At his core, Jerry “Bear” Hyder is a storyteller of the faith that was a game changer in his life. Humor, encouragement and hope is woven through all he does – including his time as an educator, counselor, pastor and volunteer hospital chaplain.
Since 1972, ministry that has led him all over the Southeast, Hyder has found a richness in serving people from birth to the latter years of their life. The roots of his ministry goes back to North Carolina at First Baptist Hendersonville and Mud Creek Baptist Church, primarily focusing on ministering to teens in the area, along with providing instruction at Fruitland Bible College. For over 26 years, he served on the staff at First Baptist Sevierville, Tennessee in roles serving the education and children’s ministry, discipleship efforts, singles ministry, pastoral care and senior adult community. Caring for people in both times of need and celebration are closest to his heart, and his season at FBC Sevierville allowed him to regularly minister at area hospitals, with grieving families and those going through challenging times. Among the programs Hyder has administered through his tenure in Tennessee, his most joyful marks can be seen in the Grief Share Class he helped lead, bible studies and the marriage retreats he leads with shared guidance from his wife of over 30 years. Outside of his humorous anecdotes, he might be the most well-known officiant in the area, dedicating everything from a discount store to a BBQ chicken dinner.
Seeking adventure, Hyder values being in the moment, leading him to the gates of Graceland amongst Elvis Army Friends Reunion Goers to the chase of a skunk with a Lysol can as a means of protecting his daughter’s house cat. He is happiest hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park or picking a dueling Taylor Acoustic and Blue Bass guitars. Hyder has been mistaken for a college football coach, a bouncer, an emergency room doctor, a lot of people’s cousins and an accidental pioneer in pyrotechnics from his stint as an electric guitar player during a rain storm in the 1960’s – but after all, it’s a humorous reminder that God gives all of us a good story worth sharing.
May all who visit here find laughs, inspiration and the strength to grin and bear it.
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