Ministry in the Workplace

 
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Darrell Bock
Elaine, it’s a real pleasure to have you. Let me introduce you. You are an AT&T Product Marketing Director. I’ll ask you what that involves in a minute. And it says you came from a very poor family in Hong Kong. And then you moved here in 1980, came to the Lord in 1981. Married to Dominic, your husband.

Elaine Kung: Yes.

Darrell Bock
And you met him at Cornell. And then you did master’s work at Princeton. And you founded a ministry called Called to Work in 1996. And you’ve won all kinds of awards that I could just go through, but I’ll skip.

Elaine Kung: You can skip those.

Darrell Bock
Yeah. So Elaine, tell us a little bit about your background. And talk initially to us about where you grew up in Hong Kong.
Elaine Kung
Sure. Glad to be here, Dr. Bock.

Darrell Bock: It’s a pleasure.

Elaine Kung
It’s such a privilege to be in DTS. Just my dream to be able to take class here someday. So I grew up in Hong Kong and came from a very poor family. We were homeless at one point. When I was a teenager, we immigrated to the United States, to the State of Maryland as refugees. And I worked as a waitress and my parents worked in the restaurant morning until night. And I couldn’t really have gone to high school, let alone college and graduate school. And yet God changed my life when I was a teenager after coming to the States. He changed me from a troublemaker, believe it or not, to a peacemaker. And my life is just totally transformed. And He opened doors, and miracles every day. Pleasant surprises every day. He allowed me to go to Cornell, where I met my husband for my electrical engineering degree. And then I worked for AT&T as a summer intern. And AT&T hired me as a full-time employee before I graduated from college and then put me through graduate school in Princeton. And the rest is history. I’ve been there for over 32 years. I literally started when I was a child. They have a children’s program. So that was 32 some years ago. So it’s been an amazing journey.
Darrell Bock
And what do you do now for AT&T?
Elaine Kung
So I am a director in charge of our product marketing for some really cool, leading edge product called Flexware. It’s software-defined network. So everything is going software. And AT&T considers ourselves as a software company. So it’s really quick way of configuring the network and on demand easily for the customer.
Darrell Bock
Now, it says you founded a ministry called Called to Work in 1996.

Elaine Kung: Yes.

Darrell Bock
Now, I know you’re enthusiastic about this.

Elaine Kung: Very much so.

Darrell Bock
So tell us a little bit about that ministry.
Elaine Kung
For sure. And I would start with saying why I did that.
Darrell Bock
Okay.
Elaine Kung
And how many of you are working? Most of us, right? And many of you are going to be pastors and ministers and missionaries. And I just want you to know – and I’m sure you know that – where do we spend most of our awake hours? At work. And it’s my passion that we really, truly take Jesus to work. In my office there is an empty chair reserved for Jesus. I invite Him to be part of my meeting and conversations. Really allowing God to show up in every meeting, every decision. It’s been amazing.

So in the nineties, AT&T was very big with employee resource group, which is awesome resources. So we would have Asian American group, African American group, and so forth. And then we would have annual professional conferences and I would be speaking about career development and such. And then I said, what better way to empower and develop us to be better workers and managers than our Christian faith? Why couldn’t we have a Christian professional development conference? We do have bible studies at AT&T all my thirty-some years of career. Every location I’ve been to. And we moved from New Jersey to Dallas. At every single location we have bible study at lunch time and prayer meeting at lunch time. And yet we don’t really have a professional development conference. So I started that in 1996.

In many ways it’s ahead of its time. Right?

Darrell Bock
Mm-hmm.
Elaine Kung
So last year we had a faith at work summit. And the title was 2.0. So this is like 21 years ago when it was 0.0. [Laughter] So that was my passion. I am so big in encouraging people to really take Jesus to work. And oftentimes we think of the workplace and we call them the mission field, as if we’re going to, you know, hold a bible and pound people’s head to believe in Jesus. That’s not what we’re paid to do. Right? AT&T pay me to be an effective worker, leader, and manager. So we need to be faithful to what we are called to do.

