Workshop: managing impostor syndrome

At the height of Michael Jordan’s NBA career, Gatorade launched the “Be like Mike” campaign. If we replenished our electrolytes with the same sports beverage as Jordan, then we could hope to lead our teams to NBA titles, be named the NBA’s MVP, and take home multiple NBA scoring and slam-dunk championships.

It’s important to have role models, people who broaden our imaginations about what’s possible. At some point there becomes a danger, though, of feeling like a fraud if we compare ourselves to those role models – or even to those who don’t seem to be putting in the work yet reap the rewards of their positions – and judge ourselves as coming up short. There aren’t enough gallons of Gatorade to make up for gaps in privilege or charisma or opportunity or raw talent.

Even in 2020, many clergywomen are treated as if we are “playing at” pastoring, as if we don’t deserve to live into the fullness of God’s call on our lives and aren’t capable to exercise the fullness of God’s equipping for our vocations. While we often feel like we are treading water, toiling for our authority every day, we see others gaining bigger platforms.

Enter impostor syndrome: what am I doing here? Is someone going to realize I don’t belong and call me on it? Does my effort even matter, since I might never be recognized as the Michael Jordan of ministry? (Spoiler alert: YES.) Impostor syndrome is widespread and insidious. It makes us feel like our gifts and ministries aren’t valuable to God or God’s people. It urges us to lead in ways that are not authentic to us, which means we don’t leverage our God-given strengths as faithfully as we could. It causes us to doubt our decisions instead of using outcomes – whatever they might be – as fodder for ongoing discernment. It causes us to compare ourselves to others, which prompts discouragement that can eventually lead to our departure from ministry altogether. And that is not ok, because the church and the world need the leadership we have to offer.

From 11:00 am -12:30 pm central time on May 13 I will be offering an interactive workshop for clergywomen on managing impostor syndrome. Within a theological framing, we’ll name what impostors are. As counterpoints, we’ll discuss how we came to be where we are, what our impact is on our ministry settings, how we can remember our worth, and how we can develop mutual support networks to bolster one another when symptoms of impostor syndrome emerge. Participants will take away awareness and practices they can put in place to live out of God’s call on their lives and their love for God’s people rather than out of the (sometimes internalized) expectations of others.

The cost for this workshop, which will take place via the Zoom online platform, is $20. There will be an option to add on three 1-hour coaching sessions, at a discounted rate of $225 (total for all three sessions), to help you apply what you learn. Click here to sign up.

New workshop: let your light shine

I know a lot of clergywomen. I run in different networks designed for them. I coach them. I am one myself. And I cannot think of a single one that is not creative, smart, and committed. Why, then, aren’t more clergywomen serving as senior pastors in big pulpits or leading middle judicatories or denominations? One reason is that it’s largely up to us to showcase our own abilities and that of our clergywoman peers. That’s not easy, though, because women are socialized for humility and often have smaller spheres of influence because of the ministry roles to which we are called.

Based on these realities and gleanings from wise women in a cohort I recently led, I am offering an interactive workshop on six strategies for claiming and sharing your gifts, experiences, and successes. This event will share insight on how to
  • beef up your bio for guest preaching and speaking and for informal introductions
  • develop a system for keeping track of your accomplishments
  • be ready with adjectives and illustrations that highlight your skills
  • invite yourself to important committees and conversations
  • strengthen your networks, lifting up other women in the process
  • use social media to amplify women rather than give a bigger platform to those who deny our leadership abilities

The workshop will take place via the Zoom online platform from 11:00 am – 12:30 pm central time on Wednesday, February 5. The cost is $20. Please sign up here, and you will receive a PayPal invoice and a Zoom link in short order.

I look forward to helping you design ways for your brilliant light to have a greater reach!

Fending off overfunctioning online workshop


It was December, six months into my very first call as a Minister of Education, and I was in charge of making sure all of the out-of-town college students received their pre-exam care packages. I shopped for gift cards, snacks, and cozy socks. I bought and assembled the boxes. I printed the shipping labels. I taped up and took all the completed parcels to the post office. Midway through this process, I was stripped down to a tank top – in sub-freezing weather – in a Sunday School room, grumbling and sweating and wondering why the heck no one was helping me. (Spoiler alert: I didn’t ask.)

I was waaaay overfunctioning. And it was neither the first nor the last time.

As it turns out, overfunctioning is a common struggle among ministers. We want to prove our competence. We hesitate to burden other people who are busy like we are by asking for help. Some of us deal with perfectionism. Others just want to go home, and it’s easier and quicker in the short run to cross off the tasks ourselves. And women are culturally conditioned to do all the things. These are only some of the reasons behind the tendency to overfunction in ministry.

That’s why I’m offering a workshop on overfunctioning, just in time to work on giving this default mode up for Lent (and Lenten preparations!). In this 90-minute gathering, I will define overfunctioning and connect its motivations to each Enneagram type. We will explore the implications of overfunctioning for ourselves, our loved ones, our congregations, and our successors. We’ll take a look at what scripture has to say about overfunctioning. Then we’ll pinpoint our signals that we’re easing into overfunctioning territory, discuss multiple strategies for extricating ourselves, and design the actions we each plan to implement to keep overfunctioning at bay.

The workshop will take place via the Zoom platform on Tuesday, February 12, from 1:30-3:00 pm eastern. The cost is $15, and registration is available here. I encourage you to sign up if you:

  • find yourself resentful for all the tasks that have been dumped on you,
  • have no time for anything beyond church,
  • are afraid – for whatever reason – to give up anything on your to-do list,
  • don’t know where to start with delegating, or
  • feel tired all the time.

This workshop will help you see the bigger picture and adjust accordingly so that you can have a long, fruitful ministry and a flourishing life outside of the church as well.