversation, you'll be amazed at the doors that will open, and the women who will come forward to really be a part of what you have going on.

Dean Sweetman:  Love it. Love it.

Frank Barry:    Amazing.

Dean Sweetman:  So you said before you're a research nerd. You have dug into this subject. Like majorly. And I read here you interviewed 30 women, you've done all these surveys. Like 1,200 women. Was there some stuff in your research about this that just really slapped you and said wow, I didn't really understand that, or that is shocking? What came out of all this research that really put you back on your heels?

Kadi Cole:      Well there were a lot of things to be really honest. I think the biggest surprise for me personally, was how many ... I think we all know we kind of have some cultural biases. Or if you've read anything on the subject you know that there are things that we assume about women or assume about men. I think many of those gender roles are really reinforced in church environments. Obviously God gives us many that are sort of laid out in scripture. But there are many that we've inherited from our upbringing, the country that we grew up in, the home that we grew up in, the church that we grew up in, that really aren't scripturally based. He's pretty clear that we have men and women. But he's not super clear that men fix cars and women love to cook. He doesn't really say that specifically.

Dean Sweetman:  I love cooking.

Frank Barry:    My wife doesn't love to cook. So that's already out the window.

Kadi Cole:      Yeah and so I think many of our churches have sort of reinforced these kind of cultural gender roles. And so I think one of the things that I was really surprised by is how many gender biases I personally have against women and against myself. Or pressures that I put on myself that I feel like I need to be a certain way, or I should be better at this. And if you're in leadership circles at all you know that most of leadership is about knowing what you're great at and spending most of your time investing in what your strengths are, and minimizing what your weaknesses are. Well when we get caught in these gender biases many of us spend a lot of time working on our weaknesses and then never really being good at it, feeling like we're failing. So I think for me just realizing that. And as a leader I often had biases against hiring women or promoting women because I had lived in male populated environments for so long, and my journey was not an easy one. I think this new wave of women coming in that are younger ...

Kadi Cole:      I had to really check my own heart and be like, well just because I had it tougher, or I needed to wait longer, doesn't mean that this great 20 year old young woman needs to serve 18 years in obscurity before she gets to do something with a real title, or equal pay. I'm like this isn't like a rite of passage. This is my journey. You know, I was in one of the first generations to really break through and so I did that. I wasn't thinking of it at the time, but God uses people in the forefront of leadership to make a way for other people to have easier options. And so I had to really check my heart on that. So that was a big surprise to me about how many ... And I think people would look at me and be like, you must be the banner waver for women in leadership. And I'm like oh gosh, I'm not actually that great at this either. I think that's probably why I understand why it's so hard for some of our male leadership teams to get their head around it, is it's hard for me to get my head around sometimes.

Kadi Cole:      And then I think secondly, I really think church leaders would be shocked to know how confusing it is lower in their organizational kind of org chart, in their staff roles and especially in their volunteer roles, how much confusion there is around their theology about women in leadership. What is sort of allowed or not allowed in their church and how much sideways energy is wasted and not really poured into the kingdom very effectively.

Frank Barry:    What do you mean by that?

Kadi Cole:      So I think of-

Frank Barry:    Sorry, go ahead.

Kadi Cole:      I was just going to say, for example, I talked to many women who are doing roles that are clearly not kind of theologically controversial. So they lead women's ministry. They lead children's ministry. They're running the greeter team on the weekend. And so let's just take the greeter leader for example. This oftentimes is a female who's in this role, because I don't know, we're smiley and friendlier I guess, and the guys are ushers. So she's running the greeter team-

Frank Barry:    Less intimidating.

Kadi Cole:      Yeah. We like holding doors open, I don't know. But there are many women in those kinds of roles that really are not controversial at all that are not sure if they can lead men on their team. So like if I have a guy greeter on my team, am I allowed to close the team meeting in prayer, or do I need to let him do that? Well if you think about it, when you're the leader, the closing prayer or really sending your people off in the right tone is a big part of rallying people and going and doing their job. And so when woman hand that over to someone else, especially it could be even someone who's been a Christian two weeks. You know, and she feels the need because he's male, that he would take that kind of spiritual authority role. Now that might be something a church actually wants to have happen. But in many churches, their senior pastor would be aghast to think that a woman who'd been a believer for 30 years and had been serving there for 15 or 20 years and was one of who he would consider a very trusted leader, would question that. So that's what I mean by women who are ... Godly women know that there is a theological line somewhere. And the more they have been walking with the Lord, the more they're interested in not crossing it.