At the same time, while we have opportunity, we can share God’s love and the gospel. So to me, the workplace isn’t just the mission field; it’s also where are we going to share and be a blessing to other people, but also the training ground where God equip us and train us and pour blessings into our work life. So we receive blessings as we are being trained and also be a blessing to other people in the mission field.

Darrell Bock
Now, how have you translated this into communicating to churches and that kind of thing about what it is that you do? And you’re at Northwest, right?
Elaine Kung
Northwest Bible Church, yes. And my Pastor’s wife over there.
Darrell Bock
Okay. So now you have to be careful what you say.

Elaine Kung: Oh yes. [Laughter] So that’s a good point. Because it’s a journey. For all the churches that we’ve been associated with, as big as we are, doing these annual Call to Work conferences, and I have speakers from all over the country. I intended not to invite pastors or seminary professor – no offense. But we invite practitioner, people who work in the real world.

Darrell Bock
Yeah. We don’t work. [Laughter]
Elaine Kung
Different kind of work. So I would have White House staff, the person who started the bible study in White House and the director and various executives from different companies. So as big as we are in doing conference and the church support us nominally, it’s still a journey to really get the pastors and the deacon board to fully recognize the need of really integrating this ministry into the fabric of the church. Because it’s not a standalone workplace ministry. The model that we are promoting really cuts across, whether it’s your worship, your missions, or your small group. It’s a ministry that’s integral to the church ministry. So we try to partner with the churches. And every church is at a different journey, different point.
Darrell Bock
A different point. So tell us some of the things that you do in these meetings that you have and the conferences that you have. What’s involved in that? What are you encouraging people about?
Elaine Kung
Yeah. So let me just kind of read our mission statement, what Called to Work is intended to do. We want to edify and expand the Kingdom of God around the world by equipping and mobilizing working Christians to be spirit-filled ambassadors for Christ in our everyday life.

So our conference gathers speakers from all walks of life with very practical topics; work-life balance, how to be a light in the workplace, how do you deal with politics and people, and very practical topics from people from all titles and responsibilities.

In fact one year, some of you may know – we are dating ourselves – back in 2000, Fortune Magazine, the cover page of Fortune Magazine said, God is my CEO. Go back and look it up. So in that year, they interview various executives how God is their CEO. And one of them was also invited to our Call to Work conference. So the conference includes speakers, workshops, resources that we offer. And we have very practical, free resources on our website. And we also issue weekly email distribution to people with very practical devotions that you can learn and apply how to really integrate your faith in the workplace. So our conferences really gather speakers and people come together and learn. And we do also hope for people to follow up. And we are working on having webcasts and small group resource materials. And also connecting with other ministries. Because there are many other workplace ministry that we could help promote that material as well. Like the project Theology of Work. I saw Bill just came in. So that’s his project for sure.

Darrell Bock
So what’s the website?
Elaine Kung
Website is Calledtowork.org. Very simple.
Darrell Bock
Okay. Calledowork.org. And what are some of the key issues, specific issues that you deal with? Or let me say it this way; what are some of the key challenges that you deal with in terms of the workplace?

Elaine Kung: Just from a workplace perspective?

Darrell Bock
Yeah.
Elaine Kung
So there are always people challenges. Right? And I’ll tell you, there’s no better place than being in the workplace to be disciplined in our spiritual training. Right? It’s like a pressure cooker. It’s like a fishbowl. You’re being watched. So I hope and pray that we are not in the workplace as secret agents; that no one knows that I’m a Christian. You know, trying to hide our faith.

Sometimes we may be concerned that if people know that I’m a Christian, they may set a certain expectation; what if I don’t do well? What I don’t shine the way that Matthew 5:16 said, “Let your light shine before others so they can see your good deeds and bring glory to your Father in heaven,”? And that’s okay. So here’s the challenge and a blessing for me from my own experience. While it’s challenging to let people know that you are a Christian in a natural way, at the same time, we are empowered by the Holy Spirit that I learn to lift so many promises from the bible. Like the fruit of the Spirit. So many practical situations at work that you really need to practice love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.

