This Is How I Lead is a series on the ZOE Blog. We love learning from others... so we have asked some good questions of great female leaders across the globe. We hope it will inspire you in your own leadership! If you have some questions for these women, post it in the comments section.
This is How I Lead - Sharon Thomas
Who are you?
This is a good question… like most women I am different things to different people. To the folks living in my house I am mom. To those thatlive next door I am the Canadian lady who does things a little differently. To my family I am the one who lives in another country and misses most family get togethers. To most people I am the missionary they get newsletters from each month. Really I am just one lady who is crazy in love with Christ and wants to see others have their life changed forever like mine was. This is my life… this is my passion.
Where do you minister?
I serve in the Dominican Republic - I know what you are thinking - nice! Well it is not really a trip to the resort. It is awesome if you like 35 degrees in the shade and 95% humidity, no AC in my house, and plastic seats in your pickup truck - which by the way does not have AC either. If you like no hot water, power going off at random times for days at a time and centipedes in your bathroom - yeah it is a nice gig.
How long have you worked with vulnerable women?
I started working with the most incredible women on the planet about seven years ago - after being in ministry for 18 years and successfully avoiding women's ministry.
Using three words, how would you describe your leadership style?
Equip, empower, encourage
How do you go about empowering women in your context?
I minister to women pastors and wives of pastors. Many have no training and little resources serving in remote areas. I invite these leaders from 19 different denominations together and build relationship with them and with each other. We together work together to help them reach their communities for Christ, help develop their ministries to women.
Who has been your greatest influence in your development as a leader? (Dead or Alive)
There are many people who have impacted my life and helped to develop me as a leader. Some through positive examples and have been a model for me, others through encouragement and others who have shown me the kind of leader I never want to be. All have been valuable and have helped shape the person I am today.
What specific ways have you worked to develop your skills?
I study not only other leaders but I seek them out and ask lots of questions. I copy what they do and then add my ideas for this context. I don't look just at what they do but how they do it. I read lots of books too.
What is the greatest need you see in women around you?
Many of the women I work with need resources, teaching, support and encouragement. These women are exactly where God wants them - they can reach their community 100% better than I ever could. But they are lacking the resources, encouragement and someone investing in their lives.
If someone wanted to get involved, what could they do to help?
There are many ways to be involved from bringing a team, providing funds for teaching, training and conferences. Helping to build a church building for a pastora changes their whole ministry.
If you had one piece of advice for someone who wanted to do what you do, what would you tell them?
Pray. Ask God to show you creative ideas to impact those in your world. EVERYONE has a place in missions, some give, some pray, some go for a short time, some go for a long time, some a great at raising funds, gathering resources and some are amazing encouragers of others to be involved. Find your place and DO IT.