Eugene Cho

You don’t have to be a celebrity _______ to be influential. Just be faithful.

How do you define a successful church?
How do we measure success as a pastor?

For that matter, how do we measure success in ______________?

As you read this post, I want to invite you to consider replacing ‘celebrity pastor‘ with ‘celebrity __________’.  Insert your area of profession or focus and consider the content of this post.

I’m come to realize that part of my calling as a pastor and leader is to be an encouragement to other pastors – but especially to those that don’t “measure up” to how we in the church subculture often directly or indirectly elevate stories of successful pastors – aka ‘celebrity pastors.’

This post isn’t a criticism of celebrity pastors. Hardly at all. Instead, it’s a post to accentuate the importance of all those who serve and lead in the church – but especially those pastors you’ll never hear of; Those that are not part of the preaching circuit; Those that don’t have publishing deals, etc.

I am not a successful pastor. I don’t pastor a mega-church or a large church. I don’t facilitate astronomical budgets, earn a huge salary, travel with huge entourages, fly on private jets, and have thousands upon thousands of sermon subscribers.

But nevertheless, I have influence.
We all do.

I’m simply trying to be faithful to the things, to the people, to the city, Read the rest of this entry »

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Why we should support #EndItMovement and why we must ask good, critical questions about fighting slavery.

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Like some of you, I’m sharing my support and partnership with #EndItMovement. It sickens me to even have such a day or movement for this purpose but such is the reality of our world. We can’t mince words: Slavery and Human Trafficking are evil.

But for those that don’t know about #EndItMovement, here’s a summation:

This February 27th, join us and other Freedom Fighters from around the world as we SHINE A LIGHT ON SLAVERY. Draw a RED X on your hand. Tell your world that slavery still exists and YOU WON’T STAND FOR IT. Just use your influence any way you can to help us carry the message of FREEDOM so even more people know. Let’s make this SHINE A LIGHT ON SLAVERY DAY even brighter than ever.

I support it and thus, I’ve taken the time to place an X on my hand…and to join with others in proclaiming that I don’t want this to be just merely a gesture, a red mark, a one time action…

I deeply appreciate Louie and Shelly Giglio – the founders of the Passion Movement and the instigators of the #EndItMovement. While it would be inaccurate to say that I know them personally, I’ve met Louis on couple brief occasions including at a meeting at the White House on the matter of human trafficking.

Since organizations, leaders, and influentials have done such a good job in bringing the issues of human trafficking to the view of the larger mainstream, it’s especially important to highlight not just that “Human trafficking is wrong” but the critical discussion of “How we engage this justice work…” Read the rest of this entry »

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What we can learn from Rick Warren, People’s Liberation Army, Humility, Listening, and Cultural Sensitivity.

Oh man. I don’t know if I should be writing this. I’m supposed to be busy writing the manuscript for my first book…which is already late. But hey, I need a writing break and what’s a better way to take a break from writing by writing. Ok, not really.

As I’ve checked my Twitter feed yesterday, there appears to have been a controversy surrounding Pastor Rick Warren and this photo below that he posted on his Facebook and Twitter (It has since been removed). The photo was posted this past Monday morning as a joke by Pastor Rick (or someone from his staff?) and was meant to make comparisons of his staff to the People’s Liberation Army aka Red Guard, aka Red Army, aka These Folks Did Some Scary & Cruel Stuff:

“The typical attitude of Saddleback Staff as they start work each day.”

rickwarren

Before I comment on this, let me first say that I have much love and respect for Pastor Rick. While I haven’t been a huge fan of his Hawaiian shirts, let he that has perfect fashion sense cast the first stone. So, I’ll drop my stones.

Seriously, Pastor Rick has been influential to many; He’s been a mentor to many – locally, nationally, and globally. And with the personal tragedy of the death of his son, he has been on the hearts of many. Like many other pastors and leaders, I took a moment to pray for Pastor Rick and Kay Warren at my church on that Sunday morning (the day after news broke of his son’s suicide).

Read the rest of this entry »

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a vision many years ago about a quest…

Over 10 years ago, God woke me up in my sleep. Literally.

The dream shook me up so much that I couldn’t go back to sleep. Over the next several months, I tried to resist the meaning of the dream but I knew that while I didn’t have full clarity, the Holy Spirit was stirring my wife and I to “get ready.”

