Bianchi says her senior pastor champions having both men and women in senior leadership positions and inviting their contributions. He’ll turn to her or other women in a meeting to ask their opinions, especially if “the last seven comments in a row have come from men in the room.”
About half the staff at Christ Church is female, Tracey said, noting, “I don’t ever hesitate to say what I want to say because I’m a girl. And sometimes, that also means tears. My female colleagues and I sometimes cry in meetings, but that’s okay.”
Bianchi jokes that the difference in men’s preaching and women’s is that the men use more sports analogies. She admits she tried at first to do the same. “I tried to tell a golf story, and I don’t even golf!” she laughs.
Now she feels more comfortable illustrating sermon points with stories of her real life about her children or friends. “Half the planet, and more than half the congregation, is women,” she says. “It’s only fair that they get some stories that work for women.” She loves being part of a teaching team so that the congregation gets to hear different perspectives and stories they can relate to, and adds that it helps the church to hear teaching from both genders.
Advice to Women Leaders
“Don’t change your leadership style to meet masculine expectations,” Bianchi said. “But make sure what you’re doing is good leadership. If you limit yourself, you’re going to limit what God wants to say through you. The team, the church, needs your collaborative edge, your insights.”
She believes women’s leadership style “invites collaboration and creativity,” and women should embrace the contribution they uniquely bring to the table. She also encourages women to be loving but bold. “In a loving way, don’t be afraid to call the guys out on stuff if you’re feeling really frustrated, if there’s a conflict,” she says. “There may be coworkers who will say (or imply) that you don’t belong here. But you need to act like you belong here. You’re there!”
“I tell the women I work with that they should lean into the innate relational intuitiveness that women have,” Unice said. Rather than simply stating what she’s intuiting, Nicole recommends using that insight to ask a question that will move the discussion forward.