11 Amazing Leaders (Who Happen to Be Women) You Should Follow Now

There seems to be renewed interest in the “women in leadership” conversation in the local church. I’ve recently bumped into a number of posts, articles and discussions online about this topic. Here are just a few:

At unSeminary, we love interviewing leaders for our weekly podcast. This fall, we’ll have been at this for nearly 3 years and we’re honored to say that we’ve interviewed many amazing leaders in the local church who happen to be women. We’d strongly recommend that you follow these leaders closely because they are serving in some incredible ways and are engaged in some fantastic ministries.

None of these interviews focus on “what it’s like to be a woman leading in the local church.” Instead, we wanted to learn about the area where God is using them and then apply those lessons to our churches.

11_Amazing_Leaders_Christa_Hesselink2Christa Hesselink
// Website // Twitter // Instagram // Facebook

Christa serves as the next generation leadership development guru with the Brethren in Christ movement in Canada. She’s a thoughtful and thought-provoking leader who’s engaged in important work that pushes the church forward.

On surrendering in the midst of suffering: “Leaning into something that seems like it will bring you to ruin is very counterintuitive. But transformation is like that, you have to be open to leaning in.”

11_Amazing_Leaders_Christine_Kreisher2Christine Kreisher
// Website // Twitter

Christine is a high-energy leader who successfully orchestrated a “zero-recruitment model” at her church. I listen to Christine when it comes to assimilation and getting people connected to the church.

On the zero-recruitment volunteer model: “It’s so important for us to not just fill volunteer vacancies, but to find volunteers’ fits so that they can thrive, and not just in the volunteer role but in life, because when we add that value to people’s lives, it changes everything.”

Natalie Frisk // Website // Twitter

Natalie serves on the team at The Meeting House, where she develops an innovative child and youth curriculum focused on the church’s unique values. She’s a thought leader for future learning models for the local church.

On developing curriculum for kids and youth with different learning styles: “We’ve been able to look at different philosophies of education, different aspects of curriculum and really engage with different learners … It’s been a really neat experience to develop those and then actually see them lived out.”

11_Amazing_Leaders_Sarah_StanleySarah Stanley // Twitter

Sarah is a former leader of the student ministry at The Meeting House and a current curriculum collaborator there. She speaks with clarity on the issues of compassion and service as a core part of working with the next generation.

On intentional compassion elements in youth ministries: “… kids discover what it means to follow Jesus and be disciples, part of that being what it means to serve and not just saying, ‘Hey this is just something I do,’ but: ‘It’s actually because I love and follow Jesus and it’s part of who I am as a result of that.’”

11_Amazing_Leaders_Anne_Marie_MillerAnne Marie Miller // Website // Twitter // Instagram // Facebook

I love Anne Marie’s heart! She’s a leader who’s been through a bunch and lived to tell the story. She speaks with clarity about people’s internal lives in a way that’s not often seen in the local church.

On burnout in ministry: “Ministry is stressful, but if you allow that to accumulate and never take breaks from that, never take Sabbath, you are going to burn out … Once you have burned out, it’s really hard to get back on that path of healing again … that place of abundance that God so desperately wants us to have.”

11_Amazing_Leaders_Sarah_BesseySarah Bessey // Website // Twitter // Instagram // Facebook

Sarah’s book made me cry … and I’m not a crier. I think she’s a “must read” for leaders today. Lean in and listen to what she’s saying to the local church.

On feminism: “We tend to confuse feminism with matriarchy. And it’s not the same thing … It simply is equality.”

11_Amazing_Leaders_Kristy_RutterKristy Rutter // Website // Twitter

Kristy is the go-to expert on church mergers today. We hired her to consult with us and I strongly recommend that every multisite church in the country listen closely to Kristy’s coaching.

On church mergers: “The biggest thing is that both sides have to be putting the Kingdom of God first, over their individual needs and wants … if you are a church looking to plant, grow, expand, help other churches — consider partnering as a strategy first, and see how you can bless another church and create win-wins in your communities.”

11_Amazing_Leaders_Corrin_BauerCorrin Bauer // Website // Twitter

Corrin was at the center of social media at Mars Hill and she still serves as a church communications expert. She’s a great practitioner and visionary for using social media to affect Kingdom outcomes.

On social media in the church: “The church is not just a Sunday activity — it’s all of life. We are the church — we are a community. Social media is a place that meets people where they are … To meet people where they are during the day and connecting with people throughout the week is just such a huge ministry to people.”

11_Amazing_Leaders_Jenni_CatronJenni Catron // Website // Twitter // Instagram // Facebook

Jenni is a leader of leaders. She’s been the Executive Pastor at some of the most innovative churches in the country and now she serves as a coach for churches.

On pride and leadership: “As leaders, we are so hungry and eager for leadership and influence … we cover up a lot of the other fears and insecurities … we are wrestling with, and it manifests itself in pride and it becomes kind of an ugly form of leadership.”

11_Amazing_Leaders_Jayne_PoliJayne Poli // Website // Twitter

Jayne is one of the clearest thinkers I know with regard to how serving is integral to people’s growth and discipleship. She leads a massive system of thousands of volunteers at her church and has seen incredible impacts across the board!

On serving and spiritual growth: “Serving is essential to people’s discipleship … it’s part of your growth in Christ, to use your gifts and talents in the church.”

11_Amazing_Leaders_Julie_LiemJulie Liem //
Website // Email 

Julie is coming up in a future episode of the unSeminary podcast. You’ll love hearing what she has to say about tearing down the natural divisions that build up between teams.

On reducing ministry silos: “If you want to change your volunteer culture, it has to start with changing your staff culture. It has to have a lot of vision that’s coming down from the top, all the way from executive leadership down.”


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Rich Birch
Rich Birch is one of the early multi-site church pioneers in North America. He led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 5,000+ people in 18 locations. In addition, he served on the leadership team of Connexus Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. He has also been a part of the lead team at Liquid Church - a 5 location multisite church serving the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. Liquid is known for it’s innovative approach to outreach and community impact. Rich is passionate about helping churches reach more people, more quickly through excellent execution.His latest book Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church is an Amazon bestseller and is design to help your church reach more people in your community.