This week, we’d like to draw your attention to a wonderful ministry called Priority Associates. They are a branch of Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) that serves professional men and women. Priority Associates is active in 22 U.S. cities as well as in London. For our interview, we talked to Lyn Cook, who serves with Priority Associates: NYC.
4word: How long have you been on staff with Cru?
Lyn: Well I worked in pharmaceutical sales for three years, and I won the top sales awards as quickly as you could get them. When I got to the top, I asked myself, “Did I just climb the right ladder?” So I started interviewing for other jobs.
At one point, I was listening to a tape series on meetings and seminars and the last line asked, “If you could talk about anything with anyone, what would you talk about?” I almost had to pull the car over, because the answer came so immediately: I would talk to college students about what God had done in my life. That made me wonder, “Why is that not what I’m doing?”
That’s when I started looking for ministry opportunities, and that’s how I ended up on staff with Cru. I was in the college ministry for my first eleven years on staff, in East Asia and at University of Alabama. About three years ago, my husband and I moved to New York to work with King’s College. We’ve been with Priority Associates for about a year and a half now.
4word: And what made you want to work for Priority Associates?
Lyn: Living in the city, you see that the people here are so talented, wonderful and warm, so influential and with such great credentials. It makes me think: if all of these people lived full lives spiritually, professionally and personally, how huge of an impact could they have on our world?
4word: Your website says you’re “all about priorities.” What makes priorities so important?
Lyn: If you don’t have priorities, life is just going to roll at you. Now there are parts of life that you should just roll with, but often there’s so much coming at you that knowing which big pebbles need to be put in the jar first allows space in your life for more than just what’s urgent. That’s one practical reason for having priorities.
I think it’s also an obedience issue. God commands us to love Him first. It’s more than just a command; He’s worthy of it! It’s worthwhile to make Him our first priority and think about what His priorities would be for us because He loves us. Why not listen to the One who made us and loves us before we listen to anything the world might say?
4word: So besides priorities, what’s one thing you’ve noticed that working women tend to struggle with?
Lyn: Connection with like-minded women. People who are dying on the vine are people who aren’t in community. I think sometimes young women just don’t see the need for it. You graduate from college, move somewhere, make friends and think it’s fine. Or you end up with a roommate who doesn’t always encourage you in the right direction.
People set goals for their career, but they don’t always set them for their spiritual life or their relationships, so things just start to happen. Sometimes, they don’t happen very well, and then all of a sudden, you’re living this life that you didn’t expect to be living.
Another reason is that, at least here, people work really hard. Depending on the industry, eleven-hour days are not abnormal. One girl we recently had over for breakfast said she fights to get out of the office by 7 p.m. so she can be in a small group or see her fiancé. Her coworkers often stay until 11 p.m.
Now we might say that this lack of connection happens unintentionally, but the truth is that you’re actually choosing what to focus on. Whether it’s your pleasure, your reputation or your success, that’s what you’re serving. That’s what becomes your slave master.
4word: How does Priority Associates provide ways for young women to connect with each other?
Lyn: We offer four types of opportunities. We host quarterly workshops on various issues about work and faith. These are usually two days long so that attendees can absorb the content, connect with peers and begin applying it to their lives. We also have ongoing small groups for every phase of life. Some are for recent graduates and some are for mid to upper-level executives.
Our third opportunity is our happy hours, where professionals can network with one another in a casual environment. Finally, we have an event that’s actually called “Connect.” This is an opportunity to listen to someone’s life story and then break into smaller groups to talk about a topic like ethics, stress or work relationships. And then, on a personal level, we also offer mentoring and career coaching.
If you’d like to hear more from Lyn, you can visit Priority Associates NYC’s website or find them on Facebook. If you’re interested in getting involved with Priority Associates, you can see a list of their cities on their website.