Kadi Cole:      We spend a lot of time going way below where we could be leading because we don't want to step over it. So leaders can do their whole church a great favor by really clarifying those guardrails, helping women know what they're welcome to do and what they're not welcome to do, and helping the men they serve with to know the same thing. And I think that was my biggest surprise is, even when senior leaders thought it was super clear. Lower in the organization, people were very confused and held back a lot, and had a lot of sideways conversations that really weren't helpful.

Frank Barry:    Do you think church leaders avoid this topic because it's uncomfortable. Like they just don't know ... Like even your example, it's great. Or it could be women getting up on stage in certain churches. There's all kinds of things that you see in church that you're like, I don't even know where that came from. I mean I guess if you really spend some time, you'd figure it out. But do you think it's just leaders are uncomfortable with being direct about what is okay, or theologically right or what's not? Because it seems like a lot of this is sort of man made anyways.

Kadi Cole:      I mean it is a controversial issue for a reason. It isn't clearly black and white in scripture, so people do have different interpretations. And because we're talking about people's individual callings and giftedness and role in the church, it's emotionally charged. If someone had said to you "Hey, you guys really should never be on camera. It's really wrong for you to ever be on camera." Well you can do a lot of things with your life not on camera, but you're on camera. Like you have a whole ministry based on being on camera. So it's very personal. And anytime you're talking about limiting anyone, I would say we deal with this when we're talking about a great sharp 17 year old, and trying to figure out how much leadership can a 17 year old have? How much leadership can a new believer have? How much leadership can someone have who's still struggling with some sin issues? Any time we sort of act as the judger or it feels like that, who's limiting someone, or what God wants to do with someone, it's very loaded and very emotional. And so I think that's part of it. I think it's a complicated theological issue.

Dean Sweetman:  Whoop whoop.

Frank Barry:    Good thing we're recording this one.

Dean Sweetman:  Yeah.

Kadi Cole:      Did I lose you again? Sorry.

Frank Barry:    We lost you at complicated theological issue. Right there.

Dean Sweetman:  That might have been a sign.

Kadi Cole:      Skype was like, we're out of here. Sorry. So it is complicated and I think it's hard to navigate. Most churches have not taken the time to do a deep study in it. Like they might be looking at other things that our culture is working on right now. One of the things I'm most hopeful though, is I started writing this book before the whole #metoo movement sort of hit, but I do think that that movement and the church too movement, and just how the dialog about how this has changed in our country and society, is elevating not just the pressure, but the invitation to sort of find your way in it. And so I think men are more interested in engaging in the conversation. I think smart leaders know there is litigation around the corner for anyone who's not going to figure out a way to articulate this and make sure their culture is matching their belief systems for good or bad. I also think that we have many senior pastors who are married to strong women who are educated and wondering what it is that they can do, and not do. And they're sort of pushing the limits on what they see in someone's life that challenges our theology when what we're experiencing doesn't match what we've been taught.

Kadi Cole:      And then we also have a whole generation of pastors who have young daughters who are coming of age, and teenage and young adult years, who have been leading the heck out of their student ministries. And they turn 18 and all of the sudden they're off to bake casseroles and to be in gender based bible studies, which can be wonderful. But when you've been used to leading in the church and being on platform and doing some things, it's a hard left turn to make to all of the sudden not be allowed to be at the table in important conversations in the church. And so I think all of those things are really motivation both personally and professionally for leaders to take a second look at this and not dance around it or avoid it any longer, but really take advantage of the opportunity we have to be proactive and move this conversation forward in some healthy ways.

Frank Barry:    Wow. There's so much to keep going on. But let's take a quick left turn in our conversation. So we're a company that deals with generosity and giving. We build tools for churches to hopefully make giving easier, inspire generosity, things like that. How do you think this all ... Women in leadership and even women in areas of influencing generosity, giving, those kind of things. Do you see an intersection? What have you seen in all of your work with the various churches on this topic?

