BY KRISTI RECTOR
Kumiko is a 33-year-old divorced mother of three. She married young and
now struggles with not having the skills for a job that will support her
family. Theres never enough money or time. She thinks lifes given her the short
end of the stick, and she doesnt understand why God would let these things
happen to her if He really cares.
Jean, a 46-year-old company vice president, has been married for 20
years. They have everything they could wantbig house, new SUVplus, they often
vacation in Europe. Jean thinks that, with everything shes accomplished on her
own, why would she need religion?
Melissa is twentysomething and works for a high-tech company. Though
shes doing well now, she wonders what the future holds. She and her husband of
two years dont trust easily and are wary of people who claim to have the
Kumiko, Jean and Melissa represent just a few of an increasing number of
women in the civilian labor force; 60 percent of North American women have
jobs, double the number from 50 years ago. The pervasiveness of full- or
part-time work has changed womens attitudes and lifestyles, and the ways we
share the gospel with them must be sensitive to their way of thinking.
The good news is that women are increasingly more open to talking about
faith at work, says Lois Flowers, author of Women, Faith, and Work
(Thomas Nelson, 2001). Allyson Hodgins, one of the women Flowers
interviewed for her book, says that because its a time of change in the
business world, people are more open to talking about real-life issues and how
those issues relate to faith.
Kumiko struggles with bitterness because
she feels she gave up her dreams to marry her husband. Now that theyre
divorced, her future seems bleak. Theres no one to share the duties of home and
family, much less having time for friends. Why should God care that she lives
her life in a fog of exhaustion, and the checkbook balance is too small to
On mission message for Kumiko: While you cant
physically see Him, God is present and can fill the void you feel inside. He
tells us in the Bible that He cares for our every need, no matter how small,
and He invites us to bring our concerns to Him.
He offers love, comfort, peace, rest and strength for every situation we
face. People will always let us down, but God is the One we can rely on and
lean on. Give your heart to Him, and Hell be there for you.
Jean has an above-average life. Shes enjoyed a
great deal of professional success, a wide circle of friends and a large house
filled with everything a woman could want. Shes done so well for herself that
she doesnt see a need for God in her lifeshe thinks Hes just a crutch that
weaker people need. What can you say to Jean?
On mission message: If everything you have and
everything youve worked for were suddenly taken away from you, what would your
life be like? Would you have peace? Would there be any meaning left in your
Once you accept Christ and have a relationship with Him, nothing can
take Him away from you. And He can give you peace and happiness more satisfying
than driving a luxury car or living in a mansion or having a powerful job. Hes
bigger and greater and more wonderful than anything you could imagine wanting
or achieving on your own.
Melissa isnt sure what to believe, like many
young postmoderns. There doesnt seem to be just one truth in any situation to
her, and shes skeptical of people who claim that there is. Every religion seems
to have good and bad points, so why should she choose Christianity?
People like Melissa need to hear about your personal experiences with God.
Tell them about situations when Hes helped you, when youve vividly felt His
presence in your life, and what believing in Him means specifically for you.
Show them what its been like to put your faith in God, and let them see your
relationship with Him.
On mission message: God wants to have a relationship
with you, but its okay if you have trouble simply accepting that because Im
telling you. Try it for yourself. Put faith to the test and find out through
your own experience that you can trust Him. Ask Him to show you how much He
cares for you.
The vital statsSo who are modern working women? They
want to excel as wives, mothers, daughters and sisters, as employees and
managers, and as friends, neighbors and citizens, says Flowers.
Given the busyness of todays lifestyles, the need for balance is a huge
issue for working women. They need help figuring out ways to juggle everything
without sacrificing their physical or mental health.
Womens relational nature leads them to desire friendships at work. They also
need respect for their ideas, plus encouragement and feedback from colleagues
or associates with whom they work. They get personal satisfaction from their
jobs, but they also want recognition for their contributions.
Todays working women need to know that what they are doing is significant,
and, more important, that they are significant. In a time of
tremendous change and uncertainty, they are looking for something that will
give their lives meaning and stability, says Flowers.
That desire for genuineness and significance means that we need to develop
authentic relationships with them that will lead to opportunities to share
Christ. We have to show His extravagant love to them through our own lives.
Walk the talkWomen pay attention to how others around
them behave. Here are 13 practical ways to demonstrate your faith as part of
your on mission influence on the women you know at work. Many of these
ideas can be modified and used with your working neighbors if youre not in the
Get to know her as a person. Women are relational creatures, and theyll be
more open to your story of faith if youve established a friendship with them
first. Show you care about them even if they dont want to accept Christ.
