By Gaye Bunderson
After moving to Boise from Oregon in 2016, Katy Nelson decided to start her own coffee group where she could meet other women. She put an announcement in her church’s bulletin, calling the get-together Coffee with Katy. The women started coming, and the coffee group kept growing. So in 2018, Nelson launched Walking with Women, an outgrowth of that original coffee klatch.
“It went from coffee to lunch and dinners and then to activities, like going to the movies or to plays,” Nelson said. Then the women started walking together, and Nelson prayed, “God, what is it You want from this?”
What evolved was relational discipleship; and though there is a Bible study component to Walking with Women, Nelson emphasized, “It’s not a lot of preaching.”
Women of all denominations are welcome, as well as women who are not Christians at all. Nelson seeks to show who Christ is by example and by how she lives and treats people. Women may come to any Walking with Women event without any sense of being evangelized. Come and enjoy, is the message. “It’s just being a friend to women and them talking and making friends,” Nelson said.
The name for the group came through the idea of women being on a journey through life together. “We are walking together, encouraging, laughing and crying with each other. It’s not about having it all together; it’s about keeping on, living forward in the midst of the ups and downs, celebrating the joys and successes of life together. It’s about doing life together — that’s kind of the ‘saying’ of the group,” Nelson said.
And when the women gather, no topic of conversation is off limits.
“I’m very transparent,” Nelson said, explaining she has an LGBT child. She talks openly about it and invites others to talk about such topics, too. “With any group, there’s always an elephant in the room, whether it’s someone’s past or their family. … Women are welcome to be open during our times together.”
She also stressed, “There’s no clique. Women meet and build friendships, and some go off and be friends but come back for larger activities.”
Activities include restaurant Dine Outs on the third Monday of the month. These are lunches and dinners in Nampa and Boise, holding lunch in one community and dinner in the other and then switching the next month. (Participants may attend either Dine Out.) There are Bible studies on Wednesday evenings and Thursday mornings in private residences. Other events take place at various times, and there is frequently a serving component to some of the programs. All programs may be attended on an optional basis.
Walking with Women is the ministry arm of Nelson’s business, Katy Nelson Coaching. She earned a bachelor of arts degree in religion and Christian ministries from Warner Pacific College in Portland and became an ordained minister in 2006. She then earned a professional life coach certification from the Christian Coach Institute in 2016. In 2018, she became an associate certified coach through the International Coaching Federation.
On Nelson’s website at katynelsoncoaching.net, a segment of the Walking with Women vision statement reads, “Women are often alone and lonely.”
That may include the single mom; the stay-at-home mom looking for adult interaction; the empty nester; the retired woman looking for what’s next in life; the special needs parent; the widow — any woman looking for common ground, to be able to say, “I’m not alone in this struggle.” They’re all welcome at Walking with Women.
A former children’s ministry director, Nelson now hopes to start women’s ministries in churches. Contact her through her email address at katynelsoncoaching.net if you are interested in helping launch a women’s ministry at your church. Also, go to katynelsoncoaching.net/walking-with-women and sign up for the monthly newsletter. Don’t go it alone. “We’re bringing together all women looking for friends,” Nelson said.