Kadi Cole:      Absolutely. I think this is actually a really critical area to look at closely. Mostly because it's not just important to involve women in more financial conversations and leadership opportunities around stewardship and generosity. But the reality, it's strategic to look at the facts of what's going on in your congregation. So women are the breadwinners, the primary breadwinners in 37% of the families in your church. So they earn the most income. 37% of families, the woman is the primary breadwinner. That should change the way we're thinking about how we're approaching stewardship and generosity. In 51% of families, the woman is considered the CFO. She's making the financial decisions, she's deciding where donations are going, where planned giving is going, where recurring giving is going. So that becomes a totally important element that churches need to start considering. So they're not only 61% of our congregation, the majority of our congregation. They're the majority of your tithing check writers or online button clickers. And so if we're not involving women ... I'm not saying all women, because just like you wouldn't invite every man to a conversation about leading stewardship and generosity in your church. But you would be looking for women and men who are gifted in the gift of giving, gifted in the gift of leadership, gifted in the gift of teaching.

Kadi Cole:      Any of those gifts you're going to want to harness just like you would do for men. Women who are great at business, women who are great at leadership, women who are articulate at explaining, who have a personal testimony about how tithing changed their spiritual walk. Those women are there. We haven't heard a lot about them, and they aren't going to probably offer their story maybe as easily as men, because it's not as welcome. There's actually a whole phenomenon happening with professional women in all sort of environments, but I see it a lot in the church. It's called camouflaging. And that is when women don't tend to fit the typical gender stereotype that an organization like a church might have, they'll basically put on a different outfit. So you might have a great kick butt female business leader who owns her own real estate agency, or owns her own entrepreneur consulting agency, who's making big money, and making a big difference and is on podcasts and doing things. And she walks into your church and she shrinks. She's soft spoken. She's just so excited about what her kids are doing. She's asking you about that things on Facebook. She's this different person who's not who you would see speaking at the Kiwanis club downtown, or getting on a plane and doing a conference about some topic.

Kadi Cole:      And so we have to just kind of look into real women that are actually leaders and gifted in their church. And chances are they haven't brought their gifts to the church because they haven't been welcome. But she's got a whole career and a whole toolbox of leadership gifts that she can unleash in your ministry, if we need to access them. The other thing that's really interesting is that Barna did a research project a couple years ago, and found that professional women, 27% of professional women are leaving the church every year. So it's one of the largest population segments leaving the church right now. Professionally trained women. These are our tithers. These are our business leaders. These are the decision makers of their families.

Dean Sweetman:  That's a huge chunk.

Kadi Cole:      Yes. 38% of adult Christian women have not gone to church in the last six months. Think about that. 38% of committed adult Christian women have not gone to church in the last six months. I think a huge piece of that is because if you are a Christian woman and you show up, and you go to women's ministry, it is not business luncheons, how to fire someone, how to manage home life balance. It's not talking about those things. You have to go to men's ministry for that, and I'm usually not welcome there. And so we have to rethink where we're doing our business focused ministries, where we're doing our leadership focused teachings, how we're connecting that into our stewardship and generosity, and making sure that we're not leaving out a whole population that really has a lot to offer. But also not inviting the right people to the table to expand our stewardship efforts. My advice is not to ... There's a lot of kind of women's only leadership things. Like I see webinars and podcasts, and things coming up about women in finance, and that is a really important topic. But finance is pretty concrete. There's not much difference in investment strategies for men and women. Maybe some life stage things. But when you're talking about basic stewardship as a component of discipleship, it's really more important that you take your stewardship strategies and open the umbrella to include women's things under there.

Kadi Cole:      So you might have something specifically for women, but please don't start a women's financial ministry. Or please don't start financial ministry in women's discipleship. Like open up your stewardship strategy and include efforts for women so that you've got integration not separation. Because people make family decisions about money together, and so if you separate those populations then we can't make good family decisions and look at people holistically.

Dean Sweetman:  I find, just over the years, often women have no ego, men have a lot of ego.

Kadi Cole:      Women have some ego.

Dean Sweetman:  I know they do, but they seem to manage it.

Kadi Cole:      Sorry, I wish that were true.

Dean Sweetman:  I know but they can manage it more so much better than men.

Frank Barry:    Maybe it's just choose one way a little more than the other, yeah.

Dean Sweetman:  You know men just come with that chip on their shoulder and there's an insecurity a lot. And that comes from maybe the pressure men feel to be this or that. But it feels like women are much more secure. Just in the environments I've been in anyway. But you know I'm going to kind of skip through and just kind of wrap things with a question for you. What's your biggest hope for the future? When it comes to women ... You mentioned these young millennial kids that have grown up. And I think there's been a shift in the church towards hey, there's an equality in the church now that I think hasn't been there maybe 10, 15, 20 years ago. So given that there's all these great passionate, strong ... Even society, the permission for women to step out, go for it, lead strong, fulfill their dreams, all that great stuff. What's kind of an exciting thing that you can see in the future as far as women in leadership goes?

