As a teenager, I loved going to church. And why wouldn’t I? I loved singing worship songs, and my friends were there (enough said!). It was easy to show up on Sunday morning and Wednesday evening, and I was always first in line to sign up for retreats and summer camp. Then, along came college, that wonderful season when all of life seems like one big social event. College group, Bible study, you name it… I did it! These were great opportunities to grow in my faith and learn how to navigate a confusing world while staying true to my faith in Jesus.
Finally, graduation and my first “big girl job.” Though I lived in the same city I grew up in, suddenly, making friends and connecting – both inside and outside of church – wasn’t so easy. Singles groups were awkward. Long work hours cut into small group time. And I just didn’t feel like my church understood me and my season of life: single, working, and trying to learn how to be a “grown up” on my own for the first time. It didn’t seem to get any easier after getting married, either.
Can anybody out there relate?
Of the many reasons I love working for 4word, the top reason is probably this: 4word is the only organization for Christian women in the workplace, by Christian women in the workplace. So many women have seen their faith grow and their relationships enriched by connecting with a 4word local group or reading 4word blogs and interviews throughout the week. Some of the happiest emails I get are from women who share they were desperately Googling for ANY resource that meets them where they’re at as both followers of Jesus and professional women, and are overjoyed to find 4word!
But 4word alone is not enough. We at 4word believe that it’s vital for every woman to connect with a local church, growing in their faith through Biblical teaching, community, and service. While hundreds of women gather each week at 4word local group events for encouragement, laughter and friendship, many of them also struggle with feeling invisible in their own churches come Sunday morning. I certainly felt that way in the years following college, and often still do. So where’s the disconnect?
Statistics paint a pretty bleak picture for working women in the church. Barna recently found that 27% of professional women are leaving the church, and 38% of all Christian women have not been to church in the past 6 months. This is scary news for churches and women alike. Some of the reasons these women give for disengaging include: it’s difficult to find mentors and friends at church; their strengths, interests and experience doesn’t fit with typical opportunities to serve; and of course… an over-busy schedule that leaves little time to connect. Guilty as charged.
While it’s our own responsibility to put attending church and serving higher on our priority lists, the fact remains that many churches are struggling to support and engage working women in their congregations. Moms groups may meet on weekday mornings, leaving out the women who work a 9-5 job. (And that’s a lot of women: 68% of women with children under 18 are in the workforce today, 75% of those women work full time, and 40% of all mothers in America are the primary breadwinner for their family!) Many churches have groups for men in business, sometimes gathering early in the morning before the workday, but few open these groups to women or have groups exclusively for working women. And the language too many women hear on Sunday morning about work and calling are “just for the men.”
Are you tired of hearing these statistics, knowing you can relate? I know I am. That’s why this month, 4word is launching Church Connect, a new partnership between 4word and local churches to help them connect and engage working women in their communities. If you read 4word’s blog regularly, follow 4word on social media, or attend a local group, you’ll hear a lot more about Church Connect in the coming weeks. We’re excited to be partnering with churches across the country to help them meet the needs of working women and use this group of women to their full potential for the Kingdom. Let us know if you’re interested in starting this conversation in your own church!
I believe that working women can change the culture, both in the world and in the church, from the inside out. I’m trying to do my part to connect, engage, and serve, and I’m so thankful for 4word women around the world doing the same thing, too.
Please click here to receive these impactful blogs automatically to your inbox.