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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Window seat. For the win. As leaders, we must not see ministry and family as competing commitments.  We must not sacrifice our marriage and kids for the sake of "ministry." How can we? Loving our families IS ministry & good leadership.

And on a side note, we took this goofy photo for Mother's Day last Sunday at @seattlequest. I was shocked! What in the world happened to our kids? Our 13 year old son blocked four of my shots on the basketball court yesterday. He's since been grounded... I fear that we ask God to move mountains, forgetting that God also wants to move us.

In fact, it's possible that we are that mountain. Time flies. The eldest is wrapping up her 1st year in college and the college tours have begun for the 2nd child. The youngest enters high school in the Fall. Can't say enough about how proud Minhee and I are of the kids - not just of their accomplishments but the people they are and are becoming.

But...man...we can't wait to party it up when we're emptynesters. Party at our house. It's going to be epic. Humbled. Grateful. Mindful of God's grace and faithfulness in my life. It's all grace... It's an unexpected honor to be invited back - even with some mini-drama - to @princetonseminary to receive the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award - exactly 25 years after starting my journey there as a student in 1992. Wow.

Princeton isn't necessarily for everyone. And to say that I loved everything about my experience would be misleading but it was very formative. Ir challenged me to examine why I believed in what I believed. It reminded me that God could handle my questions. It prepared me for a post-Christian context where I am not entitled to be heard but I had to earn the right to be heard, and of course, it taught me that all is good with a Philly cheese steak at Hoagie Haven.

No one is an island to themselves and I am certainly an example of that. Many people - women and men, young and old, and of many backgrounds - prayed, encouraged, mentored, and loved me along the way. Grateful for my professors at seminary, my many classmates, and the numerous fellow staff and co-laborers I've had the privilege of serving Christ with past and present. And of course, I'm forever inspired by my parents, my children, and my wife, Minhee. Thank you for your faith, hope, and love...and oh, for your patience. Only your family will know and see both the best and worst of you. They've seen my worst...and keep on believing in me.

Thank you again, PTS and President Barnes, for this honor. Then, today, and tomorrow...by God's grace, just striving to be faithful to my Lord and Savior...to preach and live out the convictions of the whole Gospel. Amen. So humbled and grateful to be with @catalystleader in Cincinnati to encourage leaders from all around the country about the invitation to Uncommon Fellowship.

Preached from John 4. We can talk, preach, sing, philsophize, liturgize, and spit rhymes about Samaria...but we still have to talk through Samaria.

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