Women and the Workplace: A Critical Crossroads
In the United States, 45 million working women identify as Christian, yet less than one-third actively connect in faith community. Working women––and particularly Christian working women––stand at a critical crossroads with many lacking the support of like-minded women as they navigate challenges of changing work environments. All of us have experienced change and transition in this past season. But whether yours is characterized as a season of loss, new beginnings, or both, one constant remains: you have been created for, and called to, purposeful work in your everyday workplace.
As we move forward together, let’s pave our path with God’s Word. Three theology of work principles can help guide the way.
Principle #1: Working women are created in the image of God who works. In the first line of Scripture, God reveals, “In the beginning, God created…”––or in other words, in the beginning God went to work. The chapter continues with the good, good, good… very good of all that God created. In Genesis 1:26–28, God introduces man and woman as the imago Dei, his image-bearers in the world called to work as his representatives by continuing the work of creating culture and providing for and sustaining God’s creation (Gen 1:28 is often referred to as the “Cultural Mandate”). Before any curses in Genesis 3, God identified work as an intrinsic aspect of flourishing life for humanity made in the image of God. This high value of women and our work stands as a foundation for our daily purpose today.
Principle #2: Christian women are strategically placed by God in our workplaces and our circles of influence. Ephesians 2:10 affirms, “For we are God’s workmanship [masterpiece], created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do.” This verse echoes the good, good, good… very good of Gen 1. It proclaims the purposeful good work prepared for each Christ-follower (who remain the imago Dei) as they incorporate their skills, talents, passions, and experience into their work––in whatever form and context that work takes in this season. Good work may reflect excellence, integrity, and giftedness in the work itself. Good work may reflect a means of provision and flourishing for family and community. And good work may reflect genuine interest in and care for people and relationships at work. All three of these aspects of work––the work itself, the fruit/benefits of the work, and relationships within the workplace––become important factors to lay before the Lord while seeking wisdom and guidance for how to move forward in life and in work.
Principle #3: All Christ-followers, including women, are called to work as Jesus’ ambassadors in our daily workplaces. In 2 Corinthians 5:17–6:1, the apostle Paul addresses anyone in Christ––meaning everyone who believes in, and walks with, Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. He refers to Christ-followers as God’s co-workers and says, “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.” Christ has prepared an important role in the workplace for Christian working women––that of ambassador. An ambassador honorably represents the king or leader who sends them, and they carry the specific messages of the sovereign sender to the people of the land. Due to their position, they have access to, and can interact with, people that others may not be able to reach. In this way, Christ has strategically placed us as Christian women in our daily workplace mission fields. As his ambassadors, we have the opportunity to collaborate with, come alongside, and build relationships founded on respect with people that church pastors, clergy, and staff will never reach. We have a critical role to play as Truth-tellers and hope-bearers as we bring Christ’s light into our daily interactions. We have a prestigious calling to work as Christ’s ambassador in the work world, regardless of our work context.
Sisters, as we emerge from Covid lockdowns, many of us feel the weight of transition and prolonged isolation, especially in the realm of work. Now more than ever our universal need is connecting in the community of Christian working women to encourage, support, and raise one another up. Christian working women––created masterfully for work of purpose––represent God as we join his work each day. And as we collaborate and walk the journey together as co-workers with Christ and each other, we live out Christ’s Gospel message as ambassadors carrying it to the world.
 Barna Group, “State of the Church 2020,” accessed March 17, 2021, https://www.barna.com/research/changing-state-of-the-church/; Barna Group, “Behind the Steep Decline in Church Attendance Among Women,” March 4, 2020, accessed March 17, 2021, https://www.barna.com/changes-behind-the-scenes/; Pew Research Center, “In the U.S., Decline in Christianity Continues at Rapid Pace,” October 17, 2019, accessed March 17, 2021, https://www.pewforum.org/2019/10/17/in-u-s-decline-of-christianity-continues-at-rapid-pace/; United States Department of Labor Women’s Bureau, Current Full-Time and Part-Time Statistics, accessed March 17, 2021, https://www.dol.gov/agencies/wb/data/latest-annual-data/full-and-part-time-employment.