Stories: Maximizing Productivity in Mixed Gender Settings

My pastor had invited the church staff to his house for a time of fellowship when he turned to me and said, “I don’t know what to do with you.”

At first I thought my job as preaching associate pastor was in jeopardy, so I gulped and asked, “What do you mean?”

“You’re not one of the guys,” he said, “and I just don’t know how to relate to you.”

Twenty years later, while many more women are being called to ministry and given positions of authority in the church, I have discovered that this kind of difficulty among dual-gendered church staffs remains at the top of the list. Male and female leaders still do not know how best to work with each other. All is not lost, however. We have an opportunity, a window of time, to accomplish the work of the Kingdom as God has planned — men and women working together by utilizing the special gifts God has given each one — to provide a holistic ministry to a lost world.

This effort is not without its challenges. Men and women need to understand each other better, make compromises in leadership styles, and learn what it means to serve one another. Daunting as this sounds, especially in light of our post-Christian milieu, the necessity of doing ministry this way may well determine the future success of our Fellowship.

In this endeavor, two broad areas of interest rise to the forefront: the way in which men and women utilize authority in leadership, and the way in which men and women experience community relationship.