Christian Women in Leadership: Peggy Kuethe
For Peggy Kuethe, Christian leadership is all about keeping Christ at the core of all she does. Read on….
What does it look like to be a woman in a leadership role? How does Christian faith impact leadership? And what happens when you put the two together?
Peggy Kuethe is a Senior Editor at Concordia Publishing House in St. Louis, Missouri—where she has worked for 20 years. She has BA in English and Journalism from Illinois State University and an MA in English from Southern Illinois University. She has served on the WLI Board in the past and is now a WLI ambassador. She has been a presenter at previous WLI conferences and will be talking about “Christian Writing for Publication” at the Gifted to Influence Conference.
We asked Peggy a few questions about her job and her views on Christian Leadership:
What’s the favorite part of your job?
I often tell people that I have the best job at CPH—I am privileged to do what I’m good at, where I want to do it, and with people I want to be with—all to the glory of God! (That’s my favorite part.)
How would you define Christian leadership?
Christian leadership is most effective when Christ is at the core of what we do and when we use our gifts, talents, abilities, and interests with that uppermost in mind. Our Lord will guide us to serve where and how He wills. Sometimes that means stepping out of our comfort zone to take the help, speak up, get our hands dirty. And sometimes that means stepping back to let someone else take on those tasks. We can’t all be in charge all the time. When we prayerfully consider what is asked of us and what is asked of others, we lead … even when we follow!
How do you bring your Christian values into your work?
The Christian workplace is like any other workplace in that we have daily work to do, and we bring our sinful human nature into every task. Sometimes, because it’s a Christian workplace, Satan works overtime to thwart our mission and to separate us from God. What’s wonderful about bringing Christian values into a Christian workplace is that we can openly point out when that happens and pray together and pray for one another. At CPH, our mission is clear and we know that every job and every task has a purpose.
Looking back, is there a time on your leadership journey where you perhaps felt uncertain about the future, but God had a bigger plan?
Prior to coming to CPH, I worked at a company where I did not fit in. At all. On my way home from work every day, I drove under an over pass where someone repeatedly sprayed graffiti. No matter how many times the state workers cleaned off the graffiti or painted over it, within a day or so it would be back. The graffiti was in the form of two words: Trust Jesus. I would see those words every evening, Monday through Friday, and pray, “Okay, Lord. I will. I’m not happy, but I trust You.” It took four years, but eventually I was hired at CPH for my dream job. I drive the same way home, but the graffiti no longer appears. It could have been a coincidence, but I choose to believe that God used that anonymous graffiti artist to give me the assurance I needed. There is no question that that prior job prepared me for this one. I just had to trust for God’s bigger plan for me.
How does working in a religious or secular setting change the way you lead as a Christian?
I am blessed to work in an organization that applies God’s Word to every situation. When I’m called upon to lead, I follow that example with confidence.
Who are your biggest role models as a leader?
There are so many people, I don’t even know where to begin!
Is there a passage in scripture that resonates with you as a Christian woman in leadership?
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
What most prepared you to be a Christian leader in the workplace?
Years and years ago, I was appointed to fill a vacant spot on our little Lutheran school’s board for Christian day school. That one-year appointment turned into nine years of service, including six as our 150-year-old congregation’s first female school board chair. You can imagine the countless opportunities I had to learn about teamwork, leadership, compromise, and mission. It was a beautiful lesson of faith that God will always provide.
What challenges do you face as a Christian leader in your workplace?
I am my own worst enemy, so the challenges I face are self-inflicted. When I pray first and act second, the result is always gratifying.
What is the most important piece of advice you would want to pass along to other Christian women in leadership?
Your local congregation is not only a good place to learn the mechanics and nuances of leadership, it might be precisely where the Lord is leading you to serve. We might not see the ripple effect of even the smallest role until later.
Peggy Kuethe is the Senior Editor of Women’s Resources and Children’s Books at Concordia Publishing House. Peggy has worked in the publishing industry since high school (if you count the yearbook and student newspaper, that is). In the years since, she has worked as a newspaper reporter, periodicals editor and writer, marketing copywriter, and book editor.