Ed Choi was mentioned as part of the roster of new people to meet in the Lead Pastor Residency program from 2013.
By: Mars Hill Church
Posted: Dec 12, 2013
Meet Ed Choi, Lead Pastor Resident
Ed Choi, one of Mars Hill Church’s lead pastor residents, is a walking, talking example of grace. Despite his love for the San Francisco 49ers, Jesus still loves him.
“The Seahawks are looking great this year, but my favorite NFL team is the 49ers,” Choi said. “I have nothing against any of the teams in Seattle, but I’m loyal to my teams in Southern California.”
It all makes sense. Southern California represents Choi’s stomping grounds. Born in South Korea, his family came to America when he was five years old and settled in the sunny state of California. His parents were not Christians, but they did attend a Korean Reformed Church in order to connect with other Korean immigrants. At the age of eight, Choi was led to Christ by his Sunday school teacher.
In the years that followed, he developed a taste for football and Harley Davidson motorcycles. At the age of 17, between his junior and senior years of high school, he attended a summer Christian youth camp. It was there that God made it clear to him that he belonged in ministry. The teenaged Choi went to his youth pastor and prayed with him about the calling he sensed on his life. He then served as an intern at his church before attending Biola University, a Christian college in Southern California. He went on to earn his Master of Divinity degree from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary.
During this time, he served as a youth, college, and young adult pastor at various Korean churches. These early ministries helped Choi develop the ability to minister to people at every stage of their life.
Just after graduating in 1992, a friend introduced his cousin, Kathryn, to Choi and the two began dating. Two years later, they married.
“We have been married now for over 19 years,” said Choi. “I look forward to being with my awesome wife 'til death or when Jesus returns.”
Those 19 years have brought a lot of twists and turns, including four children, a number of opportunities for ministry, and a stint in the US Army.
Choi served as an army chaplain with the 1-26 Infantry Battalion in Iraq, a unit hit with more casualties then any other since the Vietnam War.
During his time as a chaplain, Choi read Pastor Mark Driscoll’s books and listened to his sermons. As he became more familiar with Mars Hill, he decided he wanted to be a part of what God was doing through it.
Choi’s last duty station was Joint Base Lewis-McChord, bringing the Choi family at last into the Seattle area. Choi applied for the Lead Pastor Resident program with Mars Hill and started serving the church.
“I have always understood that the calling to be a pastor is important, but Mars Hill does a great job in creating a culture for the people of Mars Hill to honor and love their pastors. It’s truly an honor and humbling to be a lead pastor resident.”