Wednesday, October 24, 2007 • 1:24 am
In a city where there seems to be a cafe [mostly with those dang mermaids on the logo] on every other street corner, the path to viability and visibility has not been the easiest thing for our non-profit Q Cafe. We are still alive and kicking but barely. It’s been very tough and the church and cafe leadership have taken some time to really examine the mission of the cafe. Through these conversations, we’re collectively reminded how significant the cafe is to the ecclesiology of our church. Q, a non-profit and non-religious community cafe, is essential to our commitment to be an incarnational presence to our neighborhood and larger city.
Personally, I’m excited to grow back in love Read the rest of this entry »
Filed under: emerging church, ministry, religion, seattle, cafes, coffee, Q Cafe, quest church
Monday, October 22, 2007 • 12:07 am
Maybe it’s because there’s not too many non-White folks they can ask, but I’ve been getting more and more requests from folks to speak to the topic of…[gasp]…emerging church. There are so many weird misperceptions out there.
Within Quest, we rarely speak of Quest as an emerging church. Many on the outside call it an emerging church and that’s ok, but I tend to be cautious with labels. You can read some of my thoughts about that in an earlier post entitled, ‘those stupid emerging church fools.’ It’s amazing how that word ‘emerging’ and ‘emergent’ is one of the more regular questions I get from new visitors to our church. The majority, if not all, that ask the question do so with much skepticism.
But, I digress. I recently read a post entitled, 7 Loving Challenges for Emergent, that really hit a chord…[via Kingdom Praxis and originally on MSW]. I’m not involved with the organization called Emergent but have friends that are involved in the group. But, here’s the post…there’s really much to think about. Do these resonate with you? They are all such sharp thoughts but one of my favorites is this:
We are no longer pissed-off adolescents. Pissed off adolescents do things simply to be contrary. Like becoming democrats because we hate the religious right. Like getting drunk because we grew up Baptist. You know what I’m talking about. Let’s start thinking a bit about why we do what we do. A religious left is as bad as a religious right. Being a libertine is as bad as being a Pharisee. Read the rest of this entry »
Filed under: emerging church, ministry, religion
Tuesday, October 9, 2007 • 1:09 am
As promised, here are some final pics from our recent renovation of our newly gifted church property. In June 07, Interbay Church gifted their property to our church, Quest, and joined our community. For 27 days through several weeks in August and September, we went through a remodel of the church to update the space to better serve our larger community as well as continue our commitment to the larger city of Seattle and beyond.
Because of limited finances, we did about 80% of the work in-house. If possible, I’ll never do this again. It was enjoyable – on many levels – but dealing with stuff afterwards is no fun. It would be much more convenient to hire a construction company and project manager and let them do what they do best. Thanks again to the volunteers that sacrificed much of their time and talents…
Here’s a pic of what the sanctuary looked like before the changes:
Read the rest of this entry »
Filed under: emerging church, religion, emerging church, quest church, seattle
Monday, October 8, 2007 • 12:03 am
Well, I’m hacking another stimulating post for you to read, enjoy, parse, critique, and engage. This is written by Randall A. He and some of his friends trekked out from Hawaii to Seattle a year ago or so – partly to enter the foray of the Seattle music scene. Randall and another band member, Miles, attend Quest. They belong to a indie/pop/rock group called Harrison Band and got an upcoming show at the El Corazon on Sunday, October 21. You can also see one of their videos on YouTube. But, enough of me plugging their band.
Randall wrote an incredibly though provoking post on the subject of Salvation. We can easily or too simplisticly deduce salvation as one dimensional – “Do you accept Jesus or not?” If we see the totality of Jesus’ life, salvation includes that but so much more. Make sure you read the entire post [it's worth the time] and share your thoughts – here or there on his blog entitled, LONE TOMATO. It’s a beautiful thing to engage and seek to Love God with your heart, soul, body, and MIND. Read the rest of this entry »
Filed under: emerging church, quest church, religion
Tuesday, October 2, 2007 • 12:16 am
I preached a sermon couple weeks ago entitled, “Church sucks…but so do you.” The brief explanation: I really do believe that most of us grow up needing and wanting to be angry at something or someone. God and the Church is not excluded. The institution of the Church has done much to warrant some of this anger. So, yes…church sucks.
