Denver Institute for Faith & Work recently launched its Women & Vocation Initiative, a project empowering women to steward their gifts and influence to further God’s mission in the world.
Recently DIFW’s program director, Joanna Meyer, shared her excitement for the project and answered questions about the initiative.
Joanna, Denver already has a number of great women’s ministries, why do we need another women’s group?
That’s a great question, and one in the forefront of our minds as the initiative’s steering committee explored the need for this project. While there are abundant opportunities for women to deepen their spiritual lives, enhance their marriage and family relationships, or build connections with other women, very little is said about the role work plays in women’s lives.
As we’ve seen through publications like Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In or Anne Marie Slaughter’s Atlantic article “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All”, women hunger to explore the full range of their callings, at home, in the workplace, and in the community. Yet, in Christian circles, conversations rarely address the biblical call for women to work or support women as they serve the world through their vocation.
The initiative will add a focused, distinct voice to this discussion by promoting conversations that aren’t happening elsewhere. We aim to promote a robust, biblically-based perspective of work that empowers women to fully embrace their gifts within the opportunities and constraints of their unique lives.
Why do you refer to this initiative as “Women & Vocation” rather than “Women & Work”?
It’s easy for conversations about women and work to get stuck in the debate about whether it’s appropriate for women to work outside the home (one element of which is unfortunately dubbed the “mommy wars”).
At DIFW, we believe God calls all women to work by inviting us into his mission of cultivating and caring for our world. This call to join God’s work in the world is rooted in our identity as his image bearers and extends to every Christian, regardless of gender, life stage, or role. While a stay-at-home mother, corporate executive, or retiree may steward different resources and responsibilities, each plays a vital role in God’s mission.
The word vocation, which derives from the Latin work vox or voice, better reflects the diverse ways women work and encourages women to respond to God’s leading in their lives.
If women are interesting in joining the conversation, how can they get more involved?
We are excited to interact with women across Colorado’s Front Range through this project!
In the Denver area, we’re hosting two Women & Vocation Groups—monthly small groups that explore the biblical foundations for work, build relationships, and help women navigate the challenges they face in the workplace.
This fall we plan to launch quarterly gatherings where we’ll explore topics related to women & work in greater depth. There is a wealth of insight in the Denver community, so I look forward to hearing from some of the area’s most thoughtful women.
Finally, we’re in the early stages of planning a day-long women’s event in early 2017 focused on the theme of Women and Sabbath. Modern life makes it difficult for almost anyone to find time for rest and reflection, but as women juggle multiple roles and responsibilities, it’s especially challenging to give our souls the breathing room they need to be healthy.