Eugene Cho

the beauty of diversity, community, and uniqueness

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Ministry has its up and downs. Such is life.

But one of the joys of planting and pastoring Quest Church is that it’s one of the most unique and diverse communities I have been a part of. This isn’t meant to be a slam against homogeneous churches.  In fact, I believe that every community is multicultural on some level – [Hint: think beyond race.]  While I miss (very much) the uniqueness of my experiences in Korean-American churches – food, generations, languages, etc. (and still am involved in KA/Asian communities), I now understand why God called Minhee and I to venture out from our homogeneous suburban church into the city to plant Quest and Q Cafe.

While we have a long way to go, we’re thankful that Quest is growing as a multicultural, multigenerational, and urban faith community – with a desire to be an incarnational presence both in the city of Seattle and the larger world – teaching and living out the Gospel of Christ.

Questions: What are ways that you encourage your community to grow in diversity, community, and uniqueness?

These are my encouragements to fellow leaders and pastors:

  1. Know the diversity of your community.  Simply, do you know their stories?  They may “look” the same but they represent different ‘cultures’ – if not ethnicities.  We all have diverse stories.  If you know their stories, are you making their stories known?  FWIW, this is my story.
  2. Nevertheless, have a vision of the larger Kingdom and the “future Church” and consider what it looks like to take “one step closer…” Even if your church community isn’t ethnically diverse, how are you personally building friendships and encouraging your congregants to live in friendship with neighbors and the  larger community?  How is your church serving  “other” churches and communities – especially those that don’t look like yours?  You don’t have to put all your eggs in one basket and think that “worshipping together” is the only expression.  Think outside of Sundays and outside the building box.
  3. Be committed to the truth that each person is uniquely created in the image of God.  Consider the lessons learned from the story of Susan Boyle of Britain’s Got Talent and meditate on this quote from C. S. Lewis in The Weight Of Glory.

“There are no ordinary people. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: church, churchplanting, ministry, pastors, seattle, ,

why sundays still matter…

worship at quest

In conversations with people about the state of [Western] christianity, people can be all over the map.  And at times, I think it’s because we’re really that desperate, that upset, that disillusioned, or that [insert word here].  And then, there are times we just want to make a crazy statement to sound edgy and prophetic.  Yo, it’s pomo, bro.

One of those crazy conversations surrounds the topic of the corporate worship gatherings known to most people as ‘Sunday worship services.’  

I want to contend –  that whether it’s on a Sunday or another day – that gathering as a unified faith community is very important and healthy.  Or more accurately, it is one aspect of a healthy faith community.

Now, don’t mistake what I’m saying.  I’m not a big fan of big productions, fancy shows, gift giveaways, Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: church, churchplanting, emerging church, ministry, quest church, seattle

from the trenches: no idea where to get food

Quest has had the privilege of helping facilitate a new churchplant in the Kent, Washington area.  But it’s likely that these folks have never even heard of the word ‘churchplant’ and the numerous technical words that pastors like myself like to throw around.  And to be honest, these folks probably don’t care.

But they do care about one another, family, community, justice, their children, their people, and of course, they care about their faith in Christ.

Over a year ago, a group of friends including Rich and Teresa from Quest helped start a church community for refugees from Burma including the Karen and Chin people.  The group has since grown to over 100 people the last time I heard including tons of young children. I’ve had the privilege of visiting and preaching there and I’ve been immensely encouraged by this community – even though I know there are numerous hardships and struggles.  I was even greeted by a man who recognized me from my visit to Burma several years ago.  I’m glad to report that this community has moved to another location that better accomodates their growing community.  The last time I visited them, the kids were meeting in the janitor’s room.

karen-church-2-1-09-001

This isn’t an official Quest plant but we are supporting them through our Quest Churchplanting Foundation.  Years ago, Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: churchplanting, ministry, quest church, seattle

know and love your city

Minhee and I moved to Seattle in 1997.  We are entering our 12th year in Seattle but it was only about 8 years ago when I really began to grow in love with the city of Seattle.  I was kayaking in Lake Union when I just gushed over the beauty over the city.  And I just started praying for the city and the hope – someday – of being able to plant a church in the city.  God honored that prayer and on occasion, I’ll trek over to Kerry Park [few mins from Quest] and lift occasional prayers for the city and people of this city.

It isn’t a perfect city by any means:  I wish there was more diversity; city remains ethnically divided;  the road systems are wacky; a subway system would be nice; our sports teams are dreadfully cursed, we need more sun, etc.  But there are also some amazing things about this city:  the topography is absolutely breathtaking; the local music scene is alive and well; everything is green and wet; the city is a creative force and is the hub of numerous companies, etc.

How about you?  Where do you live and what do you like or dislike about your city or town?

One of the regular chats I give when I’ve had the privilege of speaking at conferences or churches has been the importance of knowing, loving, and engaging your city.  Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: church, churchplanting, family, leadership, ministry, quest church, seattle, travel

not your typical church sleepover

I’m stumbling my way as a quasi “project manager” for our church remodel. Ahh, add more lessons learned via planting Quest six years ago.   Ready or not, we’ll cross the parking lot and return back to our new “traditional” church building on Sunday, September 23. 

