Eugene Cho

Q is alive and kicking

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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, , , ,

“pissed off adolescents”

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

the honeymoon is over

About three months ago, an amazing “miracle” took place.  Interbay Church – a 65 year old, traditional, older, and mostly Anglo church  – decided to “close” down and join Quest Church – a 6 year old, emerging, urban, and multiethnic churchplant.  In closing their church and merging with Quest, Interbay gave to Quest ALL of their assets which includes a church building and small warehouse conservatively valued at $6 million dollars. Even more miraculously, nearly all of their 50 adults - thus far – have decided to become part of Quest.

You can read some previous entries about this: Quest + Interbay = 1 church [pre-decision],  We Are One [post decision], and Seattle PI article on Merger.

Here’s another article that was recently published in the Companion Magazine:

At first glance, Cho and Bartel are an unlikely pair. Cho, thirty-six, wears chunky-framed glasses, dresses fashionably, and as pastor of an up-and coming multiethnic emerging church made up of twenty- and thirtysomethings, he’s been quoted often in Seattle’s two newspapers, the Times and the Post-Intelligencer. Bartel, sixty-one, is a pastor-shepherd in the truest sense of the word…

Make no mistake about it, however, Cho and Bartel are tight. They have spent many hours in prayer and conversation over the decision to unite their ministries. They speak in almost reverent tones of each other. It is clear in an interview in May that they enjoy each other’s company.

“We’ve been dating way too long,” says Cho. “My wife is a little jealous of Pastor Ray. I did tell her, though, that when the merger happens in June, we’re not kissing.” [Read full article] Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: church, ministry, quest church, religion

pastoral health redux

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

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

we are one

Quest celebrated our first service together as ONE church yesterday [Sunday, June 3].  I was exhausted [mainly because of an intense trip to Detroit] but the gathering was momentous.  It almost seems surreal but the merger is now a done deal; We now enter the third season as a church community and missional ministry [The first season was the literal birth and planting of Quest and the second season was the founding of our non-profit community development - the QCafe].  The city of Seattle seems to be surprised and intrigued by this “merger” as well.  The Seattle PI published a huge Local Section front cover article [and front page photo] on the Quest/Interbay merger and their observations from yesterday’s service.  UPDATE: here’s another article from the Covenant Wire.

Here’s the video we showed to honor the “Interbay community” at yesterday’s service and the ONE CHURCH newsletter [pdf].  The photo below the video is from yesterday’s service [taken by Joanie K].  On behalf of Quest, I am presenting the first of many framed photos that will be hung on the church entrance as a “tribute” to the legacy of Interbay.  Pastor Ray Bartel, Interbay’s former senior pastor, is accepting the gift.  As of June 1, he joined our church’s pastoral staff.

On Saturday, my family and I, along with some of our church staff and leaders welcomed some of the folks from the “Interbay Community” to our home for a barbecue lunch.  It was great to enjoy some time with them outside the church Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: church, ministry, quest church, seattle

pastoral paradox

Death and Life?  It doesn’t surprise me to read statistics that one might view as contradicting statements.  There are ample stats that testify to the “dangers” of being a pastor.  On the other hand, a recent article reports that according to surveys, clergy report the highest level of satisfaction.  Huh?  Both statistics actually make complete sense to me

According to that survey, the top five professions are clergy, physical therapists, firefighters, education administrators, and painters/sculptors:

Clergy ranked by far the most satisfied and the most generally happy of 198 occupations. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: church, emerging church, ministry, religion

quest + interbay = one church

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[updated June 4] Quest celebrated their joint ONE service yesterday.  Relevant links:  video tribute to Interbay and Seattle PI article on the merger.

[updated May 6] This past Sunday, Quest also voted in favor of merging with our neighbors, Interbay Covenant Church. Two weeks ago, Interbay - an older, established church with 65 years of history, voted to merge with Quest – a newer [6 years], emerging, multiethnic, and missional church.   The ”merger” is amazing because while two equal churches are coming together, Interbay has chosen to join Quest and dissolve as a formal organization and institution. Their Kingdom vision has been humbling and amazing… Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: christianity, emerging church, ministry, seattle

church merger – the larger Kingdom

Quest will be taking our formal vote this upcoming Sunday. While some good questions have come from church folks, we are expecting an overwhelming vote in favor of the “merger.”  The “merger” is an amazing story because while two equal churches are coming together, one [Interbay] has chosen to join Quest and dissolve as a formal organization and institution.  Their stories, people, gifts, and such will continue through the ministry at Quest.   Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: church, emerging church, ministry

church merger transition

This upcoming Sunday is a fairly monumental day for Quest church [and Interbay].  Our neighbors - Interbay Church – also our landlords - will be taking their 2nd and final vote to decide whether they will merge with and into Quest Church.  During the first vote, 82% of their membership (total adult congregation = 60 folks) voted to move forward to work on a ‘Transition Plan.’  This upcoming Sunday, they will vote on the ‘Transition Plan’ and ultimately, on the merger as it will only require 51% of the members’ vote.  The past couple months have been filled with meetings, prayers, discussions, and lots of hard work on the formation of this ‘Transition Plan.’  Read the rest of this entry »

