The Largest, Most Undervalued Demographic in the Church

And what we can do about it
The Largest, Most Undervalued Demographic in the Church
Image: WAVEBREAKMEDIA / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

I attend a good church. It’s a place where I feel spiritually fed and uplifted every Sunday, one where I’ve built relationships with other believers and plugged into a great Sunday school class. Its members have supported and loved my family through some devastating health issues this past year, for which I am endlessly grateful.

Yet even though my church does a lot of things right, there have been times I’ve felt as though most people there just don’t get me. Sadly, the same community that showed up for me when my child was sick had little to offer when I was forced to quit my job a few years ago; or when I faced countless moral dilemmas at work; or when I struggled desperately to balance my family, faith, and career.

“I’m Talking to the Men Now”

It’s not that issues related to the workplace never get discussed in church. But too often they are addressed in ways that subtly exclude working women. Some women I know look longingly at the lists of topics (such as leadership, integrating faith in work, money management, and so on) covered by their church’s men’s Bible studies, wishing for an opportunity to engage them with their faith community. Even when these topics do come up in a sermon or study class open to women, they tend to be tagged as men’s issues.

Sometimes a leader will say something like, “Guys, we need to pay attention to this issue,” when addressing a problem that affects all working people. It seems like a small thing, but when that “just for men” language is used repeatedly, it demoralizes working women.

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Diane Paddison

Diane Paddison is a business professional and founder of 4wordwomen.org, local groups of professional working women committed to faith, family, work, and each other.

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May 25

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