The Well

The Well has been created by Kyria as a place where you can draw on a wealth of wisdom about women in leadership, as well as signposting you to wider reading and resources for further learning.

The Well contains recommended books, blogs, videos, podcasts and websites that we hope will encourage and equip you as well as supporting authors, teachers and speakers as they pave the way for women in leadership.

Whether you dip in briefly or have time for a deeper dive, we invite you to draw from these Biblically-based resources and we pray they will refresh and inspire you on your journey of discovering who God has called you to be.

Books

Have a read

You’ve heard it said, ‘leaders are readers’. Here are some great books to invest in…

Review

This book has become my “go to” each time I’ve encountered a tough leadership problem. Easy-to-read but meaty, stories, practical hints at the end of each chapter – it has it all. It is well based in experience as well as research and introduces us to 7 different challenges that all too often trip us up in our journey of leadership as women. In almost every chapter I heard myself exclaim, “That’s me!”. Whether we overstretch or limit ourselves, try to be everyone’s friend and avoid confrontation, or focus so much on our work that we lose sight of the relationships that make us who we are, there is something in this Biblically-based and down-to-earth vital book for women in leadership.

(Linsey Potter, Springwater Church Senior Pastor)

Quote

“The challenge faced by women is to see ourselves as God sees us, to live out of the reality of God’s creation mandate, and to take our place as co-rulers within God’s purposes.”

(Kate Coleman in her book 7 Deadly Sins of Women in Leadership)

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Review

With a title like “10 Lies the Church Tell Women” Lee Grady is authentic in his writing and reminds us that in history and even now some Church Leaders erroneously use scriptures to distort and limit the participation of women. I could not wait to unpack and discover the truth for myself as “the Bible has been misused to keep women in bondage”. That is a deep assertion. Lee Grady’s book will help us “untwist” the way certain verses are used to say what the Bible is NOT saying about women and their role in the church and beyond.

(Abby Olufeyimi, Head Pastor of the Builder’s House, RCCG Croydon)

Quote

“We have overlooked the obvious message of the Bible and then taken one obscure passage from Paul’s writings and twisted it to keep women in a place of subjugation and insignificance. I’m sure the devil has laughed in delight at the way we have actually helped him silence the spreading of the gospel!”

(J. Lee Grady in his book 10 Lies the Church Tells Women: How the Bible has been misused to keep women in spiritual bondage)

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Review

This book made me laugh out loud as Rachel sets out to live for one year following the rules set out for women in the Bible. Her practical experiment of following the Bibles teachings regarding women in her day-to-day life, gets under the skin of some of the tricky passages and myths about what is true biblical womanhood. Each chapter tackles a different area like Obedience, Modesty, Submission, Justice and you find her sitting on a roof, trying to be a domestic goddess and visiting Bolivia. Her style of writing and areas she covers are rich and deep. It’s a book worth investing time in.
Rachel’s conclusion is that there is no simple definition of biblical womanhood, no mould we must fit into, no role that is specific to woman – “it is not our roles that define us but our character”.

(Ruth Walker, Chair Bethany Christian Trust,
Evangelical Alliance Board, Kyria Scotland Team Member)

Quote

“Women should not have to pry equality from the grip of Christian men. It should be surrendered willingly, with the humility and love of Jesus, or else we miss the once radical teaching that slaves and masters, parents and children, husbands and wives, rich and poor, healthy and sick, should “submit to one another”.”

(Rachel Held Evans in her book A year of Biblical womanhood)

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Review

Danielle writes with hope-filled passion about a vision that reflects God’s original design for women and men to lead together. In order to see this vision realised, the book highlights the importance of understanding the oppression of women and what we can all do to address it, pursue equity and help to remove the barriers that so many women face. Danielle provides solid evidence about the benefits of empowering women in all spheres; the themes of unity, reconciliation, proximity and mutual flourishing are all beautifully woven through the text. Practical and challenging, this book is filled with stories and examples to inspire and encourage you about the part you can play in transforming the future!

(Rev Catherine De Souza, Senior Leader, City Church Cardiff, Kyria National Leader for Wales)

Quote

“When it comes to deep-seated injustices, there is only one place to go that might lead to healing and unravel the oppression that has held us all. There is only one place to go that might spur us to the hope of a different future, to change, to repentance and forgiveness and reconciliation. It’s the
cross.”

(Danielle Strickland)

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Review

In Co-Workers and Co-Leaders, Amanda Jackson and Peirong Lin have edited a distinctive book that speaks of multi-faceted ‘oneness’: the oneness of women and men working together; the oneness of theological understanding and lived experience; the oneness of workers and leaders; and the oneness of the worldwide proclamation of Christ.

