MEET OUR PASTOR
Growing up, I only thought about becoming a local church pastor without realizing the different ministry settings I could choose. I joined the Korean Army for military duty and spent two years of service in the 8th U.S. Army in Korea. It was an eye-opening experience for me to explore the military chaplaincy because I had never thought of it as a ministry field. I was amazed to see how chaplains of different denominations harmoniously support each other in caring for service members regardless of their faith traditions. I felt like I found a place I wanted to be part of, unlike the exclusive tendency of mainline Christian culture in which I grew up. Moreover, the unique environment of the military—where there is greater urgency and need for chaplains’ ministry in pivotal moments of soldiers’ lives—made me explore God’s call beyond the local church ministry. I decided to be a chaplain in the military where I can help people in military settings discover God’s love and grace.
As I became a military chaplain and now serve as an Air Force Reserve chaplain, I have learned that the role of the chaplain is not solely to provide religious service to military members. Our military is in a crisis of losing its members to suicide, and the chaplain’s role in counseling and suicide prevention is urgently required. This is quite a different picture than I expected as a chaplain. I feel humbled and I tremble every time I counsel with military members who need to find the purpose of their lives with so little I could offer for their huge concern. It is a significant ministry in which I believe God is shaping me to serve people with the Spirit’s help.
My hospital chaplaincy experiences also reinforced my call to be in the ministry. I felt privileged to bring God’s presence to people through my visits and prayers to those who are weak and marginalized. I have learned how privileged I am to be with people in their pivotal moments. Staying with the last moments of people’s lives and offering prayers in their life-threatening situations were sacred moments that God allowed me. I truly felt blessed to serve people through God’s ministry. I found the word “life-giving” which is the meaning of life that I pursue as I serve God.
Of course, the congregational ministry taught me how to become the church, the body of Christ, in this world. Every time the church goes out and engages with people's lives, I know that God uses us to touch other people's lives as we become the channel of God's blessing and love for people around us. I see that there is so much we need to do as God's people to bring light and hope to those going through tough times.
I am excited to join your amazing ministries at Oak Grove UMC. I believe that the vitality of the church relies heavily on community engagement as we are called to be the body of Christ in this world. I would love to see and learn how our church shines in the community representing God's boundless love towards all people. This is a huge motivation for me to continue the ministry and to find signs of hope in this challenging time. Thank you for inviting me to be part of your church family. I will be thrilled to know each one of you better.
Pastor Dylan S. Hyun