By Seth Williams
June 23, 2014
"If my kids love Jesus, and love each other, they're going to change the world."
I met Jung Park years ago when we worked together in the design department at North Coast Calvary Chapel in Carlsbad, California. We sat next to each other and grew close over the years. We'd chat about the NBA every morning as we made a couple cups of coffee. We would occasionally take work breaks to shoot hoops in the church gym. Jung is a man that inspires me to lead, father, and love my family with a strong, gentle heart. He is incredibly gifted as a worship leader and designer, but he'd never tell you that. His humbleness is attractive. And his love is raw and plentiful. It was an absolute pleasure to sit down with Jung over a Skype video chat recently and catch up and learn more about him as a friend, husband, father, and follower of Jesus. He lives in San Diego with his wife, Misty, and four boys, Drew, Christian, Elliott, and Benji.
What's your favorite album of all time?
Holy smokes! That's a pretty unfair question, man. Jimmy Eat World's Clarity record. It still does something to me. But there are so many records even before that though that still do things that kind of rock the soul. The quality of the songs, even the quality of the production, on all fronts, gets me.
What's your favorite film of all time?
Oh wow. I can confidently say Lost in Translation. Bill Murray, I think all of his follies just kind of remind me of how human we are, you know. It's a great story. There's a great human spirit element in that film and as dark and strange as the ending felt, I think there's a lot of redemption in it also.
I know you're an NBA and Lakers fan, so what do you want the Lakers to do next year, in terms of getting better as a team?
Dude, this could possibly take up the whole interview (laughs). We're the only team in the league right now without a coach. That's kind of a big deal. You know, the reports are saying that we're waiting for some of the big names to hit free agency July 1st before we even hire a coach. I know that Byron Scott is our frontrunner right now. That's what the reports are saying. I'm not super concerned with winning next season. I think the likelihood of that is pretty low, or even the next two, because we just gave Kobe Bryant half of our salary cap. But my hope is that we just have a plan, that we can start attracting some free agents, just starting to build through the draft, and do it slowly. I think that's always a good way to go. (pauses) Or we'll take Kevin Durant in 2016. It'll be alright. Take Lebron this year, and Melo. Maybe Kevin Love next year. Yeah, no big deal. (laughs)
Man, being a Cavs fan, the Lakers always scare me, because you guys are definitely the attractive place to go. I feel like you're going to steal all those guys from us.
Kyrie...we'll take him next season. (laughs)
Yeah, don't do that. Alright, so what's the most important part of your life?
You know, it's broad, but it's simple, man. For me it's simply Jesus and how much of Jesus I can infuse into my world, my environment, my relationships, especially my family.
How does your faith in Jesus define who you are...as a man, as a person, as a husband, and father?
I think there's a lot of freedom knowing that life is hard, and it's a bumpy road sometimes. And gosh, sometimes as a father and as a husband I feel super lost. And you can always turn to God. There's a hope and you don't always have the answers right away but there's this book called the Bible that really fires me up and it gives me some truth and gives me some hope. It helps me through it all.
And when it comes to some of your passions, I know you love music and design among other things...has having four boys inspired you in any way creatively?
You know man, this is a tough question. It's tough in that I've been trying to unpack how tough it is. As a creative person, the journey of getting married and then having children really forces you to use your time wisely. At no point would I ever want to neglect my love for my family, but then there have been those moments where, I know so many other people, like myself, have said, do I have time to do these things anymore, you know. And what I've learned through the process is if I don't do those things, I'll never be the father or the husband that I'm supposed to be, because that's who I am, and that's who God created me to be. My family needs to experience the real me. So, with that said, sometimes you have to be disciplined and set aside time to be creative throughout the day, especially with four boys who want your time, and I want to be with them. I've learned that you go through some dry spells. It just happens, but I try to be as creative as possible throughout the day, whether it's a car ride or a run on the beach. Whatever it is, those are those moments, and then I come home, put them to bed, and then I go to work. But I'm inspired in unique ways because of them. I'm inspired to try to make a difference. I'm inspired to try to make this world better. I'm inspired to show them what creativity could be. Not necessarily how to do it, or what it is that they need to do, but more of how to be creative, and how to be free, and have that perspective.
How has being a father to four boys challenged, strengthened, and grown your faith?
I think dudes are just kind of born like cowboys. We kind of like to do our own thing. I probably have a little more of that in me than others. I can very easily crawl into my own space and create and be happy there. But there are these different areas of my life that I never knew existed till I had children. The things I care about are different now that my eyes are opened to things that I never had even thought of wanting to experience. I appreciate them and God so much more because my world was small before them. And all of a sudden, four children later, your world is huge, but it's also so focused. So it really helps you to come up with ways to let your child know how much you love them. Because there are so many other things that want them to believe that they love them just as much, but it's not true.
You do a great job of that, man. From the time I've spent around you, I've always been inspired by the way you father. I talk to Kelly from time to time about the gentle, yet strong leadership you have with your sons.
Thanks man. It's not easy. Sometimes you just have to wrestle and tackle them to the ground. You can't really do that with girls as often, or at all, I don't know (laughs). I tell you what...just a couple body slams and you make them tap out a couple times (laughs). No, no. It's so much different with boys because you can help get that energy out through that physical, and all of a sudden they're willing to talk. There's a bond that's been created there. It's really cool.