Co-Workers and Co-Leaders is a book of two complementary halves. In the first chapters some of the most knowledgeable and prominent contemporary voices present a succinct and yet thorough introduction to matters of inclusive biblical interpretation. Having established that solid theological overview of the intrinsic contribution of women in Scripture, the subsequent chapters testify to the value of men and women working together in contemporary Gospel ministries. It is this combination of biblical understanding and lived experience that makes Co-Workers and Co-Leaders such a worthwhile, persuasive and distinctive read.

(Rachel Campbell, MA Theology)

Quote

“God calls women and men to unity, not uniformity. God empowers and transforms them to be able to carry out God’s mission.”

(Amanda Jackson and Peirong Lin)

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Review

By developing female leaders, it maximizes the fantastic gift of women God has brought to build his Kingdom. Cole is wonderfully describing in her book how female leaders can be supported in their leadership abilities and how their giftings can be leveraged within churches and organisations. Her best practices are supported by fascinating findings from surveys and interviews of more than one thousand women leaders and in addition by current research, she offers great strategies while providing initial steps to start with.

(Evi Rodemann, CEO of LeadNow)

Quote

“The earlier this starts, the better opportunity we have to support our congregation in discovering and fulfilling their God-given purpose.”

(Kadi Cole in her book Developing female leaders: Navigate the Minefields and Release the Potential of Women in Your Church)

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Review

Emboldened is a timely read which gives courage and a practical toolbox to its readers. Leach provides practical expertise for how women can find their place at the table, escape imposter syndrome, face opposition and mentor others.
Like its title, it emboldens and strengthens us to strive to do leadership well.

(Amy Summerfield CEO Kyria Network,
Head of Development for Skylark International, Itinerant speaker)

Quotes

“Time and again, Jesus boldly affirmed the value and worth of women, and appointed them to be collaboraters in the mission. Jesus unabashedly elevated the traditional role of women so they too could participate in the work of the kingdom of God. Women of the Bible were indeed emboldened.”

“It isn’t merely a justice issue, it’s a mission issue – and the mission will continue to be held back without women.”

(Tara Beth Leach in her book Emboldened: A Vision for Empowering Women in Ministry)

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Review

This is the most helpful and most-highlighted book that I’ve read on the topic of women in leadership, particularly for the author’s ability to explain theology in plain English and bring clarity over longheld confusion. As well as looking at the well-known ‘tricky scriptures’, she explores from Eden to Eternity, Jesus and women, women in the NT, marriage, gender equality and the trinity, and egalitarianism in practice. Equal is accessible, Biblical and relatable, providing many ‘aha!’ moments of clarity.

(Claire Jones, Kyria Project Support Officer)

Quote

“The enemy knows that undermining women is an efficient way of incapacitating the whole body of Christ.”

(Katia Adams in her book Equal)

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Review

Jenny is without a doubt one of the foremost thinkers and commentators on the issues of faith and gender. You may not agree with all she says but I guarantee that you will be hugely challenged and enriched by engaging with this book. Whatever your stance on this key area you simply must read this much needed contribution to the debate.

(Carl Beech, General Director of Christian Vision for Men)

Quote

“Although agreeing that equality is important might be the first step, nothing will change if it’s the only step we take. We need to make tangible, embedded choices to do things differently.”

(Jenny Baker in her book Equals: Enjoying Gender Equality in all walks of life)

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Review

Church leaders of every generation – male and female – will benefit from reading this book. Debbie unpacks history, theology, and theory combining them with contemporary stories of women in leadership to encourage us to bring the unique gifts and authentic voice of all God’s people to the whole church.

(Simon Barrington, Founder and Director at Forge Leadership Consultancy, Kyria Prayer Canopy Team)

Quote

“Women may have reached the glass ceiling in secular society but they have not managed to shatter many preconceived ideas. This book looks at those challenges – what can we learn from church leaders.”

(Debbie Duncan in her book Gifted: women in leadership)

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Review

Half The Church: Recapturing God’s Global Vision for Women.

This excellent book is an expansion on the Chinese proverb that Women hold Half the Sky. It explores the devastating realities of gender inequality and the inevitable follow-on from Violence Against Women. It looks at God’s original intention for a ‘blessed alliance’ between His image-bearers – male and female – and discusses how the Church needs to affirm and equip the God-given gifts of half the church in order to fulfil God’s mission.

(Bekah Legg, CEO Restored UK, Council of Reference Member for Kyria)

Quote

“When half the church holds back – whether by choice or because we have no choice – everybody loses and our mission suffers setbacks.”

