This is an On the Road blog. Occasionally I will use this space to highlight a helpful idea or observation from events where I have spoken, or share research conducted on the road. If you know of someone who might benefit, forward this along!
A few weeks ago, speaking at a series of women’s events, I was reminded of something I have seen time and again – but something that we in the church can easily miss: Women who work full-time and/or demanding jobs are starved for fellowship with other Christian women. Especially for fellowship with those who “get” their lives.
Friends, this is not a small group of people. Somewhere between 40-50% of women today work full-time, year-round jobs.* And most do so out of economic necessity. We in the church – we who are friends or church leaders of women in this category – should take a moment and think about the need. And what we can do to meet it. In addition, those of us who are in this category ourselves must be willing to seek out support.
The first time I really grasped how important this was, I was speaking for a very large church that had decided to put on their first event for women in the workplace. They set up a night of teaching, fun, and fellowship – but they also set up something else. Each woman who registered was asked just a few questions about themselves and their work life. For example, were they an employee or a business owner? An executive or an entry level professional? Were they at a large corporation or a small nonprofit?
The event organizers used that information to do something unique: they set up round tables (instead of the usual rows of seating) and assigned women to a table of those in similar situations. The eager entry level professionals were at these two tables, the entrepreneurs were at those three tables over there, and so on.
Each of us who were speaking shared a short(ish) talk and each time the tables were given 10-12 minutes to discuss it, before turning back to the next speaker, and, eventually, a Q&A with a panel of the three speakers. It was a fun and hopefully helpful process.
And then the amazing thing happened.