And God gives me the sensitivity to care for people, give me the courage to speak up, give me the wisdom to lead and influence, and give me the humility to apologize. And it’s okay if we don’t always make the right decision. It’s okay. We may not be patient all the time. And recently I apologized to my team for not being patient enough. Because we were working on a very intensive project.

And that’s what’s amazing for us as Christians in the workplace. While it’s challenging, at the same time we are so blessed. Because we are not there on our own; the Holy Spirit is there with us every step of the way.

Darrell Bock
One of the points I like to make about Galatians 5 and the fruit of the Spirit is how relational that list is. It really is about how we interact with other people. God equips us to interact with other people in a way that allows us hopefully to be a benefit to them as we serve them.

Do you talk any in your discussions about how to view the work itself? In other words, how to think through what you’re doing, whatever it is, in the company?

Elaine Kung
In terms of work discussion?

Darrell Bock: Yeah. In other words, the value of work as work.

Elaine Kung
Sure. So work is more than a paycheck. I’m happy that I get paid too. [Laughter]. So I’m just very passionate. Whatever you do, you’ve got to enjoy what you do. And I think God it’s Monday. And people laugh at me.

So most recently, it’s actually pretty amazing that I got a chance to share my life story with my VP. In fact, he asked me to share. Because in one of the town hall meetings he shared his own journey of adversity, how he built resilience. And he opened up for the whole team and said, “Who would like to share their resilience story?” So I shared my little story of how my life was changing. Living on the edge and then 30 years later living the American Dream.

So there was a car ride that got ordained and orchestrated, that he gave me a ride to a train station. And he really marveled at my story. And he said, “Can you tell me more? What’s your turning point?”

Darrell Bock
Thank you very much, yeah.
Elaine Kung
So I was invited to share, so I shared how my Christian faith really is my foundation. So there are many opportunities that we can share. And also value work. Because God calls us to do work with excellence, whatever we do. Right Colossians, 3:23; Whatever you do, do it as if it’s for the Lord. That’s why he is our CEO, he is our big boss.

So at work I just find it integral to our Christian faith and how God built me up as a servant leader of integrity. And I speak on it. I teach in many different forums, both Christian and non-Christian organizations. And that all that God has equipped me in the last 30-some years is not for a secular purpose; it’s for a sacred purpose. While contributing to AT&T, to the business, at the same time builds me up as a better leader. And how can I use all that investment to help other people as well? So it’s just been really integral. So it’s not like your calling, your career, and your community in three different sectors and compartmentalized, but really it’s an integral life. All of that kind of comes together for God’s glory.

Darrell Bock
Now, we have microphones, as is our custom. So if you have questions for Elaine, do come to the microphones and ask. Let me ask you another question. And that is, are you a manager of people? In other words, how many people do you manage at your work?

Elaine Kung: So I manage a small team directly. But I have a large kind of cross-functional team because of multi-organization partnered together. In fact, another very important area that we build good performance at work and your leadership recognize your strength. So most recently I was pulled from my regular job to put into a burning platform, a very serious project need. Because my leadership recognized my strength that could be best used for that project. And with that, I am able to really set up what’s called a war room, to really execute a serious set of initiative and priorities across multiple organizations. So that’s a large team to lead them.

Darrell Bock
Okay. so what challenges do you find being in the workplace as a woman? And I’ll tell you why I ask this question. One of the churches that I’m involved with has done a series on places and spaces that people find themselves in. And in the midst of doing the series with the animation and everything, the two roles that women were given were wife and daughter. And I thought of you. I thought of, well, here’s Elaine. She’s in the workplace. So what would you communicate particularly to pastors and to men about understanding what it is to be a woman in the workplace?
Elaine Kung
Sure. So I’m definitely a wife. A very blessed wife with 31 years. And I am a mother of two children. And for me as an engineer back in the eighties, again, before its time, and being Asian in particular, that’s additional kind of a challenge for me. And with a baby face and young looking and short Asian woman, engineer in a very white dominant, male dominant environment, it wasn’t easy. So I’ve gone through many challenges. And I would convey to pastors to really give full support to us women in the workplace as much as, or perhaps even more, than to the men. Because, you know, we all wear multiple hats. Right? As much as we work full-time, perhaps harder and longer hours than the men, because we always are expected quite a bit. At the same time we have home duties. Right? The cooking, which I enjoy, the cleaning, and taking care of the children. So it’s a lot that we juggle. So I encourage the pastors and all of your future pastors and ministers to really give that extra support for the women in the workplace.