(Carolyn Custis James in her book Half the Church: Recapturing God’s Global Vision for Women)

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Review

Barrington and Humphreys take an in-depth look at integrity and justice as central themes of leadership. Beginning by examining what justice actually means, they move on to explore what it means practically to live out ‘just leadership’ before situating it in specific contexts. This book is challenging for those of us that are leaders, inviting us to examine how inclusive and generous our current practices are. For those of us who are not yet leaders, it is a huge encouragement; a reminder that to lead with justice and integrity is not only possible, but a place where God resides. This book empowers all of us to ‘build together the foundations of a just society because [leaders] themselves model justice in all their interactions, behaviours and relationships’.

(Laura Gilmore, Chaplain)

Quote

“What if tackling injustice just began with the next conversation you do or don’t have?”

(Simon Barrington in his book Just Leadership)

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Review

Andrew Bartlett from the UK has written a book full of meticulous research on key Bible passages about men and women in Christ. AND he has also shown how the culture of the church through the centuries has interpreted those passages.

He is a lawyer and that careful approach to truth and evidence is apparent, so you never feel he is preaching at you or selling you his party line. He weighs up different views on Paul’s letters and the reader feels like they are going on a journey with him through history and scholarship.

Bartlett says his book is designed for pastors and scholars and “anyone with a serious interest” in what the Bible says about men and women in marriage and ministry. This IS a serious book and all the better for that. It is also highly readable, with interesting quotations, chapter summaries and questions to consider.

(Amanda Jackson, Kyria Chair,
Director of the WEA Women’s Commission)

Quote

“It is time for complementarians to stop claiming that evangelical disagreement with complementation interpretations threatens the authority of Scripture or the truth of the gospel.”

(Andrew Bartlett in his book Men and Women in Christ)

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Review

Lucy’s thoughtful and deep engagement with scripture is evident throughout this book as she disrupts old patterns of interpretation, and presents groundbreaking insights into passages potentially misunderstood for centuries (ie headship, 1 Tim 2, & others). She is certainly not a lone voice in this move of thought, but what she does for us here is present a careful exegesis of seemingly polarising verses- laid out with logical sense and context for you and I to grapple with for ourselves. 10/10 would recommend.

(Karen Tullett, Jesus follower)

Quote

“Christians have been in disagreement over deeply held beliefs since the beginning of The Church, and anxiety and disagreement should not be a reason not to engage with ideas, and to discuss and debate with one another.”

(Lucy Peppiatt in her book Rediscovering Scripture’s Vision for Women: Fresh Perspectives on Disputed Texts)

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Review

This book is both a painful personal story and a masterpiece of socio-historical perspective on the experience and understanding of womanhood throughout the ages. Beth details the changes in emphasis towards women’s leadership through the centuries especially highlighting and explaining the pivot moments. Her work is truly challenging to those who maintain a “patriarchal mindset” and defend it as “biblical”. This is a significant book that is worthy of being read by those who will readily agree and by those who might struggle with some of what she writes but are willing to be open to reflecting on the rationale behind their position.

(Lisa Holmes, Deeper Church Lead for the Baptist Union of Scotland, leadership team, Spring Harvest)

Quote

“Women never stop fighting to do what they believe God has called them to do.”

(Beth Allison Barr in her book The making of biblical womanhood: How the Subjugation of Women Became Gospel Truth)

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Review

This great little book is the layperson’s version of Lucy’s more academic “Women and Worship at Corinth” and the outworking of Lucy’s excellent studies of the wider book. For centuries, these verses have contributed to keeping women from leadership, the pulpit and under the ‘covering’ of men. But their logic is not straight forward and Lucy, supported by Scott McKnight, describes her ‘aha’ moment that led to a different way of reading the passage. Her key point is that Paul is using a quotation-refutation rhetorical style – quoting the Corinthians and then setting them straight. It’s thought-provoking at the least, and might radically change the way you understand this passage!

(Bekah Legg, CEO Restored UK, Council of Reference Member for Kyria)

Quote

“What if it wasn’t the women who were the problem in Corinth, but the men who were the problem after all? What if Paul was correcting the men?”

(Dr Lucy Peppiatt)

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Review

Elaine gives us a fresh look at twenty-five stories of women from the Bible, digging into character, context and circumstances. She then draws out the relevance of each to our contemporary world and how it challenges us today. Their stories become our stories. Each chapter ends with ‘questions to ponder’ making it perfect for group or personal study or as a preaching and teaching reference.

(Kath Pickering, Curate, Church of England)

Quote

“And the story of these feisty women lives on in the lives of hundreds of others whose actions change structures for the better.”

(Elaine Storkey in her book Women in a Patriarchal World)

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Video

What to watch

Take a break from Netflix. We think you’ll love binge-watching these…

Organisations

Consider following

If you’d love to get fresh inspiration from some sound minds and organisations, why not follow some of these advocates for women in leadership…

Please note

Please note the inclusion of resources on this page does not mean we endorse every viewpoint of every author. But we hope that each resource featured will be helpful and insightful.