The vision and dream I had was surreal because it was unlike anything I had personally seen or experienced. Minhee and I were then at a homogenous Korean-American church in the suburbs of Seattle but we were stirred to leave our comfort zone to plant a church in urban Seattle and invite people from diverse backgrounds to worship Jesus together, grow together, serve together, and be on mission together.

The calling for us was to be faithful in proclaiming and living out the gospel of Christ but in pursuit of a diverse church, it wasn’t merely to be post-racial, politically correct, or multiethnic, but in reality, to be about a faith community taking a step closer towards the vision and reality of the Kingdom of God.

The end goal isn’t the banner of a post-racialized world or even to have a multiethnic community. This post isn’t to boast or to indirectly point the finger at homogenous churches, white churches, suburban churches but rather to ask the question:

Are we taking steps towards the vision and reality of the Kingdom of God?

Read the rest of this entry »

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rob bell is going hollywood and i give him two thumbs up

In honor of the greatest movies critics the world has ever known (that would be Siskel & Ebert for you young folks), I am giving “two thumbs up” to Rob Bell and his news of going Hollywood to help create a new TV show on ABC called Stronger.  [click here for RSS readers]

Most of us are familiar with Rob Bell and his book, Love Wins, which was the single reason why Christian bloggers saw a huge spike in their readership this past February. I won’t lie. I jumped on the bandwagon and wrote an entry entitled – What the Hell? – and got 1,329,143,143 hits on that post.

And just last week, Rob Bell got more attention when he announced his resignation from his church, Mars Hill. I’m not linking to MH’s press release out of fear that it’ll crash their website again. My blog has that much power.

And like that fated incident when people were reviewing his book, Love Wins, without actually reading the book, I thought it was comical that people were criticizing, condemning, commenting on the reasons why he was stepping down from full-time pastorate

But now we know: Read the rest of this entry »

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our love affair with success

Many of have love affairs with “success” which is why we can so easily fall susceptible to a spiral of insecurity.

If we’re honest – no matter who we are and whatever discipline of work we’re involved with – we have some  perception of success.

That in itself isn’t bad but what if our perception of success becomes like a love affair; an obsession of value and self-worth? Check video below (for RSS feeds).

Pastors and leaders aren’t impervious to such pursuits of “success.” In fact, maybe we are more susceptible. And in these days of constant bombardment of various forms of new media, it’s easy to compare ourselves to others – other leaders, churches, ministries, non-profits, etc.

I am no different.

I’d like to think that as I turn 41 soon and coming upon 20 years in ministry, I would have outgrown such shallow comparisons but it’s still an ongoing struggle.

When we’re immature

…when our rootedness is not in the Gospel of Christ, then it leads us into dangerous and lonely places Read the rest of this entry »

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in memory of pastor ha yong jo

On August 2, 2011 (Korean time), Pastor Ha Yong Jo – founder and senior pastor of Onnuri Church in Seoul, Korea, passed away at the age of 65.

A life well lived…

While 99% of my readers will never have heard of this man. Pastor Ha was not only one of the most influential Christian leaders in Korea and Asia but perhaps (in a quiet and humble way), the entire world.

While many have influenced me, I have always seen and looked to him as my pastor and one of my mentors. It pains me not to be able to go to Korea directly to pay my respects…

하목사님과 대화했던 순간 순간을 떠올리게 된다. 늘 꿈을 꾸시고, 사랑하시고, 열정을 나누셨던 하나님 닮는 삶을 사신 목사님, 사랑합니다.

After my wife informed me of his passing, I just sat there in silence – mourning his passing and yet mindful and amazed by his legacy.  Minhee and I have deep respect for Pastor Ha for many reasons and one of them is simply because he was the pastor that officiated our wedding in 1997. Pastor Ha was also Minhee’s boss through a Christian company he founded called Tyrannus Ministry (Duranno in Korean).

In recent years, Pastor Ha had battled numerous health issues including an ongoing bout with liver cancer. But even despite his illnesses and what has been reported to have been 7 major surgeries in the past couple years, he continued to serve the Lord faithfully.

