Eugene Cho

an amazing story

Update:  more news on this story. 

don’t have too much time and energy to go into much details, but as some of you know, one of the things that have been prominent on my heart and mind was a possible merger with an older and ‘traditional’ church in seattle.  yesterday, interbay covenant church and their membership voted in favor of merging with quest church!  for the past four years, interbay has been our next door neighbors (literally) and landlords as they own the warehouse space where we currently meet for church and run our non-profit q cafe.

interbay started about 50+ years ago and has had an amazing and fruitful history.  however, they’ve had some difficulties in recent years.  while many churches have shut down their doors and sold off their assets to developers and such, i’m amazed at their decision to join quest and to allow their legacy and story to continue.  churches will not last forever but the kingdom of God will. 

in the coming months, a transition team consisting of members from both churches will be formed in hopes of making this officially happen by easter 2007.  although interbay’s name and constitution will be dissolved, we are immensely excited that this smaller but beautiful church family will merge with quest.  of the 60 or so adults at interbay church, about 60% are over the age of 50 with 30%+ over the age of 70.  we are so excited to be deepened by the wisdom and experience of our older brothers and sisters.  the average age at quest is probably between around 26-27.   in addition, all of their assets and properties will be merged with quest as well.  i’ll share more in the weeks to come.  this is such an amazing story…

Filed under: church, emerging church, quest church

17 Responses

  1. Randall says:

    This is encouraging on many fronts.

    In addition to the problem of churches shutting down, another trend that I’ve seen (and experienced) is older churches trying (and often failing) to reconcile the needs of the senior part of the church with the younger.

    A few years ago, I left a church who had just lost their pastor (I left to help start a house church with a few friends). It’s taken them over two years to find a new pastor, mainly because the differing needs of the GI generation/Baby Boomers and the Xers/Yers.

    I’m new to Quest and this is merge tremendously encouraging to me because can serves as an example of unity despite diversity to a world increasingly divided and segregated.

    Congratulations to Interbay and to Quest,
    randall

  2. your friend from Korea says:

    If JESUS would still walk this earth and had come by Seattle area, He would have been in this meeting where you decided the joining of the two churches into ONE!

    I must repeat: You are such an inspiration to us all, you are so much like Jesus! I thank God for you.

  3. Blake says:

    This is indeed amazing, beautiful, encouraging, and above all…. humbling news. The community at Interbay is so rich and deep that I am blown away by their desire to join with us, the younger church.

    I was allowed to glimpse the significance of this merge and the depth of the community at interbay during an alumnus brunch at SPU for a mens ministry organization (Centurions) that I was involved with during my college years. What I did not realize until that day, and what gave me goosebumps to think about, is that the SPU professor who started this organization 49 years ago was a member of Interbay Covenant. His name was Roy Swanstrom. Centurions is the 2nd oldest student-run organization on campus with a tremendous legacy of changing the lives of men and raising up Godly warriors. I am floored and honored that our comparatively young church will be merging with the church family that spawned this amazing organization.

    God be praised. Hallelujah.

  4. Laura says:

    this is very cool indeed. will be in prayer for a smooth transition.

  5. Peter from Atl. says:

    pastor eug! this is incredible news! i’m so excited for the two congregations!

  6. CV says:

    Vibrant and I will be praying for a smooth transition… amen

    cv hartline
    vibrantpdx.com

  7. Rebecca says:

    I am so excited about this merger. To think that we will be able to share church with people who have been walking with Christ longer than any of us have been alive! I know that it will be a sticky transition at times, but the blessings will far outweigh the struggle.

  8. djchuang says:

    Transitions and changes are (almost) never easy, and stories like this one are nothing short of miraculous! Thrilled for you and for both churches showing generosity and the unity in Christ that Jesus himself prayed for.. would love to hear how the plans and the people in the 2 churches come together to practice grace and humility in walking together and following Christ together.

  9. the terlouws says:

    this is awesome! peace be with us all!

  10. Andrew says:

    please keep us informed on the progress. many people are watching (outside of seattle)…

  11. Steve Menshenfriend says:

    Hey Eugene. You may not remember me. I was a pastor at Shoreline Covenant for a while and we once had a chat about church planting. (I went through with the church plant by the way … five years and we’re still alive and kickin.) This is a fantastic story. It gives me hope. I check in on your blog and the Quest site often. Keep up the great work.

  12. e cho says:

    steve: thanks for checking in. i do remember you. if i remember correctly, you’re in SK in canada, right? i remember you mentioning how cold it gets there in the winter. good to hear from you and blessings…

  13. […] McKnight links to this tale of a church ‘merger’ between an older established congregation (60% congregants over age 50, 30%+ over age 70) and an […]

  14. […] Here’s a great story about an older church merging with an emerging church. […]

  15. […] it be interesting if older, aging churches chose to divest and invest in new church plants, like in the case of Quest Seattle and Interbay? Especially in the case of Korean American churches, where there has been prolific growth in the […]

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Grateful. Still reflecting on the letters that I've received from classmates and students that have come before me and after me. Never imagined all that God would have in store for me. Lots of humbling things but in the midst of them, there were literally thousands upon thousands of daily decisions and choices to be faithful. That's what matters. Seen or unseen. Noticed or unnoticed. You do your best and sometimes you stumble and fumble along but nevertheless, seeking to be faithful.

Also, you know you're getting old when your school honors you with a Distinguished Alumni Award. Lol. 47 is the new 27. Or something like that. Here's to the next 47. In our culture, we can be so obsessed with the "spectacular" or "glamorous." The Church often engagws in thia language and paradigm...but what if God has called many of us to small, ordinary things?

Will we still be faithful?
Will we still go about such things with great love and joy?

I recently came across this picture taken by @mattylew, one of our church staff...and I started tearing up: This is my mother; in her 70s; with realities of some disabilities that make it difficult for her to stand up and sit down...but here she is on her knees and prostate in prayer. She doesn't have any social media accounts, barely knows how to use her smartphone, doesn't have a platform, hasn't written a book, doesn't have any titles in our church, isn't listed as a leader or an expert or a consultant or a guru. But she simply seeks to do her best - by God's grace - to be faithful to God. She prays for hours every day inteceding for our family, our church, and the larger world.

Even if we're not noticed or celebrated or elevated...let's be faithful. Our greatest calling as followers of Christ is to be faithful. Not spectacular. Not glamorous. Not popular. Not relevant. And not even successful in the eyes of the world.

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At times, we have to say ‘NO’ to good things to say ‘YES’ to the most important things.

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Then invest deeply. May our compassion not just be limited to the West or to those that look like us. Lifting up the people of Iraq, Iran, and Kurdistan in prayer after the 7.3 earthquake - including the many new friends I met on a recent trip to Iraq.

The death toll rises to over 400 and over 7,000 injured in multiple cities and hundreds of villages along the Western border with Iraq.

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