Paul Cho (M.Div. 2017) sees music as his ministry. “I feel like my calling is to do praise and worship ministry for the Asian community and to bring new styles and genres of worship to the Korean church,” he said.
“In the future I see myself directing a worship team, planning, recruiting and leading the worship. I would love to see in the Asian-American churches a praise team that consists of drums, guitar, keyboard, orchestra and choir in one big worship service,” Cho said.
Not yet 30, he has already experienced 16 years of music ministry in his father’s former church, New Hyde Park Korean United Methodist Church, in Long Island, New York. His parents, the Revs. Young Chuel Cho and Susanna Kim Cho are pastors and missionaries.
“They are in Russia,” he says. “My mother is the head pastor in Moscow UMC while my father is traveling around Russia with the bishop of Moscow training more pastors and seminarians.”
Paul, who was born in Flushing, New York, and grew up in Westchester, has also lived in Russia and Korea.
His siblings are also pastors and Wesley alums.
“My oldest brother, Daniel, graduated from Wesley in 2009, and he is an ordained English ministry pastor at First United Methodist Church in Flushing, New York,” he said.
“My second brother, John, graduated from Wesley in 2013. He serves at Bible Korean United Methodist Church in Dix Hills, New York, as the pastor for youth, young adults and college students in the surrounding area,” he said.
“When I was younger, I pretty much lived in the church,” Cho says. “I’ve led praise and have been on praise teams in church, for retreats and praise nights since I was in seventh grade.”
Cho plays multiple instruments: drums, guitar, and bass. Although self-taught for three years, he credits his former youth pastor, Samuel Oh, for more formal training. “He taught me things little by little, here and there, while we served together for 13 years.”
Cho currently serves as a part-time praise and worship pastor for the youth ministry called OMEGA at the Korean United Methodist Church of Greater Washington in McLean, Virginia. “I’m in charge of leading praise, training praise leaders and directing the multi-media.”
He earned a Bachelors degree from SUNY Buffalo. Next, Cho attended New York Theological Seminary while working as a pastor at Great Neck, New York, Korean United Methodist Church. His service there convinced him of his call to music ministry.
Studying at Wesley has been a welcome change. “I didn’t have a lot of time to interact with my classmates before,” he explains.
“Here at Wesley, everyone from different backgrounds and beliefs are coming together and really discerning our lives as Christians. I’m glad I changed because Wesley is really helping all of us think about our own calling and ministry. It’s really amazing,” he said.
Cho is a grateful recipient of the transgenerational scholarship for Korean Americans. He says, “The scholarship has made a huge difference for me. When I have to think about money, I have a difficult time learning and studying. I can fully focus on school work and really dig deep.”
When he fulfills his required three years of service after he graduates, which is part of the scholarship agreement, his purpose is clear. “I would like to have a full-time job that will enable me to invest in the future of praise and worship ministry of the church.”