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08 March 2013

Male Christian leaders: the women who inspire us

To mark International Women's Day today, we asked a group of male Christian leaders to tell us about the women they find inspirational…

paul-woolleyProfessor Alice Roberts is brilliant! She is a clinical anatomist (look it up if you need to), author and broadcaster. She is Professor of Public Engagement in Science at Birmingham University and has presented a range of programmes on BBC TV. She has authored four popular science books, and writes a regular science column for The Observer. Alice is the best kind of public intellectual. She is smart and a great communicator who gets information and ideas across to a non-academic audience. Peter Cotterell, former Principal of London School of Theology used to say: 'In order to explain simply, you must first understand profoundly.' Alice Roberts embodies this maxim. In the process, she inspires others to discover more about the amazing planet on which we live. Paul Woolley, executive director of charity, Bible Society

Carl Beech

Politically Margaret Thatcher won't be many people's first choice for an inspirational woman, but it's totally remiss of us to ignore her impact. Being a child of the early 1970s and then growing up under her influence and leadership, it had a significant effect on our/my views of women leaders. Our country went to war under her direction and she exhibited strong leadership of the UK through many trials and challenges. She created a belief in me and many others that you could do anything you put your mind to if you were entrepreneurial and hard-working. Remember that she was the first and so far the only female prime minister the UK has ever had. Perhaps history will ultimately view her differently. She broke the mould and challenged the status quo just by being there. Equally I've been inspired by Ellen MacArthur, Annie Beasant and Jackie Pullinger and so many more. Carl Beech, director, Christian Vision for Men

Elfed Godding

She was a contemporary of Welsh Revival preacher Evan Roberts and lived in the Lllynfi Valley of south Wales. Her faith was ignited during rapturous prayer gatherings where she experienced the ecstatic worship offered by new converts. A loving mother in the harsh economic climate of the Great War, her life was cut short during complications while giving birth to her daughter. It was her commitment and sheer passion in praying for her family to follow and serve Jesus that has always astounded me and for which I am immensely grateful. I thank God for Mary Hannah, the grandmother I never met. Elfed Godding, national director, Evangelical Alliance Wales

Yemi Adedeji

Without a shadow of a doubt my mother and my wife are the most inspiring women I know. My dad died when I was 13 years old, leaving my mum with five children. I've always been amazed at how she took up the role of both dad and mum and the way in which she fostered in us a deep sense of spirituality. She remains a role model and even now still challenges my spiritual journey. And then there's my wife, Sindele. Her amazing support means so much to me. I'm inspired by how she is able to combine being a professional, a mother, a helper and the wife of a minster – it's no easy job. I love her also for the way she's a brilliant role model of a woman to our children. Yemi Adedeji, director, One People Commission, Evangelical Alliance


Anyone who exemplifies godly character and faithfulness - I think especially of some of the widows in my church who have not always had easy lives, are limited by the physical realities of old age, and know what loss is, yet remain cheerful and serving in their attitude and actions. Such women are far more genuinely counter-cultural and radical than many of their younger, 'right-on', counterparts, and have much to teach us. Matthew Hosier, leader of Gateway Church, Poole, and also runs the Newfrontiers thinktheology blog



David Landrum

Heidi Baker both inspires and frightens me in equal measure. Her missionary work of planting over a thousand churches in Mozambique inspires me to proclaim the gospel, and her huge heart of compassion for children in some of the world's worst places is an inspiration to act personally and to address structural poverty as a priority. Firmly rooted in the Word of God and strongly led by the Spirit of God, Heidi preaches and prophesies with real passion and real power, and it is a frightening sight to see her in full flow. Her healing ministry shows how she doesn't just talk the talk, and provides an inspirational model for Christian leadership – albeit a rather scary one. Dr Dave Landrum, director of advocacy, Evangelical Alliance

Steve Clifford

One of the most gifted leaders, male or female, that I have had the opportunity to work with – and I have worked with some great people over the years – is Ness Wilson. Ness was part of the team that planted a church in Loughborough, now known as Open Heaven. Initially made up of students, it's now a mixed age congregation. Ness leads the church, bringing an extraordinary mix of leadership skills – she's a great communicator, leads strategically yet with passion and has a deep commitment to bring others through to fulfil their calling in God. Steve Clifford, general director, Evangelical Alliance


Which women do you find most inspiring? Tell us...