Some males may struggle to accept female leaders (and some females struggle to accept male leaders) but I gently need to ask, are you sure their lack of respect is because you're a woman?
Sometimes when we don't have someone's respect we can easily point to an issue like age or gender or race, but we need to prayerfully consider if there's another reason. Maybe we haven't earned the person's respect. Maybe we haven't taken the role we've been given seriously enough. Maybe there's an underlying issue of forgiveness. Maybe we haven't done our homework, shown up on time, or prepared properly. Maybe we aren't working to grow our leadership skills-including areas of weakness. Maybe we aren't honest about our own shortcomings.
I'd encourage you to leverage this as an opportunity to grow as a leader. Take time to invest and build a stronger relationship with him in appropriate ways. Celebrate his successes. Thank the men in your group for the contributions they make. When you feel like you've built some level of rapport, consider letting one or two specific guys in the group know you're really working on growing and becoming a better small-group leader. Do they have any suggestions? You may discover some areas of weakness, but you may also be surprised to discover they like you as a leader and have other issues affecting their attitudes.
You may also discover the person's lack of respect and acceptance is truly because you are a woman leader. How do you respond? Pray for grace. God may be at work in this person's life in unexpected ways. Also pray for blessing for this person--so that your heart doesn't become hardened.
In addition, one of the best ways to combat this is by being excellent at what you do! Go the extra mile while preparing for lessons. Read websites and resources that will help you grow as a small-group leader. Gender may be an issue for someone else, but it doesn't need to be one for you. Be a great small-group leader--love, serve, nurture, and cultivate community while drawing people closer to Christ.
*This article was taken out of a blog post, which first appeared on smallgroups.com here
**Photo courtesy of here