We’re about 70% done with what we need to do.  This would have been a far easier thing if we had the money to simply HIRE OUT for the entire thing but so goes the law of economics.  With 70K, we’ve needed to basically remodel the entire church building that was built almost 40 years ago: Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: church, churchplanting, emerging church, quest church, religion

churchplanting assessment

I was out in Detroit last week for several days participating as as assessor in a Churchplanting Assessment or Bootcamp for the Evangelical Covenant Church [which also explains why the week was so crazy].  While I am part of the large “C” hurch, this is the “team” I have chosen to invest much of my energy and time as well as place myself in accountability.  While I still have friends that rib me for joining this denomination or a denomination altogether, I am at peace and conviction that I do not want to be part of a church or a pastor as an island to myself.  Exactly five years ago, Minhee and I were participants as “candidates” in a similar assessment.  Last week, it was a little surreal to be on the other end – working with a team of twelve other pastors/churchplanters assessing 10 churchplanting candidates and their spouses [there were two single pastors] from around the country.  I felt very burdened with the responsibility… Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: church, churchplanting, emerging church, ministry

ministry is messy

Ministry is never pretty.   More poignantly, life is not pretty.  It’s messy. Our idealism will never be met.  It’s the simple and brutal truth.  The reality:  Quest Church is a failure.  It sucks.  The reality:  I am a failure.  I suck.  But the good news – it’s OK.  Everyone just breathe. God is gracious.  God’s grace is sufficient.   As for Quest:  it’s too big, too small, too disorganized, too institutional, too Asian, too White, too educated, too young, too modern, too postmodern, too emerging, too un-emerging, too biblical, too liberal, too conservative, [insert your thoughts here].  After six years, while I can honestly acknowledge that Quest is a failure of sorts and has disappointed many people, I can also rest in knowing that it’s beautiful and has ministered to many people – by the grace of God.  I feel so very privileged that God called my wife, Minhee and I, to be the visioneers of this church and hopefully, a movement to come.

So, while there are disappointments and I might will never please each and every single person, I’ve learned that there’s great value in just showing up.  There’s great value in simply DOING ministry, sharing life, and just trying.   While the product might not be polished and the process is messy, it’s humbling – even if it’s very rare – to know that redemptive things can and are taking place.  Here and there, I’ve wondered to myself if the church, the cafe, the programs, the sermons, the counseling, the Live Music, the community groups, the whatever…does it matter?  Now, more than ever before, I’ve realized that being messy is where the gospel is often  manifested. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: church, churchplanting, emerging church, justice, pastors

what to do with church buildings

here and there, i get listings of churches forwarded to my inbox from friends who are real estate agents.  churches that were once thriving but left with very few choices.  most will sell off their properties and within a year or two, you’ll see condos, retail buildings, office spaces, and my worst fear – another starbucks store.  the sad part is that the while the Kingdom’s future is not contingent on that property, that ‘physical’ space will never return to be used for the Kingdom.

and the reality is that this is a very common story.  a scenario happening all around the country – especially in urban location.  this morning, i read about the long drama surrounding the building of seattle first united methodist church.   after what seems to be at least couple years of conversations, discussions, and drama, a decision has been made to preserve the actual sanctuary but demolish the church annex.  eventually, a 40 story tower will be built to add to the already very busy seattle downtown landscape. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: church, churchplanting, emerging church, seattle

stuff, connect, info

one day’s wages | video

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Final sunset.

Aloha. Mahalo. Hana hou. Ohana.

Thank you, Kona, the Whitlocks, YWAM, sea turtles, Nemo, Restorers DTS, and Scandinavian Shaved Ice. Our three children.

One will be heading off to college in one year. The 2nd in three years. In six years, Minhee and I will be empty nesters. As a young parent, my prayers for them often surrounded their purpose in life. While I still ponder those things, there are three things that I most pray for:

1. That they may love Christ and obey Christ. Not just the idea but to actually follow Christ and thus, to love people.

2. To hold God's Word - the Holy Scriptures - dear and near to their hearts.

3. To love one another and be there for one another for life. To be loyal to one another. To protect one another. To never allow pettiness, conflicts, jealousy,  money, or whatever to get between them in the future. Ever. 
May it be so. Amen. Kona sunset. #nofilter

Perhaps from the outside...things look great but this has been one of the most challenging years of our life. The most painful has involved one of our kids who've had to endure through a lifelong chronic illness. This year, we've gone to the hospital 3-4 times/week trying to get her better. Ups and downs. Emotional roller coaster. Parents will understand this but nothing hurts more than a sick child...especially when you can't "fix" the situation. We were praying that our trip to Hawaii would be a balm for her soul...but it has been hard. Really hard. Lots of tears hard. But soaking in this sunset with our kids is something we don't want to take for granted.

We continue to pray and hope. Hope is not that God promises us perfection or everything we want but that in all situations...God is with us. Believing - while faltering - in this truth for our child. My Hawaiian Seattle Korean queen. #kona @minheejcho A family that hikes together stays together. #kona #pololuvalley Searching for Nemo. #kona #snorkeling #speechless

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