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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It appears I brought a little Seattle to the NYC. Drizzle fest. 24 hour gathering with a small group of leaders from around the country. Learning. Listening. Asking hard questions. Head exploding. Heart trying to have hope. As I soaked in this breathtaking sunrise this morning above the clouds, I felt compelled to pray for so my places in America and around the world that are experiencing such pain, heartache, injustice, and violence. At times, it feels so overwhelming but in prayer, I was reminded of these words from John 16:33. As we keep striving, working, hoping, preaching, loving, truthtelling, reconciling, repenting, forgiving, dismantling, peacemaking, Kingdom building...may we fix our eyes on Christ: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33 Grateful for a very full weekend of ministry and preaching in Toronto, Canada (GTA). Such a privilege to partner with @worldvisioncan @wvcollective to advocate for the most vulnerable around the world. God is so gracious. A true honor to meet and encourage local pastors, lecture at Tyndale University & Seminary (photo), and preach at Richmond Hills Community Church, Compass Point Bible Church, and New City Church. Thank you, Lord, that you use broken and imperfect people like me to speak of Your love. Today, Minhee and I dropped off our eldest child at her college. We have been thinking and praying about this day for many years. On some days, we hoped it would never come. On other days, we couldn't wait for it to come. On some days, we prayed for time to stop and other days, we prayed with anticipation. 
After an entire summer of laughing it off, it hit us...hard...this week. Seeing all of her stuff laid out on the basement floor was the catalyst to a load of emotions.

After unloading the car and taking her stuff to her new home for this year and mindful that she might never live with us again; helping sort out her stuff, saying hello to her roommates...I wasn't sure what to do or say.

A flood of thoughts rushed my mind.

Is she ready?
Have we done enough?
Have we taught her enough? 
What if this? What if that?

And so we shared what we have shared with her the moment she began to understand words: "Remember who you are. Remember WHO you belong to. Remember what you're about. God loves you so much. Please hold God's Word and His promises close and dear to your heart. We love you so much and we are so proud of you." And with that, we said goodbye. Even if she may not be thousands of miles away, this is a new chapter for her and even for us. I kept it composed. Her roommate was staring at me. I didn't want to be that father. I have street cred to uphold. Another final hug. 
And I came home.
And I wept.
Forget my street cred.
I miss her. I love her.
She will always be my little baby.

I'm no parenting guru. I just laughed as I wrote that line. No, I'm stumbling and bumbling along but I'd love to share an ephiphany I learned not that long ago. Coming to this realization was incredibly painful but simultaneously, liberating. To be honest, it was the ultimate game-changer in my understanding as a parent seeking after the heart of God.

While there are many methods, tools, philosophies, and biblical principles to parenting, there is – in my opinion – only one purpose or destination.

Our purpose as parents is to eventually…release them. Send forth. For His glory. Met a friend and fellow pastor who I haven't seen in over 20 years. In him, I saw a glimpse of my future. While only 10 years older, his kids are married and he's now a grandfather of 3. His love for his wife and family were so evident and his passion for the Gospel has not wavered. It was so good to see someone a bit older still passionately serving the Lord with such joy and faithfulness. Lord, help me to keep running the race for your Glory. Happy wife.
Happy life. - Eugenius 3:16

I still remember that time, many years ago, when Minhee was pregnant with our first child. She had left her family and friends in Korea just two years before. Her morning sickness was horrible and when she finally had an appetite, she craved her favorite Korean food from certain restaurants in her neighborhood in Seoul, Korea. I had no way of getting that food from those restaurants so I actually said, "How about a Whopper? Big Mac?" Sorry honey. Eat away. You deserve it.

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