Church is community or family. And there’s one certainty about community: it has the ability to expose us – all of us. It exposes both our beauty and depravity which is the reason why community is so hard. It is the reason why we are so drawn to it and simultaneously, we are so fearful of it. Why it is so fragrant and yet, so repulsive. Read the rest of this entry »
Filed under: christianity, church, emerging church, religion
Monday, October 1, 2007 • 2:22 am
People come and people go. Quest has grown fairly significantly the past couple years and and many people have also moved on the past couple years – for various reasons. But for whatever reason, it’s much easier to focus on the folks that move on rather than to enjoy the folks that choose to stay. Why is that?
Over the years, I’ve learned to not take people’s departures too personally but it still sucks and at times, hurts…because ultimately, they’re people I care for. Read the rest of this entry »
Filed under: church, emerging church, religion
Friday, September 28, 2007 • 12:32 am
This is the most thought provoking blog post I read this past week. Just the title, “Dear God, do you have a penis?” makes you feel uncomfortable in so many ways.
Like others who peruse through my blog to get a deeper glimpse into my scattered mind and heart, I enjoy checking out vomitaceous thoughts of many of the other Quest bloggers. Some good, some bad, some fluff, some deep, some always ranty, some too happy, etc. One blog [amongst many] I’d call your attention to belongs to ”Brian.” In his words, Brian is “a materialist wishing to be a minimalist – an ambivalent mess desiring to be a lover of others – a fearful man hoping for great courage – a husband-in-process – a father-in-training – a student of friendship.” He and his family have been at Quest for the past year+ and I appreciate his willingness to wrestle with hard questions – even if it leaves alot of mud on his face. Here’s a short excerpt from one of his posts this past week:
Dear God, Do you have a penis?
I know, you’re immediately interested (or pissed). Read the rest of this entry »
Filed under: christianity, emerging church, religion
Friday, September 14, 2007 • 11:37 am
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
Monday, September 10, 2007 • 12:44 am
As we’re in the midst of a basic remodel of the church building we were recently given, I was just thinking that it was about 5 years ago in 2002 when not many of us at Quest [probably about 40-60] worked on renovating this Warehouse below into our place of Worship, non-profit Cafe, and space for some community engagement.
We renovated it and rented the building for the past five years. We now own the building and are busy renovating the church building right next door. Lots of work. I wish I learned something about construction when I was younger. Below are pictures that demonstrate the transformation of the building…
Read the rest of this entry »
Filed under: emerging church, quest church, religion, seattle
Wednesday, September 5, 2007 • 9:49 am
We’ve been tagged – literally. I’m not talking the game ‘tag,’ bloggers that say, “You’ve been tagged,” photo tags, or other technological mumbo jumbo. I’m talking graffiti tag.
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Filed under: church, emerging church, religion
Friday, July 13, 2007 • 11:57 am
I’m amazed how many people are tracking with the “gay conversation.” Many folks have emailed asking if Dan Savage has responded to my email. He said that he would a day or two after he received mine but no response yet. Let’s not forget…he’s a big shot. He’s an editor of the popular Stranger and has his own syndicated column that’s published in who knows how many places. He’s got people to see, places to go, and blah blah blah so I’m not surprised or disappointed. No biggie.
On the Slog [the Stranger's blog], he did mention that some of the Slog posters did such a great job responding to my doozies that he didn’t really feel the need to respond. Truth be told, there really were some incredible comments and dialogue. Several people have shared with me that they actually printed out ALL the comments, went off somewhere, and just read through them and in some cases, discussed them with friends. [That's a lot of wasted paper...]
