Wednesday, July 29, 2009


I know this has been written about before, and better, but I'm thinking about it again now.

You know how when women act like men, they're called bitchy? Despite how progressive we think we are and how much we deny latent sexism of any kind, this still happens (I know, shocking, right?). Authoritative leadership by a man is authoritarian when done by a woman. Conversely, consensus-building type leadership (women-style) is weak when done by a man.

So, let me get this straight...pastors, who are members of session, are supposed to lead when they are men (they may be talked about as "always got his own way"--but not until after they leave!), but follow when they are women (or risk being told they are too pushy/directional/overbearing... to their faces).

As a pastor who has leadership gifts, I'm not okay with that. My leadership style combines the stereotypical masculine and feminine types, and flows pretty freely along that continuum. And I want to exercise my leadership gifts...and I don't want to be forced to do that in just one way.

There's a difference, of course, between exercising leadership in a particular context and being boxed in to a particular style...I like the first. Not the second.

that's all.


  1. It's also harder for younger women to lead groups including people older than they are. But the church needs young women like you in leadership, so carry on!

  2. Carry on, keep hope, and keep being yourself. Practice contextual/situational leadership - finding ways to match your approach to situation/people while being authentically who you are(which you do). Back in the late 70s/early 80s, when I was in non-profit mgt in DC, it was really easy to be swayed into the masculine approach to leadership - but thank goodness for good mentors and some really good training/leadership development work along the way.

  3. Healthy churches embrace that leadership styles vary.