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

blogging, hits, traffic, numbers, ministry, and burma again

i’ve given myself 15 minutes for this post so excuse me for the choppiness.  many in the church, including myself, don’t quite know how to thoughtfully integrate the subject of ‘numbers’ into conversations.  the pastoral staff and i have never once spoken about how to increase the numbers at quest.  that’s why some recent criticism that i ‘only seem to care about numbers’ sting a little more than the other stuff i find in my inbox.  but isn’t it fair to say that numbers should absolutely matter but that numbers can grow to become an idolatrous obsession?  geez, that’s another post and i only have 14 minutes now.  Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: justice, ministry

marriage – the greatest synergy

As we’re studying through Colossians, I decided to take some time to ‘park’ around Colossians 3:1-17.  Because of life circumstances in the life of our church, I thought it would be appropriate to engage in a topical series (six week) entitled, “God’s Ethics of Intimacy and Sex.”  Of the 400 adults at Quest, I would guess that about 70-75% are single.  Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: church, family, marriage, ministry, quest church

silent racism – there’s hope


the fact is we are all biased and prejudiced; all depraved [and beautiful] and jacked up. we’re certainly all ‘racialized’ in many ways. long story short, i’ve been following some drama with the folks at Youth Specialties (Zondervan) over a book published by YS called, skits that teach. well, one of the skits is outright racist as it parodies asians.   and yes, this is supposed to be educating the youth of america.    i re-posted the above video entitled, ‘silent racism’ because it is so appropriate.  it was created for an assignment during our church’s 2006 faith and race class.  for me, it speaks so much to the systemic racism that exists and how we’re all guilty and must seek to see the beauty and dignity God gave to each person, each tribe, and each ethnicity. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: asian-american, christianity, church, emerging church, Jesus, justice, leadership, ministry, pastors, quest church, religion

dr. john perkins

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what a great treat yesterday!  was invited to a join a small group of pastors/leaders in seattle to have lunch with dr. john perkins and it was great to be able to take the bulk of our church staff.  how often do you get a chance to have lunch and chat with one of your life heroes.  dr. john perkins – through his books, sermons, and lectures has grown to become a significant shaper of my worldview.   quest is also very privileged to have dr. perkins join us on saturday, february 24 as we host him and the royal priesthood gospel choir for one of our ‘learning events.’

several of his books, including ‘let justice roll down’ were monumental reads early on during seminary and was reminded today of the need (& desire) to read them again. Read the rest of this entry »

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

300 million and counting…

well, it is now official.

at 4.46 am (pacific time) this morning, the nation’s population officially hit 300 million.  it hit 200 million in 1967 and growth continues to be in the future of this country.  from the seattle time article, i learned that about 2.8 million people are added to the US population each year; 40% coming from immigration and the rest coming from births outnumbering deaths. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: ministry, quest church

monday sermon quarterback

as a pastor, there’s more to life, ministry, and leadership than preaching.  my prayer is often, ‘God, let my life be the deepest sermon i ever teach.’  but let’s not lie, for the majority of churches and pastors, the preaching ministry has a critical value.  it certainly does for me.  i believe it to be both a gift and a passion. 

through this blog, i hope to give folks (especially people that attend our church, Quest) an opportunity to share feedback, challenge the content, and ask questions) – all in hopes of deeper theological understanding that i pray, will compel us into deeper worship.

after beginning pastoral ministry at the age of 21, i’ve developed some thick skin.  apart from my sensitivity with my pentecostal hands in preaching, i’m more than happy to engage your thoughts.  another reason why i’m eager to share the occasional sermon reflection is to share any personal corrections and post-sermon convictions i have with folks.  i do, however, wish, i was starting ‘monday sermon quarterback’ on another week.  why? Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: ministry, quest church

stuff, connect, info

one day’s wages | video

My Instagram

Layover. San Francisco. Having grown up here, my heart still flutters. No other city like it. A quick, busy, & meaningful 26 hrs in Wash DC but managed to go for an hour walk for this view. One of the greatest monuments in the world. A true American hero. #AbrahamLincoln I may stand on different sides on several issues with this man but I'm committed to praying for my President.

Honored to be joining Christian pastors and leaders today for the White House Prayer Breakfast. The great wheel of Seattle. Cloudy on top. Sunny on the bottom. Such is life sometimes. Taking a walk in one of my fav Seattle spots before a busy month. Embracing the calm before the storm.

my tweets

  • In his final days, Jesus washed dirty feet, ate with misfits (including a man who he knew would betray him), and forgave his enemies. #grace || 22 hours ago
  • Can't stop crying. Grieving the tragedy of the South Korean ferry. Praying for miracles. Nearly 300 are still missing. Lord, in your mercy. || 1 day ago
  • Don't be so quick to jump to the celebration of His resurrection. Take time. Pray. Reflect. Journey with Christ in his final week & moments. || 1 day ago
  • What would we do if we only had one week to live? Jesus borrowed a donkey, washed dirty feet, and got crucified. - wp.me/pT6R-2N7 || 1 day ago
  • Hope is not that God guarantees a life of bliss and blessings but that in all seasons & circumstances, God is with us. So, never lose hope. || 1 day ago
  • Layover. San Francisco. Having grown up here, my heart still flutters. No other city like it. instagram.com/p/m09meKyWbO/ http://t.co/rhIL25xBNe || 2 days ago
  • A quick and meaningful 26 hrs in Wash DC but managed to go for an hour walk for this view. instagram.com/p/m0mg5AyWZE/ http://t.co/YJsuPqzmL1 || 2 days ago
  • There's a huge difference between empty fatigue and gratifying tiredness. Life is too short. Invest in the things you deeply care about. || 2 days ago

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