God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things
Dr Miyon Chung is Lecturer in Christian Thought at Morling College in Sydney. She is passionate about joining with God as he renews and grows the churches of the Asia-Pacific, including launching his church into mission.
Miyon was born in Seoul, South Korea, where she finished her elementary school education. She was an ordinary, happy kid and didn’t know yet that God was preparing her to serve him in extraordinary ways.
“I knew the first day … that I was in the right place, and I cried.” – Miyon Chung
Miyon Chung grew up with a wonderful and supportive Christian family. Miyon’s grandmothers were both Christians and, being a close family, they had a strong influence on Miyon as she grew up. Miyon immigrated from South Korea to the United States with her parents and three brothers at a young age. She had an experience of God’s love in her late teens, and decided to follow Jesus.
Her desire to serve God lead her to receiving her PhD in Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. During her doctoral studies, Miyon taught at Southwestern Seminary, Dallas Korean Seminary, and Guatemala Baptist Seminary. Since doing her PhD, Miyon’s main teaching responsibilities have been with Torch Trinity Graduate University in South Korea (2002 to 2013) and Morling College in Sydney (2013 to present).
Developing a passion for teaching and mission
Enrolling in Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Social Work degree, Miyon had an epiphany. She recalls, “I knew the first day I was in the chapel service at Southwestern that I was in the right place, and I cried.” She made a decision to go through to a PhD in theology, to serve God on the mission field.
From that moment, Miyon says, God gave her numerous opportunities to serve. She served in many churches and started teaching. Two semesters into her PhD studies, Miyon was offered a teaching fellowship at Southwestern Seminary.
Miyon was the first Asian-American and minority person in Southwestern’s 100-year history to teach theology. This was challenging at times, as racial and gender discrimination was part of her journey. Miyon says, “Sure it used to upset me, but I’ve never felt insecure in who I am, so I’m grateful for that. There was not a lot I could do about it, but I have no bitterness, only loving memories of my time there.”
Investing in a generation of leaders in the Asia-Pacific
Before long, Miyon was invited to teach at Torch Trinity Graduate University in Seoul, South Korea. At the time of the seminary’s foundation, its mission centre — Torch Mission Centre — committed to adopting one hundred of the least evangelised people groups. “This same missional calling was what eventually led me to come to Morling College in Sydney,” says Miyon.
When asked about her role at Morling, Miyon says, “You don’t have to be a certain type to feel accepted here. I’ve felt comfortable here from the beginning. I have a lot of respect for the faculty and staff.”
She adds philosophically, “Coming to Morling, I was initially in transitional mode, but now I have peace about staying longer. At the end of the day, I’m just a human trying to discern and obey God’s call. Often, I am slow, but I get there eventually. God is patient. Based on what he’s done so far, I have complete trust in him.”
“This (…) missional calling was what eventually led me to come to Morling College in Sydney.” – Miyon Chung
Miyon continues to be engaged in raising a generation of leaders throughout the Asia-Pacific. She is passionate about seeing women and men come to faith, get trained for mission and ministry, and work to transform lives, neighbourhoods, and nations.
During summer and winter breaks, Miyon travels to teach in Asian, African and American theological institutions. She is the chair of the Asia-Pacific Baptist Federation Theological Commission, and leads various ministries with Baptist World Alliance. Miyon also works with the Diaspora Track of the Lausanne Consultation on World Evangelism and the Global Diaspora Network.
Miyon’s passion is to see the church discover a deeper love for Jesus, and a fuller and more vibrant commitment to faith, prayer, Scripture, and witness.
She isn’t the kind of leader who will beat her own drum. But thousands of people across the globe (and especially the Asia-Pacific) have discovered mission and ministry and faith due to Miyon’s influence on their lives.
Graham Hill is Provost of Morling College, SydneyMore