Have you been writing any music lately?
Yeah, I have been. I've been at it. I've been doing this pretty awesome thing lately. I've been scoring for video games. It's been a pretty cool adventure. Scoring is something that I've always wanted to get into. I always thought film would be the ultimate for me, and games are kind of similar. It's been a cool ride. I think I'm twenty games into it now.
How do you see your faith play into your work, with music and design?
That one's always been an interesting one. That's always been a battle. I always wake up thankful. I don't know if you can hear my kids in the background (laughs). They're my two youngest. A four year old voice is pretty special. It's like one volume. So, how do I see my faith play into my work? It's an important thing, I think, for followers of Christ to investigate because I don't think God has called us to say that there's one way to do it. It's not supposed to be everything you do needs to have the word Jesus, like in a song I write. There are some who do that, and do that really well, and it's beautiful. And then there are others who live as lights in the other cultures in the real world. And they're a light. And I think that's another way. And I think that's beautiful. And I think God loves that. So, I think it's kind of finding what you were made for and what you were created to do, and in the end I think it's all for the purpose of the kingdom here on earth.
What's your greatest fear as a father?
My greatest fear in life, I think, was being a father actually. No, I mean, we can wake up sometimes just terrified of what this world has to offer them, but I think my biggest fear is that I would not be able to show them and teach them the ways before the world does. I try to stay as proactive as possible. I'll tell my older boys all the time, "hey, if you have any questions about anything, please let me be the one to answer them before your friends or your friends' friends, because I will give you an honest answer, I promise." That's my biggest fear, that someone else would give my kids answers.
What's your greatest dream as a father?
Man, that has changed quite a bit. I think if you were going to be defining what dad of the year looks like, I think that used to look a lot different for me. Maybe dad of the year before was the one who was involved in everything and was number one in every sport that their kid played and coached everything. But now, the dream is that my wife and I can raise children who love others and love the Lord. The dream is simple. It's not like, I want to raise kids who will be president or change the world. If they love Jesus and love each other, they're going to change the world. That's the equal sign. Change the world.
What challenges your faith the most?
(Jung laughs as his son, Christian, comes to the door) Sorry, Christian's at the door. You know what he just asked me? He came out and said, "Do you have a dowel or something?" (laughs) They're building swords and stuff like that out of duct tape. It's cool. I don't even remember the question. I'm sorry man. Being a creative person...that's a really weird label, even to put on myself...but there are so many ups and downs to creativity. You're always kind of a slave to your own head and your own heart, and you're always wondering if what you're doing is good enough. So what challenges me the most is balancing expectation of what I'm creating versus just having an identity in Christ. So where do I land when I'm trying to create these things and I'm saying, God, I want to do it for you, but sometimes I don't land where I was hoping it would land, or expecting it to land. So the challenge is to not get discouraged, and also in that process to be able to maintain having Christ in the things that I do. Because you can stray easily and try to be creative and do well and be excellent and write your Creator out of the picture as you're creating. That's definitely the challenge. Sometimes you fall on your face.
How do you find time to spend with God? I feel like that's something that I'm constantly challenged on, and I only have one kid. Between work and sleep and time with your wife and kids, it's so difficult. So what's that look like for you?
I don't know what this sleep thing is you're describing (laughs). I just have to set time aside, just like I would set time aside to do anything. I think it's really romanticizing who I am if I say, "I just wake up and and the first thing I think of is God's love." I wish I was like that but I know that I'm not. So, if I have a busy day ahead of me, I know I have to portion a part of my day out for that. Even if it means I'm going to miss something for the kids for a moment, or spending time with my wife will get cut shorter, but I know that those things will be better because of that moment that I've cut out to spend with God. But again, it's one of those things, whether it's driving in the car and having that perspective of, gosh, the air in my face right now feels so good, and thank you. You know, Brother Lawrence and Augustine both said, "where would I be without the presence of God." They talked about how lonely it would be not to be able to talk to God throughout the day. So, I try to talk to God throughout the day, even if it's just a conversation and not a formal prayer. Those are the ways.
What kind of legacy do you want to leave for your kids?
A big part of what has grown me in recent years in music is spending time as a worship leader, and that helps me to take the focus off the music and put more focus on the people, and having this desire to help maintain soul care. So, I just want my children and everyone in my family...my wife wants this as well...we want to make sure that our children one day will do the things that matter to them, that they'll follow their hearts. But we're going to give them enough guidance and help them so that their heart is always going to be Jesus. So what warms my heart at night is when my Elliot is running down the stairs with his pajamas on holding a Bible saying, "Can we read this right now?" And that's just a sign that his heart is going in that direction. So if he follows his heart as we're helping him develop that, later on in life if he follows his heart, his heart is just going to bleed Jesus to this world. And that's the legacy. That's what we want. Freedom, definitely. Teach them that there's freedom in Christ. Teach them that they need to follow their hearts. Just fill their hearts with God and love, grace, mercy, and then they'll just bleed that out to the world. It's going to be beautiful. Hopefully.
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