And I am very proud to say I think women, as you mentioned about people relationship – and not to be stereotype or anything, I think women are better at dealing with people relationships than men in general. So I think we are naturally good leaders that way. [Laughter] Just like the women’s conference, which I’m glad that I was speaking at last year too. Women, it’s all about influence. So that’s what leader is; to influence others.

Darrell Bock
So what does your job actually involve? What do you do from day to day?
Elaine Kung
So day to day has been very intense. For the last two-and-a-half months since my leadership put me into this war room, I am thankful to say that after I got involved, we were able to triple the volume of product that we were able to deliver from one month to another. And I orchestrate a lot of issue resolution in terms of a reactive solving problems. At the same time identify what are some root cause and how can we have preventive and proactive solution to avoid those problems. So it’s been a very exciting journey.
Darrell Bock
And how much pressure is there on you for – and this is general in the workplace, particularly for people involved in sales – how much pressure is there on you to make sure the product gets sold? Because you do marketing, right?
Elaine Kung
Product delivery.
Darrell Bock
Product delivery, okay. And so do you work under that kind of pressure?

Elaine Kung: Very much so.

Darrell Bock
Are there volume expectations and that kind of thing?
Elaine Kung
For sure. So there is a high bar that’s being set for the business. This is a leading-edge product for AT&T. And in fact as we speak, these next few days you’ll see at least five or six press releases about Flexware. You can look it up. So it’s a lot of pressure. A lot of attention, all the way up to the chairman. Weekly review on how we are doing. So I lead this war room with multiple organizations coming together; how to orchestrate and lead and motivate and mobilize the team to deliver. So a lot of pressure. And I have to admit, I am quite a bit of a workaholic. And yet at the same time I do try to balance with my family and the ministry. And there are evening hours and weekend hours that will have to fight some fire drills and deliver for the customer. So it’s a lot of pressure.
Darrell Bock
I know you are also, as we’ve mentioned, involved in Northwest. What do you do there? I got a little bit of a hint about what you do, but what do you at Northwest?
Elaine Kung
So other than the workplace ministry, I am also a Stephen minister that we care for the needy one-on-one. Both my husband and I were trained as Stephen minister when we were back in New Jersey. And I am also a mentor for a small group of young women, young mothers. And just like to deal with life and share life together. And I also participated with missions team. So another area I do is coaching a lot of young people, speaking at universities like UT Dallas and SMU locally, and also at different states and overseas in China.

So we had a missions team over in China in the summer for a ten-day leadership camp for college students where we used leadership as a platform to teach character-based leadership at the request of the government, which is pretty amazing. And using that, whether it’s UT Dallas or SMU, then we can invite them to another ministry at the church and share more how the bible really equip us with many life skills. So it’s been an amazing platform using what we’ve done over the years to help share with other people.

Darrell Bock
Now, are there particular challenges that the young people are consistently coming to you with, questions that they have about, like, I say, particular issues that –
Elaine Kung
Yeah. So a lot of issues with searching for jobs. Right? Career development, which is one of my passions. And especially we minister to international students. They struggle a lot with soft skills, which the universities do not usually teach. So that’s why our platform is so attractive. People skills, leadership, how do you prepare for interview, life skills, finance management. So our fellowship, called Servant Heart, is very much tailored to that. It’s not a typical bible study, but it’s really centered around life skills.

