Polished ministry focuses on young professional women
A ministry new to the metro area aims to bring young professional women together explore faith and navigate the world of workplace and career.
Edmond resident and longtime marketing professional Jana B. Gridley, said she brought the Texas-based ministry Polished to Oklahoma to reach what has been described as an under-served demographic: young professional women.
The outreach ministry geared for women age 25-45 held its inaugural Oklahoma City gathering in March at Packard's, 201 NW 10. Lauren Green McAfee served as guest speaker for the lunch event.
Gridley said the group will meet from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the first Tuesday of the month.
Polished OKC will meet next on April 2 at Packard's, with Robin Marsh, anchor at KWTV News 9, as guest speaker.
Gridley, 43, said she had been wondering if an organization like Polished existed and at one time, was urged to start one of her own. Then she found out about Polished, an outreach founded by Kat Armstrong and Stephanie Giddens in Dallas.
After joining forces with the ministry's co-founders, Gridley and Ana Elisa Vargas-Ross, of Oklahoma City, became co-directors of Polished OKC when they launched the first Polished chapter outside Texas. She said Henderson Hills Baptist Church of Edmond is serving as the metro-area chapter's sponsoring organization.
Gridley said often ministries address other aspects of a woman's life such as her role as a spouse or her role as a mother, but there isn't a lot out there geared specifically for young women professionals.
"We serve women in the early stages of building their career, navigating the complexities of work and life, and intrigued about how the God of the Bible could inform and influence their day-to-day by offering them our Jesus-following examples," she said.
Each ministry gathering includes time for networking, lunch and a 20-minute question-and-answer presentation featuring a guest speaker. The event closes with a brief gospel message.
"When I first thought of this, it was for a sense of community, but it's also to share the gospel," Gridley said.
One of the ministry's co-founders Armstrong said she, too, looked for something like Polished. When she didn't find it, she and her friend Giddens created the ministry while they were both working full time in Dallas and attending graduate school.
"We're staying in the workplace longer, having less children and there are many duel-earning households,"Armstrong said of women.
Polished resonated with young women and the ministry outreach's founders never looked back.
"I don't think Stephanie and I had any aspirations of taking this ministry out of our city or that I would work full time for the ministry. Here we are 11 years later, and Oklahoma City is our seventh chapter and we've reached over 30,000 women."
Armstrong described each Polished lunch as a "third space" — a place other than home or work for communal gathering.
Mindi Franks, a metro professional who attended the inaugural Polished OKC event, said she liked the idea of coming together with other Christ-focused women.
"I love that I can connect with like-minded women," Franks said. "I'm happy to have a place to grow in my faith and professionally, as well."
McAfee told the group about her leaning in to her leadership role at the Museum of the Bible, which her family opened in 2017 in Washington, D.C. The daughter of Steve and Jackie Green, McAfee also spoke about the book she wrote with her mother called "Only One Life: How a Woman's Every Day Shapes an Eternal Legacy," and a book that she wrote with her husband Michael entitled "Not What You Think: Why the Bible Might Be Nothing We Expected Yet Everything We Need."
McAfee said she was excited about Polished.
"I know each of you has a story. I know each of you could be up here sharing your story," she said. "It's good to have a space where we can rub shoulders."
McAfee encouraged attendees to build a foundation of faith by doing things like reading the Bible, attending church regularly and discipling other women. She said these will help guide them through life no matter how their careers pan out.
"Those are the best things I can invest my time in," she said.
"My grandfather says there are two things that are eternal — men's and women's souls and God's word — everything else, it's not going to last."
When: Noon to 1 p.m. April 2.
Where: Packard's, 201 NW 10.