My Mentor

I first met Pastor Ha in 1994 when I joined his staff – first as an intern and then as one of the 35 full-time pastors (at that time). Pastor Ha – to be blunt – spoke firmly and directly into my life on several occasions. But he also always spoke lovingly.

Oh the stories I have…

Some of our conversations, truthfully, were painful at the time but as I looked back, I have grown to appreciate all of our conversations as I later understood how he was willing to invest and speak into my life.

When I joined the church in 1994, the church was then about 20,000 people. It has since reportedly grown to over 75,000 people.

But beyond numbers, I was always convicted by his passion for the one – both near and far. Read the rest of this entry »

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why president obama is and isn’t american

What is the deal with President Barack Obama? Or maybe we should re-frame the question:

What is wrong with America?

Why is it that we have such a hard time

His presidency is historical for obvious reasons and everyone knew that he was going to experience an uphill journey but the questions he’s had to endure are ridiculous: Read the rest of this entry »

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what the hell!? making sense of the fiasco with rob bell, john piper, and a book we’ve yet to read.

Sorry, I thought this was a funny and appropriate title for this post. Maybe not.

I am doing the world a huge favor because I know that no one has heard about the brouhaha that transpired this past Saturday over some dude named Rob Bell or rather, a book he’s written that is yet to be released and Gospel Coalition, John Piper, and the legions of “new-Calvinists” that see it as their convictions to defend and contend for orthodox Christianity. [Read Part 2, The Most Important Thing.]

So…this blog post about Bell’s upcoming book  pretty much declared Bell to be a universalist and that was the match that set off the firestorm. Perhaps, we should add Rob’s book to our list of Christian books that should NOT be published. ;)

What are your thoughts about the fiasco?

As usual, here are some of my random & vomitaceous thoughts:

Rob is a friend…

Now, let me go on the record and share that I like Rob. I’ve blogged about him – with praise and pushback. We’ve emailed several times. He’s shown some tweet support for One Day’s Wages. In short, I’m proud to call him a friend and a brother in Christ.

So, it pained me to see so much venomous stuff being written about Rob.

Me like the Universalist Post

This might be hard for some of you to believe Read the rest of this entry »

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defending whatchamacallit…

Apparently and unintentionally, I struck some nerves by referring to a Greg Laurie Seattle Harvest event as a “whatchamacallit.” In response to yesterday’s post, some responded with questions and good push-back and I can reassure you that I wasn’t trying to be disrespectful or disparaging.

Let me explain to you where “whatchamacallit” came from. First, let me ask you this question:

How do you explain a “Seattle Harvest” to a non-Christian?

Seriously, I’d like to hear your words and thoughts:

How do you explain that?

I’m asking because I tried and I’m embarrassed Read the rest of this entry »

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stuff, connect, info

one day’s wages | video

My Instagram

I love my church. So proud of the ways they seek to embody compassion and justice. Some of them were in downtown Seattle this week to demonstrate their solidarity with Ferguson.

I'm in the middle of a 3 month sabbatical at Quest. I'm grateful for this time of rest and rejuvenation...but I miss my church dearly. Can't wait to be back in October. There are some amazingly beautiful churches around the world. Just remember though that true worship begins when you exit the church walls and live out your faith and convictions.

#LightandSalt
#PrincetonUniversity Home, sweet home. 
#seattle 17.5 Year Anniversary!
We still got it. We look gooooood!

Blessed to be back in Princeton, NJ for couple days recently. We had our wedding ceremony in Korea but got "legally" married in the US at Miller Chapel in Princeton Seminary. So, it was only fitting to go back and have my kids take our 17.5 Anniversary  pics. Someday when our kids become adults and they feel like their parents wronged them or neglected them, and they feel like they need to get counseling... I'm going to show them this picture and say, "I HAVE PROOF. WE TOOK YOU TO NYC AND BOUGHT TICKETS TO WICKED ON BROADWAY!" RIP Robin Williams. 
Folks: Please go and - call or hug your loved ones. Tell them you love them. Remind them how you much appreciate them.

We need to (re)learn how to be more human. Don't avoid eye contact. Don't hide behind gadgets. Smile often - both to neighbors and strangers alike. Ask about peoples' stories. And listen.

And most importantly, remind yourself that YOU are loved. Not just merely by your loved ones but also by the ONE who created all that is good and beautiful.

my tweets

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