And if any one of you are interested, it’s always conducted in English. We need coaches. Some of the DTS students actually have visited us, where we would have biweekly topics. Like last week it was on time management. And there are other topics; how do you find the perfect job, how do you find the perfect mate, how do you manage your finances? Very practical topics, but all based on the bible.

Darrell Bock
Very good. What do you hope to achieve with your ministry? What’s the ultimate goal that you have for Call to Work?
Elaine Kung
For Call to Work it’s really to equip leaders to really share this vision and encourage workers, whether you’re managers or employees, to take Jesus to work and really thank God it’s Monday. How do you experience that every day? To be a blessing and receive blessings from God. And I just cannot imagine a day going to work, or any day that I live, without involving and engaging and inviting Jesus and letting Him show up in every aspect of my life. And also expand our ministry network. Not just our own little corner of Call to Work, but really partnering with other ministries so that we can all join forces to advance God’s kingdom in the workplace.
Darrell Bock
Now, you mentioned that you came as a refugee from Hong Kong to the United States. And did you come to the Lord at college or was it –
Elaine Kung
At college.
Darrell Bock
And how did that happen?
Elaine Kung
Wow. So I was born as a, you can tell, a high achiever, type A. I believe everything, you reap what you sow. You’ve got to put in your effort to reap your results. So I really found believing in a god as more like a fiction and a fairy tale. As much as my parents put me in a Christian school, not because they are Christians, just because those schools are better. And I studied the bible for good grades and for rewards and awards. So I really always doubt the bible. And also, as you know, I studied engineering. So everything needs to be proven. QED; you’ve got to explain and demonstrate. And I cannot see God. He is not visible.

So what’s remarkable is that God allow a family to immigrate from Hong Kong to the United States. And if I were to be in Hong Kong, there was an article that talked about my story, talked about how I was like a frog inside a well. Hong Kong is very crowded. And Dr. Bock, you’ve been there. You know.

Darrell Bock
Mm-hmm.
Elaine Kung
So I was really very myopic, like a frog in the well. And yet when God orchestrated and allow us to come to the States, he really put me out of the well into the light and see how big this world is. And my friends in Hong Kong said they will pray for me. And I said, how could you pray for me? You don’t even know what it’s like in the United States. Unless the god that you pray to can exceed time and space. And that really was the ah-ha moment. I was so arrogant and so self-centered and so self-confident that I could do everything on my own. I realized that I cannot exceed time and space.
Darrell Bock
Interesting.
Elaine Kung
But God can. And that really opened my eyes. And God really showed me how I was so limited. I was such a troublemaker. And I can tell you stories of my troublemaking days. And then changing me to a peacemaker.
Darrell Bock
Well, we don’t want to ruin your reputation. [Laughter]
Elaine Kung
That’s okay. It’s all God.
Audience Member
I was wondering if you ever had any situations in the workplace where your workplace values and maybe what your company was aiming for conflicted with your faith, and how you navigated that.
Elaine Kung
For sure. There are many occasions like that. And it’s not easy. So we are asked, for example, we are going through a lot of reorganizations and changes right now. And it’s very hard to tell people that they are being let go. And the most important is to take care of the people. Because really it’s all about the people. Without people, you cannot deliver anything. So there are times that we could be asked to make some very difficult decisions. But in general I have to say AT&T is a top-notch, ethical company. We have very strong code of conduct and very strong in integrity. So it’s really not as challenged in making unethical decisions. Not much of that really. But really more dealing with people, difficult issues, and telling people that they need to improve, areas that they need to work on. And that’s also good leadership. Right? How can we give feedback that would build people up.
Darrell Bock
So that’s actually a key part of management, isn’t it?
Elaine Kung
Yes.
Darrell Bock
Is getting people to grow and improve. So I have – well, there’s another question. So I’ll save mine. Go ahead.
Audience Member
My mother owns her own company in Bryan, Texas. And as her son, I would love for Jesus to be an even larger part of her comp. And so how does your ministry meet companies where they are at to kind of create this work culture in which Jesus is the key, integral part?
Elaine Kung
That’s awesome. In fact, one of the ministry I am on the board with is about to launch character-based leadership resources for corporations and really targeting small business like your mom’s. so we could help offer resources to them, and we are talking about webinars. How can they really integrate the value into running the business? As you know very well, Chick-fil-A is an example, In-N-Out, and the many business that really operate in the principle of the bible and how it got multiplied and blessed using that value. So we would love to help. Thank you for that question.
Darrell Bock
So I was going to ask you in managing people, how do you deliver challenging news? What does that involve?
Elaine Kung
So one of my favorite topics that I speak on is effective communication. And that takes a lot of skill. First of all, when you have to deliver difficult news, it’s very important to have strong relationship first. Because everything builds on the foundation of having a good relationship. When you have a good relationship, any news that you deliver, it’s easier. Especially bad news. So when we have to deliver bad news, we find a way to build them up. And at the end you have to think about what’s in it for them and think from their perspective. Not so much from my perspective, right? So how is this communication, how is this news going to help them to be better?