Meet her practical needs. Offer baby-sitting services, give a home-cooked
meal, or mow the lawn for a single working mom like Kumiko. Take a co-worker
like Jean out to lunch when shes under stress at the office, or offer to be her
Be there in times of need. When things go wrong, offer to fix a meal or run
errands when she cant. Offer a listening ear, and let her know youll be praying
for her. Send encouraging cards or notes. Bonnie Wurzbacher, a corporate vice
president with The Coca-Cola Co., gave birth to premature twin babies who only
lived a few hours. Now, if someone she knows is going through a difficult time,
she shares her story to encourage her. I believe that one of our
responsibilities is to share our griefhow God got us through it with other
people when theyre facing similar circumstances, she says.
Show her your faith through your office dcor. Place a small plaque of a
Bible verse or inspirational poem on your desk or wall. Display photos of you
and your family in a church activity. These items can help start discussions
about your beliefs with co-workers .
Begin a lunchtime book club. Allow each woman to choose a book for the group
to read, and when its your turn, pick out a Christian novel. As the fictional
characters grapple with faith issues, youll be able to discuss them with your
co-workers in a non-threatening way.
Pray for working women around you. Pray for their daily needs as well as for
opportunities to share your faith with them. Then be prepared when the
opportunities arisenot with a five-point sermon, but with an honest story of
how God has changed your life. Women like twenty-something Melissa will be much
more open to hearing your story.
Practice servant leadership. Karen Covell, a Hollywood producer, says one
way she does this is by voluntarily cleaning the coffee cups in the office
kitchen even though she doesnt drink coffee. Its a small thing, but Karen says,
Theres power in serving. Non-believers will notice.
Do unto her. . . Treat your co-workers with respect, whether theyre your
boss, your subordinates or your peers. Value their input, keep your word, and
dont place unreasonable demands on them. Realize that theyre human and have
lives outside of the workplace.
Hold your tongue. Some women tend to gossip. If you refuse to participate in
office gossip sessions and grumbling matches, youll be making a quiet statement
of how God can change a persons heart and attitude. Other women may then seek
you out when they have concerns, because theyll see that you wont tell others
what theyve told you.
Respond with grace. We all blow it sometimes. Be the first one to go to your
co-worker and apologize for your words or actions that hurt her. Be willing to
offer forgiveness too. Say you do this as a follower of Christ.
Give her a gift. Women are touched by small, thoughtful acts. Remember her
birthday, or encourage her during a difficult time with an inspirational book
or music CD. Or give her something for no reason just because you care and are
forming an on mission relationship.
Make an invitation. Invite a fellow female co-worker to a pageant, concert
or picnic at church. A social church event will help break the ice and allow
you to talk more personally away from the workplace about your relationship
Do your job well. Remember Colossians 3:23-24: Whatever you do, work at it
with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that
you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord
Christ you are serving. When you represent yourself as a Christian and do your
work with excellence, those around you will take notice of Whom you follow.
Remember, you must show the gospel with your actions as well as your
Kristi Rector is a writer living in Loveland, Colorado.
Books to help you share your faith at work
Building Blocks for Your Life@Work (Thomas Nelson / W) by Stephen
R. Graves and Thomas G. Addington
The Christian Working Woman (Baker / Revell) by Mary Welchel
Christianity 9 to 5: Living Your Faith at Work (Beacon Hill Press)
by Michael Zigarelli
Church on Sunday, Work on Monday (Jossey-Bass) by Laura Nash and
Communication @ Work: How to Get Along with Anyone at Church and in the
Workplace by H. Norman Wright
Faith in Leadership: How Leaders Live out their Faith in their Work and
why it Matters (John Wiley & Sons) Edited by Robert Banks &
The Fourth Frontier (Thomas Nelson / W) by Stephen Graves, Thomas
Freedom from Fear (North American Mission Board) by Cheryl Reccord
and Linda Ebert
How To Take the Bible to Work (Back To The Bible) by Woodrow
The Life@Work Book (Word) by the editors of The Life@Work
Loving Monday (InterVarsity Press) by John Beckett
Quiet Moments for Working Women (Servant Publications) by Mary
Reality Check by Verla Gillmor (Horizon Books)
Roaring Lambs (Zondervan) by Bob Briner
Spirituality@work: 10 ways to balance your life on-the-job (Loyola
Press) by Gregory Pierce
Transforming Your Workplace for Christ (Broadman & Holman) by
Women, Faith, and Work (Thomas Nelson) by Lois Flowers
A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and theAnnie Armstrong Easter Offering® ©Copyright 2013 North American Mission Board, SBC