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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One Day’s Wages

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Collaboration.

col·lab·o·ra·tion
kəˌlabəˈrāSH(ə)n/
noun

the action of working with someone or a group of others  to produce or create something.

May we hold our logos, egos, and tribalism have their place. May we hold them loosely for they too shall pass. May we collaborate for the sake of the greater Kingdom of God ... which endures forever. As we honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., don't forget the God behind the man. The one true God who deposited this dream into MLK is still speaking to us today. Are we listening?

Be courageous. Be brave.

Being invited by the King Family to speak at the MLK worship service at Ebenezer Baptist Church in 2016 remains one of the most unexpected honors of my life. On the right is his daughter, Dr. Bernice King and his sister, Dr. Christine King Farris. Walking throughstreet markets in different parts of the world is the best. Soaking in the culture. Listening to the local language and music. Enjoying the amazing cuisine. Meeting new friends. Praying for the Gospel to penetrate. #ChiangRai Blessed be the local, indigenous leaders for it is they who live in the very communities they seek to love. For it is they who understand their context and culture...better than a Westerner ever will. For it is they who will continue to tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love when visitors like me leave.

Yes, blessed be the local, indigenous leaders. What an honor and privilege to celebrate with the on-the-ground local @thefreedomstory team to celebrate the recent opening of their Education and Resource Center for the local youth in Chiang Rai, Thailanf. This was made possible through a partnership and matching grant by @onedayswages and The Freedom Story.

While it was an honor to be there to cut the cord and say a few words, this is an example of collaboration. Much love to the Freedom Story team including their co-founders Tawee Donchai and @Rachel Goble, to their staff who live in the community, who understand their context and culture, and who tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love. And of course, much love to the students themselves for they each matter. Finally, to each person that donated to @onedayswages to make this grant possible.

May hundreds and even thousands of youth be impacted, encouraged, and mentored. May they capture a glimpse of God's love for them.

Photo: @benjaminedwards Part 2 on my wrestling with the complex issue of human trafficking. In part, documenting my trip to Thailand for @onedayswages...to listen, learn, and visit one of our partner orgs @thefreedomstory. More to come.

There's such painful and poignant irony in pursuing justice...unjustly. One way we do this is when we reduce people into projects...and thus, propagating the dangerous power dynamic of US as heroes and THEM as helpless and exclusively as victims. So dangerous.

Human trafficking is not just an issue. It’s ultimately, about people. Depending on the sources of statistics, there are anywhere from 29-40 million people in some form of forced labor and slavery, including sex trafficking.

And one thing I’ve learned, personally, is how easy it is easy to reduce people into projects which is why mutuality, reciprocity, and dignity are so vital. These are critical because God never intended people to be reduced into projects.

We forget this and we indirectly foster a culture and system of victimization or worse, the pornification of the poor or in this case, "the trafficked." And when you start dehumanizing the poor or trafficked, you have no genuine desire to build relationships with them. You believe or build stereotypes in broad strokes, singular, black and white narratives that have been told about them. You believe the lie that they have nothing to teach us and are incapable of contributing to the larger society.

Lord, break our hearts for the things that break your heart. Give us eyes to see others through your eyes. Give us humility so that we acknowledge our own need to learn and grow. (Photo via @thefreedomstory)

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