So as many of you probably heard about a sandwich skill, right? You start with something that they’re really good at, encouraging them. I really like how you are very committed and really focused in delivering this project. And – and don’t eve use the word but, because but negates everything else you said.

And I see that there is an opportunity for you to focus. Instead of doing too many things and spreading yourself thin, but focus on and digging deeper to follow through so that you don’t drop the ball. And I think you’re going to be even a better project manager. And rev it up with another positive assurance and affirmative statement, as an example. But think for their perspective.

And that’s what we as Christians are so empowered and enabled. And that’s what servant leader of integrity is all about, where it’s not about me, myself, and I; it’s about others. It’s others-centered leadership and management style.

Darrell Bock
Yea, ma’am.
Audience Member
So I was raised by a woman CFO, so I love hearing you speak and I love hearing all the things you’ve done in your career. What would you say – a lot of my friends from college aren’t believers and they are rising women in the workplace. What would you say to those women that receive more dignity in the workplace than they do in the church? And when they show up to the church, they aren’t given the same level of value, their intelligence isn’t recognized, their leadership isn’t recognized. And for me, my identity is already in Christ. And so when I hear those attacks, I have this foundation. But what would you say to women that are trying to seek Him out and don’t already have that?

Elaine Kung: Yes. I love that question. As I mentioned earlier, your calling, your community, and your career is not a three-piece pizza slice in a pizza, but it’s integrated. And I have a slide to show all these three circles merging. So our identity is defined in Christ. And at the same time as we develop our career based on our passion and our calling, all that we earn and the dignity and the contributions and the skills that you build up, I encourage us to apply them in the ministry. Not for the sake of seeking approval, but for the sake of really using your skills. And I do that with my church ministry. Over the years we’ve taught children, teenagers. Now with young adults. And that’s where the integration comes in. You don’t shift gears from one setting to another; you live an integrated life. And that way your value, your contribution, your talent, our time, talent, and treasure, are fully used in living John 10:10; an abundant life. At work, in the church ministry, or in the community. Does that make sense?

Audience Member
Yes, thank you.
Elaine Kung
You’re welcome.
Darrell Bock
Yeah. It’s an important question. We interviewed a whole series of millennial women about a year ago, right after the election. And spent two-and-a-half hours with them on a Sunday afternoon, Bill Hendricks and I. And I asked them what two podcasts could we do for you, when we were all done. And one was on infertility. And I thanked them, because I said I never would have thought of that. And then the second one was to ask the question why should a woman participate in a church when she is able to function one way in the workplace and seems to be limited in the way she functions in the church?

And part of what we tried to say in response to that was there are all kinds of opportunities for women in the church.

