Faith and Work Summit Spotlight: Helen Kim and Integrating Theology of Work into a Child’s Worldview

The purpose of the Faith at Work Summit is to gather active participants and leaders in the faith at work movement from every industry sector to learn from each other and work together to extend Christ’s transforming presence in workplaces around the world. The 2018 Faith at Work Summit, held in Chicago at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare on October 11th-13th, is now open for registration! Early registration is now available at $239 per ticket, so be sure to purchase soon.

In anticipation of the upcoming Summit, I had the opportunity to interview Helen Kim, Communications and Development Associate at the Korean American Community Foundation in New York City and a Grant Writer for New Life Community Development Corporation. Helen has served in a variety of roles in the nonprofit sector and the church. She has contributed uniquely to the Faith and Work movement through her development of a curriculum designed to teach kids to see work through the lens of faith from a young age.

AK: What will you be addressing at the Faith at Work Summit this year?

HK: I will be talking about “Integrating Theology of Work into a Child’s Worldview.” Though we may often think of adults when we hear the word “work,” it is a subject that resonates with children as well. In serving adults and children in church, it is striking how much of the theological unlearning, learning and healing that is needed in adults stem from childhood. So much of the future adult is formed in the small child they once were. We can help reduce the unlearning needed around the sacred-secular divide we see in adult faith today by introducing the truth of “God in all things,” including work, early on.

Such a worldview can be taught in a Sunday School setting and as part of a Christian education program but is best reinforced by what is “caught” in the attitudes and responses of adults around a child. As part of the workshop, I’ll be sharing a children’s curriculum on faith and work with the hope that by seeing a theology of work presented in a way that is accessible for children, this resource and others shared will help springboard new ways to dialogue and approach “work” with children. The resulting integrated view of work and worship that is facilitated will help children live a faith that can appreciate the ordinary, see God in the everyday, and discover the holiness of their unique vocation as they grow.

AK: What inspires you about the Faith and Work movement today?

HK: Just three years ago when I was taking a class on Theology of Work, sermons addressing faith and work were uncommon and there were few resources addressing the subject. I rarely encountered the subject. It’s inspiring that in just a few years, “faith and work” is a topic I come across regularly in-person, in print and online. The movement has truly gained momentum and it is incredible to think of what can emerge from this rich pile of resources and networks: the transformative impact on the world as more of the church rediscovers “God-at-work” at work and future generations inherit a faith with less of a sacred-secular divide.

AK: What do you see as current challenges facing the Faith and Work movement?

HK: Though many more resources are being published and Faith and Work is being taught through organizations and churches across the nation, I am still seeing a gap between learning and integrating this theology among churchgoers. It’s a similar challenge that faces any aspect of knowing and following Jesus: integrating faith and work requires dialogue spaces that allow unique work application points to be processed. For the Faith and Work movement to realize its purpose, attention will need to be given across the church to creating greater opportunities to regularly converse around applying and integrating faith and work with fellow Christians – and with a growing number of followers of Jesus who understand what it means to integrate faith and work and can facilitate such conversations with others in this area.

AK: What are you looking forward to at the Faith at Work Summit?

HK: I am looking forward to being a part of a dynamic gathering addressing “putting faith to work at work” with special interest in hearing the challenges and growth shared across a variety of sectors, and learning from the experience and resources of fellow attendees. In my work at a foundation that seeks to strengthen economic security among immigrant communities in NYC, I am intrigued by the topics being presented in the Social Issues section. I look forward to walking away more informed and being able to better personally apply and resource others in the integration of faith and work.

You can find the curriculum Helen developed here: God’s Story of Work for Kids

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