Eugene Cho

a typical untypical work day

People occasionally ask me this sort of question:

So, I know you’re a pastor.  I know what you do on Sundays but I hope this isn’t rude…what the heck do you do throughout the week?  Do you pray all week?  Do you read the Bible constantly?  Do you spend five days preparing your sermons and practice your hand motions for your preaching?

Yes, I read, prepare, and pray but I certainly don’t do all those things each single moment of the week.  But I do want the world wide web community to know that I do pray for more than three minutes/day despite the rumors that are circulating. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: quest church, religion

thoughts on salvation

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

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

qcafe renovation

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…

copy-of-oldwarehouse.jpg Read the rest of this entry »

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

a quasi extreme makeover

If you’re wondering why my blog posts are all fluff and no substance, it’s because we’re in a dang busy season right now.  Our church community began 27 days of renovation starting on Sunday, Aug 26.  We need to be done – one way or the other – so that we can re-enter our now current sanctuary for worship on Sunday, September 23.  For three weeks, we’re back at the warm and cozy Q Cafe.

It’s great to see people working together – laboring, sweating, talking, fellowshipping, spilling, laughing, creating, and problem solving.  There’s some level of stress involved here because we’re on a limited budget and we’re undertaking about 85% of the work on our own.  We’ve only contracted the painting inside the sanctuary.  We’re responsible for everything else [Gulp]. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: church, quest church, 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

all hell broke loose

“…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

community that once existed?

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

seattle pi article on church merger

226quest04_611mu_greeting.jpg

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.

The article: 

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

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

an incredible legacy

This past Sunday, Interbay Covenant Church celebrated their last Sunday together as Interbay.  It was such an incredible service.  They did a great job not only celebrating their 65 years of amazing history but more importantly, celebrating the creator of their ministry and community – Jesus.  Minhee and I and a few other Questers chose to worship with Interbay; I was invited to share a few words to invite them to our first Sunday together as One Church but my emotions completely overwhelmed me and I broke down in tears.  It wasn’t what I intended but as I looked out to the congregation and especially those that have been at Interbay for 20, 30, 40, or even 50+ years…  They weren’t tears of sadness.  Rather, tears of gratitude and amazement because of their courage, faith, and Kingdom mindedness.

As these two churches merge, Interbay will, by name, no longer exist as of May 31 and will join Quest.  However, their legacy will continue.  And Quest will do its part – to love, honor, and value each of the 50 or so folks from Interbay that will join us.  The two videos below is a small glimpse Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: christianity, church, emerging church, quest church

beauty in the midst of brokenness

There’s the need for balance – to understand both our beauty and depravity.  When you look around the world, it’s easy to get downright depressed, discouraged, and overwhelmed.  I certainly feel that way sometimes.   But in the midst of all this junk [including my personal junk], I’m also freshly reminded that when God created the universe and all that which it encompassed – including humanity – He saw and acknowledged that it was ‘good.’  That may be the most incredible part of God’s narrative story – right next to the Resurrection. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: christianity, quest church

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

my identity crisis

Quest gets its share of external visitors wanting to check out the church and the cafe.  They’re mostly local (the Pacific Northwest) but at times, folks are actually silly enough to spend money to fly into Seattle.  Although, I need to be honest here.  Quest is usually an ‘add-on’ to peoples’ church visitation agenda.  People fly to Seattle to usually visit Mars Hill or a few other known commodities.  I hate being a jerk but the visits take so much time and energy, we usually say, ‘Sorry.’   We occasionally do meet with folks – churchplanters, pastors, cafe starters, reporters, authors, etc. – and they usually fish from the same pool of questions.  One prominent question in some form or another is: “What’s been the most significant highlight in your ministry this past year(s)?” Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: church, emerging church, leadership, quest church, seattle

prayer

Thanks to each of you for your friendship and partnership.  We live in interesting times where through the internet, certain levels of connection can take place and information can be conveyed like never before.  Perhaps, not in the most deepest level, but a certain level of ‘community’ is still possible.  I write this post to ask for prayer from the folks at Quest Church, my network of personal friends, fellow co-laborers in Seattle, and the larger community I’ve had the privilege of meeting in the past years.  Prayer is both a beautiful and mysterious gift.  It is a good thing.  I’ve also learned that it is both a personal and communal thing.  While I have no prayer cards, no prayer letter reminders, and no official prayer chain, I simply ask that as my family and I come to mind or heart, please lift up a prayer for us. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: prayer, quest church

prayer for the nation and people of burma

Yes, this post is about a week late but better late…  Last Sunday was the ‘Global Day of Prayer for Burma’.  I was first introduced to the situation in Burma through a U2 song called, Walk On which was inspired and dedicated to Aung Sun Suu Kyi, ‘leader’ of Burma who’s been under house arrest the majority of the time since 1989.  Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: justice, quest church

the stupid emerging church fools


warning: please read the post before you view the video.  you may hate me for wasting nine minutes of your time.  as most know, i’m always weary of certain adjectives when it comes to labeling quest or myself.  i like ‘multiethnic’, ‘urban’, and ‘missional’ but honestly, i’d rather quest just be called ‘a church,’  One of our hopes is to redeem that word in our culture. ‘our vision is to BE the church.’ but since our minds work in such ways that we need ‘categorization,’ it’s true that there’s much that we resonate with the larger movement of the ‘emerging church.‘ i have my frustrations – like how women, asians, african-americans, and minorities seem to be on the outside looking in – again. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: christianity, church, culture, emerging church, quest church

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

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 || 14 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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