Elaine Kung
Yes. Yes.
Darrell Bock
But the church also needs to be affirming about those opportunities as well.
Elaine Kung
Exactly. Exactly. I just couldn’t emphasize enough; it’s not about sacred and secular, but it’s really integral. Because we have so much training and experience from work; getting organized, executing and working with people. Those are valuable in the church ministry. It’s really helping to advance the kingdom. And all that is neutral, but when you put it in God’s hands, it just becomes such a powerful instrument.
Darrell Bock
Mm-hmm. Next.
Audience Member
I sold my manufacturing facility to come to Dallas. And one thing I noticed that tends to cross the business owner, manager, to a pastor, is some isolation feeling because of the responsibilities. Can you speak a little bit to some mentoring situations that maybe mentored you in the beginning that have helped you in your process of –
Elaine Kung
in terms of the importance of mentoring –
Audience Member
Yeah. Maybe the point that you were mentored from others is where I’m –
Elaine Kung
Oh yeah, definitely. So I really benefit from having many mentors, both at work and in the ministry. And I speak a lot about mentoring and I mentor many other young professionals and young parents. So I think mentoring is powerful because we are sharing life together, and we are hoping to share lessons and mistakes that we’ve made that you won’t have to make. So I’ve learned from my mentors from all perspective.

And I came up with an acronym called CRIMPS. I’m a big fan of acronyms when you get to know me. CRIMPS. So C is a connector; someone who can connect you with some various opportunity, a connector. R is a relator; someone who would relate and also be a realist and tell you like it is and not sugarcoating. So that’s another aspect of a mentoring relationship. And the I is the industry insider; what is the next big thing, what’s the killer app, to tell you where to go next. And then M is a typical mentor who really is a great sounding board and sharing experience ahead of you that you might not have come across yet. And then P, it’s a partner that you partner with a lot of your peers. And then S is some sponsor, like an advocate who has got a big picture a few levels higher than you.

So I am thankful to have a range of that network. And I call that kind of a circle of trust and that circle of influence that impact my life from both a manager leadership perspective, and also as a mother and as a wife. And I am able to kind of return and give back to other people in those similar roles as well.

Darrell Bock
In thinking about mentoring, do you seek out mentees or do mentees seek out you? Which tends to happen?
Elaine Kung
Both. In both cases. There are some that are more structured mentoring programs at work, that they would assign us to a group of mentees. And there are some that are impromptu. Whenever I get to speak, people like to follow up from conferences and events, and then we’ll form a mentoring relationship. And I’ve taken the class from Professor Susan on organic mentoring. Right? So there is also the organic, evolving relationship. And there are all forms of mentoring. It’s not fixed to say oh, you have to meet once every month. So it’s depending on the program and based on need.
Darrell Bock
So there are mentor programs in your –
Elaine Kung
Company.
Darrell Bock
In your company?

Elaine Kung: Yes, many.

Darrell Bock
How do those work?
Elaine Kung
So there are many circles. I mentioned employee resource group. So there are many sponsored by the ERG. There are also some sponsored by a certain organization. And they would match a senior leader with the mentees who would sign up based on interest. I am also active in some nonprofit organization like Chinese Institute of Engineers. We have mentoring program as well and do kind of a matching based on what the mentees are looking for and what the mentors want to offer.
Darrell Bock
So in your company, the people who want to be mentored sign up for a mentee program; is that how it works?
Elaine Kung
Yes, yes. So it’s a very organized, structured program.
Darrell Bock
Because what I’m getting at is sometimes I think people want a mentor, but they don’t take the initiative to get a mentor, if I can say it that way.
Elaine Kung
Right. That’s right. So we’ll help them, facilitating that and offering to make it easier. And it’s probably more difficult to seek out someone to be your mentor. It takes a lot of courage. But when we have a program like that, it’s easier, more enticing. So people can just easily sign up and we’ll match them. So we’ve done mentoring circle where there is one mentor to a few as a circle. Or there is also one-on-one mentoring. So AT&T is very big on mentoring.
Darrell Bock
Interesting. Okay. Well, Elaine, I want to thank you for – oh, go ahead. Yes, go ahead.
Audience Member
Hi, Elaine. Encouraged to see you here, you are speaking at DTS. Actually as Asian people, I am so encouraged to see God put you in such a high position in AT&T. And also more important is you are so influential and Christian – Christian here. So my question is, I wanted to ask this question for young professionals in our fellowship, in our church. Because I know many of them, they are struggling, just struggling in their career. So my question is, what is your – some suggestion and advice for young Christians who are working in America? Especially our Asian people or Chinese people, Chinese Christians. Thank you.
Elaine Kung
Thank you. We go to the same ministry and prayer meetings. So good to see you as well. And all that I shared in the last 40 minutes, it’s about taking Jesus to work and integrating your faith in your daily life. Including work, and especially for work. And I just cannot tell you how many times I experienced God showing up. Just amazing. It seemed like very simple, who I scheduled a meeting with and when do I meet with who. When you look back, God’s hands is all over our workplace as long as we allow Him to be part of our daily life. And really turn up the spiritual antenna and sense God’s presence with us.