Kadi Cole:      Well I think I'm most encouraged just by the heart of leaders that I talk with. Especially in our current church environments for both men and women. I think there is a desire to engage this conversation in a healthy way. To everyone in the conversation to come in with humility and grace for one another, and to really explore some of the learnings we're finding about how men and women look at leadership differently. You know you talked about women not having egos, but the reality is women deal with a lot of insecurities that men would be surprised to learn about. So those are a lot of the things I talk about in the book, are some of these practical things that are just helpful to know and be aware of, and some steps we can take. I was teaching recently at a conference about John 17, where Jesus's final prayer is for all of us, the great, great, great, grandkids of the disciples, that we would be unified, because that's actually how people will know that he came, is by our unity. And when I look at sort of our societies pressure, everyone's very ticked off that the past has been all about men.

Kadi Cole:      But the answer in our culture is to go to the extreme, and everyone keeps championing that the future is female. But as Christian's we know that neither one of those is right. If we really want to fulfill Jesus's prayer, we know that the answer is together. The future is together. And so I think rather than taking extremes or taking sides, the goal is even process of coming together for the conversation, we are fulfilling Jesus's prayer. It's not even necessarily about the answer. It's about the togetherness of struggling through it together. And so that's what I'm most hopeful is ... The book has gotten a really surprising response. And many leaders like both of you, great male leaders who wouldn't have to take the time to even entertain this conversation, care about it. You know it's important. You have great women in your lives that you want to support and champion to be everything they're called to be in the kingdom. So I just am so encouraged by so many great believers who stand on really big platforms, who are willing to talk about this and lean into the conversation, even when it's awkward.

Dean Sweetman:  Absolutely. That is so awesome. I love that. I love it.

Frank Barry:    It makes me think too, just as a like random connection to that, right. Like between my wife and I, our family is at its best when we're unified and together and doing things together. It doesn't work if there's imbalance and I'm trying to lead the show, or she's trying to take over or whatever. Like we have to be unified in our family. And our kids do better, and we do better relationally and we're more connected and all these kind of things. That's like a small version of what you're describing. We need to do this together and that's what [crosstalk 00:34:42].

Kadi Cole:      Absolutely. But the most common and my favorite metaphor for the church is a family. Like God sets it up like that. And it makes it personal and it makes it matter. And so I think you're exactly right on.

Dean Sweetman:  Awesome.

Frank Barry:    We need to do this show. We need to get some of our women leaders to jump on with you and you guys do the show.

Kadi Cole:      That would be awesome.

Frank Barry:    This is amazing.

Dean Sweetman:  Absolutely.

Frank Barry:    Where can people go to find the book or to listen to another podcast about it? Tell the audience what they can do.

Kadi Cole:      Sure. The best place to go is my website kadicole.com. That's spelled K-A-D-I-C-O-L-E.com. I've got information about the book, some other interviews. And then also some great downloads about different theologies about this, some of my great worksheets. Just tools to try and help particularly church leaders, but even individuals or individual leadership teams, to really try to move forward on this conversation and of course the book is available on Amazon. I do recommend it, because I think it's super practical and very helpful. So would love to hear anyone's stories about how it might be helping.

Dean Sweetman:  Awesome. Kadi Cole everybody. What a fantastic guest you've been. We could have let you go. You could have gone three hours. I'm not even kidding. You're phenomenal.

Kadi Cole:      Thank you both so much. It's been a real pleasure.

Dean Sweetman:  I love it. Thanks so much Kadi.

Frank Barry:    Thanks Kadi.

Dean Sweetman:  Man, how good was that Frank?

Frank Barry:    That's amazing. I'm definitely sending it to my wife and our church leadership. Like as soon as we have it I'll record it and sort of ready to ship out. Amazing show.

Dean Sweetman:  Yeah, good stuff. Well we'll be back next week of course with something incredibly awesome.

Frank Barry:    It's a surprise every week.

Dean Sweetman:  It's a surprise every week but they're all awesome. So anyway. Hey God bless y'all. Great having you with us today. Good times, we'll see you next time.

Frank Barry:    Very good. Thanks Tithe.ly fam. See you guys.