I feel somewhat obliged to Dan. He has written, in my opinion, the best press about Quest through his “church review” and indirectly, given me one of the best compliments [I think] I have received. In responding to my concerns about posting what I intended to be a personal email on the Slog, he apologized for the misunderstanding and wrote [there]:
We’re not in conflict about the misunderstanding. Cho’s not upset with me; the man is gracious as all fuck. Read the rest of this entry »
Filed under: emerging church, justice, religion, seattle
Thursday, June 28, 2007 • 5:03 pm
It’s been a busy and crazy day today. We’re rearranging our staff offices; I’m dealing with chicken pox at the home, dealing with a rock being thrown into our church office window [luckily, no one was in there because the pastor sitting there was home because of an ailment], getting ready to head out tomorrow to Sabbath for couple days, and blah blah blah. And it’s probably about to get a little crazier…
Last night, I finally had a chance to respond to an email I received from Dan Savage, the editor of The Stranger - wittingly described by a friend as “the alternative paper to Seattle’s alternative newspaper [Seattle Weekly]. As readers of this blog know, he authored what I thought to be a witty review of Quest Church in the paper’s last edition. I was surprised that he posted my personal email and his response on The Stranger blog for the rest of the world to see. Oh well. My hope is not to engage in battle. That is the farthest thing from my heart. Most that know me will attest to this… While many have assumptions that Christians are hate filled, bigoted and ignorant, it’s my hope that more will realize that issues of justice, compassion, and mercy are dear to the heart of Christians – because they are near to the heart of God.
I am first posting my latest email to Dan, and then posting my first email and then his response…I share this here [with some trepidation] knowing that anything can be said. I guess that’s the beauty and beastly nature of blogs. It’s my hope that my email to Dan will answer some of the numerous responses from his readers and because I know my email will be posted anyways on his blog. Last week, I very much enjoyed reading the thread of comments from Scot McKnight’s [jesus creed] post about the church’s lack of compassion with the gay community. I had no idea that I’d be smack in the middle of this conversation as the culprit of that bigotry…
Related Links: Listening; Gracious as All F#*k; and The Gay Dialogue
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Filed under: bible, christianity, church, emerging church, justice, religion
Wednesday, June 27, 2007 • 1:36 am
I’ve been meaning to post [some repost] much of this statistical information about the ministerial calling and career. I “work” 2-3 hours/month as a representative of the Sustaining Pastoral Excellence program of my denominational tribe. This program was funded by about 1.7 million dollars through the Lilly Foundation in response to growing and alarming statistics and stories about the decline of the health of pastors – emotionally, relationally, spiritually, and physically. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, let my picture below speak for itself: I am pooped. As pastors and church leaders, it helps to understand some of the challenges ahead; to not always be reactive but proactive. Since many have asked for a summary of my presentation, here it is… Read the rest of this entry »
Filed under: church, emerging church, leadership, ministry, pastors
Friday, June 15, 2007 • 1:14 am
The infamous Dan Savage, the author of our church ”review” in the recent Stranger article referenced this blog on the Stranger’s blog and bam – a spike in traffic and some interesting comments on their site. Here’s several for your reading pleasure:
 I wouldn’t really call your 30 churches piece journalistic. It was more just “let’s make fun of christians”. 90% of your writers missed the point of church in the first place. I mean it’s understandable. Who doesn’t like a good church bashing from time to time. It’s so easy. Perhaps an intellectually challenging approach would have been a search for why these churches are either growing (the mega’s), or dwindling. and intellectual is actually why I have been an avid Stranger reader for 10 yrs. [merktuttle]
 In his review of Quest Church, Dan Savage mentions Jim Jones and David Koresh. Unfortunately — because of horrific tragedies like these — I always look at any new religious movements with suspicion. So, no matter how normal and hip and kind someone like Eugene Cho seems, I think: “Okay, where’s the dark side?” Maybe I’m pessimistic. But I just feel like people are too f%$##d up, in general, to do something like start a church — if they don’t have a deep and sinister megalomania. But maybe not. Maybe Eugene Cho and Quest Church are just good, spiritual people. [paul] Read the rest of this entry »
Filed under: church, culture, emerging church, religion, seattle
Thursday, June 14, 2007 • 10:53 am
“…What, we wondered, is going on in all those churches? What are they saying? What are they doing? What are they plotting?…”
The title is not a joke. We received what I perceive to be the best press about our church – ever. Bar none. We’ve had our share of media from the local press. Last week, there was a solid article and great pic of the merger story. This past December, there was a dedicated “portrait” of my personal story in the popular magazine insert called Pacific Northwest in the Sunday paper. But this morning, someone sent me some info of a great article from The Stranger – the premier rebellious, hilarious, provocative, alternative, and very popular weekly newspaper [umm - in some circles]. They advertise themselves as the “only newspaper in Seattle.” [It's a good paper - minus the raunchy over the top sex ads near the back of the magazine.]