So my encouragement and challenge to the young professionals, it’s be aware and take Jesus to work. And leave that empty chair for Him and remind Him. And every morning as I start work, I have that prayer; a very simple prayer, which is on our website. To pray for yourself, your work with Christ, and pray for your boss, pray for your customers you work with, and pray for your people.

Darrell Bock
So it’s not a job; it’s a ministry.
Elaine Kung
It’s a ministry. Absolutely. It’s not a job.
Darrell Bock
I’ll never forget the story – in fact, we had Steve Ramseur do what you’re doing with us now awhile ago. And he was talking about thinking about retiring. And his job was wearing him down. And then all of the sudden he realized that the 4,000 people he managed – megachurch – were his flock.
Elaine Kung
That’s right.
Darrell Bock
And it changed his whole approach to his ministry and to the way he went about his work.
Elaine Kung
That’s right. It’s all about people business. God is in the people business. And we are privileged to do that, whether it’s in a work setting, in a ministry setting, or in the community. It’s all about building up people.
Darrell Bock
And the church is in a position to come alongside people in the pew who face this every day and encourage them in the midst of that.
Elaine Kung
That’s right. And that’s really my challenge to you, all future ministers and pastors; because there with your congregation. Understand their need. Go into their workplace and support them and provide them resources and really integrate the workplace ministry not as a separate ministry, but across the fabric of the church ministry. How can that be included in every conversation? In the message, in the pulpit, in the activities, in the fellowship.
Darrell Bock
I sometimes wonder when churches talk about, well, we need this evangelism program or this outreach program. And I go, God has already designed an outreach program.
Elaine Kung
In the workplace.
Darrell Bock
It’s in the workplace. It’s where people already are. They’re already out and about. And so if you equip them for that role, you have your outreach program. You don’t have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to get there, because God has already woven it into the we live.
Elaine Kung
Placed us. So we’ll say the workplace is the larges mission field with the most largest number of missionaries, right? While we say that, I do want to emphasize again not just about being a blessing and sharing the gospel, but be sure to experience God and receive blessing. Because He wants to bless you in the workplace. He wants to meet you where you are. And He has met me at every single situation. There was a year that I – as much as I love work and thank God it’s Monday, there was a year there was a Sunday Night Blue challenge. I cried every Sunday night, going to work on Monday because of certain challenges. And yet God saw me through. So be sure to see the workplace not a mission field only, but really also a training ground. That God wants to bless you, equip you, and use you in a big way.
Darrell Bock
Well, let’s thank Elaine for being here.

And I’ll close this in a word of prayer.

Father, we do thank you for just the opportunity to reflect on the way You have designed our lives. And that the nine to five space, Monday to Friday is one of the aspects of that design. In fact, it’s a big aspect of that design. And our prayer is that as we think about that as church leaders and as we think about equipping people for the calling that You have given to many who sit in the pew from week to week, that we would be sensitive to and enabled to minister to people in such a way that they are equipped not just to serve within the four walls and the programs of the church, but they are equipped to live out their Christian lives in ways that are effective and that will impact the communities in which you have placed them. And we thank You for Elaine. We pray for her ministry and ask that You would be with her as she works with Call to Work, and to be with her at her work at AT&T. We thank her for taking the time to be with us and we thank You for the many ways in which You bless us. Be with us now and the rest of this day. In Jesus’ name we ask it. Amen.

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