Forming a Strong Women Community

BY CHERYL KAYE DAVIS, STRONG WOMEN COORDINATOR

What if you could join a community of women who are lifelong learners and who love the power of a good story?

Earlier this spring the Strong Women podcast team had our first listener meetup in California. We sat in the sunshine, sipped good coffee, exchanged books, and took turns answering questions like “What woman in history would you like to have coffee with?” I left the meetup with the kind of full heart that comes from learning and growing with kindred spirits.

I’ve always been drawn to conversations that scratch past the surface level. Even as a child I would stay in the living room listening to the adults while my friends played elsewhere. As I matured into a young woman and moved from a conversation bystander to a conversation participant, my interest in theology, philosophy, and art grew. It was an exciting time of exploration as I found my footing in the world of meaningful conversation and could feel my spirit coming alive. But I also was discovering that most of my conversations were taking place with men because they were most often the ones talking about my interests. I longed for more women who had a deeper hunger to read books and explore the “whys” of the world.

When I first listened to the Strong Women podcast, I heard a richer vision for womanhood than what I’d experienced, a vision that was being articulated creatively over and over again. From the first episode, I became an avid listener. I learned from Sheila Broderick, the grandmother of one of the podcast hosts, about the courage she displayed growing up in England during World War II. I learned from Rachel Gilson, author of Born Again This Way, about how God drew her to Himself while she was a student at Harvard and experiencing same-sex attraction. The stories of the women being interviewed were what I was longing for in my life as a Christian woman—they went beyond a view of womanhood that screamed “women are better than men!” and they also went beyond the view of Christian womanhood where my only purpose is motherhood (which is a very good thing, but not necessarily the only thing). I jumped at the chance to become part of the Strong Women team because I knew this podcast was filling a need: a hunger by women to press into God’s creative design for each of us, beyond the boxes we’ve been asked to fit.

One of the greatest joys is seeing the community of women growing organically from the Strong Women podcast listeners. Each quarter, the Strong Women Book Club meets on Zoom to discuss a book, most recently Letters to Malcolm, Chiefly on Prayer by C.S. Lewis. In another group on Facebook, women ask questions, share encouragement, and discuss what they’re learning. More listener meetups and book exchanges are in our future. From the Strong Women podcast has bloomed the Strong Women Community of lifelong learners and story dwellers, and through it I’ve learned I’m not alone.

PICTURED FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: CHERYL KAYE DAVIS, STRONG WOMEN COORDINATOR | SARAH STONESTREET, STRONG WOMEN HOST | ERIN KUNKLE, STRONG WOMEN HOST

STRONG WOMEN KEY STATS

  • Over half a million downloaded episodes.
  • Reached a huge milestone by publishing the 100th episode of the Strong Women podcast!

“I’m amazed each week at the caliber of guest interviewed, and the conversations leave me thinking deeply on what’s been discussed for a long time afterward (not to mention sending me to the bookstore or to relevant websites). I have found the insights gained by tuning in to Strong Women to be relevant to my life. Thank you!”

- Strong Women Listener

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