Elyse Fitzpatrick, Katherine Leary Alsdorf, and Lydia Brownback discuss a challenging yet crucial question: How can churches do a better job of discipling women in and for the workplace?
First, Fitzpatrick observes, we must be sensitive to the reality that many women wish they could be home. Moreover, she notes how easily feelings of isolation and even resentment can arise among Christian working women surrounded by stay-at-home moms. Planning events that fit their schedules, Fitzpatrick suggests, is just one easy way to help minimize the isolation women in the workplace often feel.
Most of the women Alsdorf disciples in her largely single Manhattan congregation work full-time to support themselves. Indeed, there’s “a whole population out there we’re not going to reach unless we have a more broad interpretation of calling,” says Alsdorf, the chief contributor to Tim Keller’s Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work [interview | review]. “The reality is that at various times in our lives we’re called to different things.” And since workplace environments tend to uniquely expose certain idols, she adds, discipling women “through the lens of their vocation” can uncover issues not so readily detectable otherwise.
It’s imperative to help women “get past that grass-is-greener tendency and recognize God’s sovereign hand in their calling at this particular time,” Brownback explains. “And what a privilege it is to be called by God to a specific sphere for a season of life. It’s an opportunity—wherever you might be.”