Seattle is infamously known as the most “unchurched city in America.” The Northwest is the most unchurched region in America. But it isn’t godless or spiritual. It’s a beautiful place – full of life, questions, conversations, and such. What I love the most about living in this city and this region is that you have to earn the right to have your voice in the larger marketplace of thoughts, ideas, and philosophies.
Anyway, the Stranger staff sent 31 of their staff to visit 31 churches this past Sunday and they wrote up the most brutal and simultaneously, hilarious “reviews” of these churches. Yes, all hell broke loose according to these authors. I am so excited – honestly – that Quest actually made the list! I feel so cool. Like, I’ve finally been accepted as a true Seattle-ite. Ahh, but this again confirms my point that people – more than you ever know – and more than they want to admit – are watching the Church. They are watching to see our convictions, motivations, hypocrisy, compassion, or in our case, “insipid worship.” Read the rest of this entry »
Filed under: church, culture, emerging church, quest church, religion, seattle
Tuesday, June 12, 2007 • 12:57 am
When my wife and I planted Quest six years ago, there were some good things we did and some poor things I did. It stayed a VERY small group for many months and really, for the first 1.5 years. We struggled immensely to get to any sort of critical mass – which at that time, we discerned to be about 50-75 people. I spoke, taught, and preached a great deal about being organic, a true community, intimate, etc. Those are things I still teach about but wished I could have spent more time preparing people for what would happen if we actually came close to achieving those things. It becomes attractive and it actually grows. Acts 2:42-47 is a beautiful portrait of the early church community. It must have been so attractive and the Holy Spirit was at work and the church just grew.
So, Quest has grown the past couple years. This past year, we were running three service [mainly because of our small intimate cafe space] and had couple Sundays where we hit 500 folks [including children]. It’s not my goal for Quest to grow to be a mega church or even a large church. That would actually pain me but I’m more at peace to just let that be Read the rest of this entry »
Filed under: church, emerging church, pastors, quest church
Wednesday, June 6, 2007 • 12:45 am
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
Monday, June 4, 2007 • 10:04 am
Goodness, these people work quick. Here’s the article [huge front cover of the Local Section] from the Seattle Post Intelligencer on the Quest/Interbay merger and their observations from yesterday’s service.
I tell this to every pastor that I encounter: People are watching your church community more than you will ever now. We have visitors that share about how they’ve been watching, following, and observing for months or even for years before they make their first visit.
Here’s the video we showed to honor the “Interbay community” at yesterday’s service and the ONE CHURCH newsletter [pdf]. UPDATE: here’s another article from the Covenant Wire.
Time to come up for some air. It’s been a very BUSY past few months; a little more pushing in the next three months to pound out some “minor” building renovations in August and then a chance to rest in the Fall. Transitions are very tough and through these transitions, trying our best to make sure that people [both from quest and the interbay community] don’t get lost in the transition and translation.
Only a parking lot separates Interbay Covenant Church and Quest Church, but the neighboring Seattle congregations hardly seem alike on the surface. Read the rest of this entry »
Filed under: church, emerging church, quest church, seattle