Eugene Cho

blogging, hits, traffic, numbers, ministry, and burma again

i’ve given myself 15 minutes for this post so excuse me for the choppiness.  many in the church, including myself, don’t quite know how to thoughtfully integrate the subject of ‘numbers’ into conversations.  the pastoral staff and i have never once spoken about how to increase the numbers at quest.  that’s why some recent criticism that i ‘only seem to care about numbers’ sting a little more than the other stuff i find in my inbox.  but isn’t it fair to say that numbers should absolutely matter but that numbers can grow to become an idolatrous obsession?  geez, that’s another post and i only have 14 minutes now. 

let me admit that i take occasional peeks at the number of hits i get on the blog…isn’t that ok?  we create, write, post, paint, compose, and engage in other acts of creative bursts – not simply for our own pleasure but also for the purpose of sharing with others.  and that’s good, right?  i guess the danger is when we allow the love of attention, hits, traffic, numbers, and such to influence us so much that it begins to taint, diminish, and compromise the actual process and product of what is created.  heck, i can easily post on the usual hot topics like driscoll, rob bell, and tim keller to get instant traffic in the christian blogosphere.  i read recently about a pastor in NC who wrote a post (ironically criticizing technorati) that basically thrusted him to the #1 most searched item in technorati – even ahead of paris hilton.  go figure. 

who doesn’t like traffic and hits?  so, how does that influence what we share?  what we create?  how does that influence our motivation?  how does that influence church and ministry?  is it possible that we begin to be mostly inclined towards subjects, sermons, and programs that we know will draw people back and build the numbers?  crap, now i only have 9 minutes. 

couple weeks ago, i looked over my ‘most viewed posts’ and they included pastoral health, significant highlight of ministry, stupid emerging church, and blah blah blah. what was most interesting was the least read post.  any guesses?  it was the post entitled, prayer for the nation and people of burma.  specifically, 54 hits on that post.  the lowest by far.  that’s in comparison to an average of about 800-900 hits on the posts i referenced above.   for goodness sakes, the casual post entitled, pho shizzle, got more hits in the first half day.

since we can all yield to the temptation of numbers, hits, and traffic – i wonder if churches (quest included) tend to avoid the topics that don’t necessarily encourage, affirm, and make people feel fuzzy all around.  it’s easy to avoid the conversations of racism, sexism, socio-economics, poverty, homelessness, genocide, pornography, mental health, and yes, subjects like what’s going on in burma.  would you do me a favor and read that post about burma?

couple hours ago, i received an email from a friend who’s working as a community development missionary in thailand.  he joined a group of us that trekked into burma from mae sot, thailand. we specifically visited a village called the 101 battalion.  i met many wonderful men, women, and children in my day visit and had the privilege of preaching at a church service.  the village was attacked yesterday by the burma army.  the report from free burma rangers:

Report Summary: On 7 April 2007, at midnight, the Burma Army, along with the DKBA launched a series of attacks against the Karen (KNU) along the Thai-Burma border north of Mae Sot. The attacks proceeded through the 8th and are ongoing as of 9 April 2007.          

On 7 April 2007, at midnight, the Burma Army, along with the DKBA launched a series of attacks against the Karen (KNU) along the Thai-Burma border north of Mae Sot. The attacks proceeded through the 8th and are ongoing as of 9 April 2007. Eight columns from at least three Burma Army battalions (355, 356, and 357) are involved in the attack. They are accompanied by two columns of DKBA Battalion 999, commanded by Chit Tu, and one element under ex-KNU 7th Brigade commander Htin Maung (who has made a personal alliance with the dictators’ army). The attacks occurred from south to north targeting villages and KNU positions along the River. On the 8th, two columns hit KNLA 101 battalion area at The Law They Hta twice, once in the morning and once in the evening. Also in the evening, the Burma Army attacked Thay Kai Yah, an IDP site.

The villagers had heard of the coming attack and had fled to the Thai side the day before (on 7 April 2007)…In support of these attacks, the Burma Army is using 81mm and 60mm mortars and .50 caliber heavy machine guns.These attacks have displaced more than 130 Karen families, who have all fled to the Thai side of the border. An estimated 30 families fled from Loh Di Tah, 50 families from Thay Kai Yah, 30 families from Tha Koh Klah, along with 20 more families from areas near the fighting. These numbers are low estimates and may still increase because of continuing attacks.

i’m very saddened as i read this report.  there’s horrible stuff going on all around the world – even stuff in our own back yards.  while traffic, hits, church growth and attendance, and numbers have a legitimate place in the conversation, i think the bottom line is very simple.  we’re all going to die – hopefully later than sooner.  so, let’s make a difference.  we’ve got one life.  if you have the stomach, you can view some pictures of another recent attack. 

the read on google earth and darfur is another compelling read.

Filed under: justice, ministry

8 Responses

  1. CV says:

    Dude,
    Thank you for your insight and reframing the “numbers” context.

    You rock!
    cv

  2. CV says:

    oh yeah,
    thank you for the invitation to deal with discomfort.

  3. Reyes-Chow says:

    tis true my friend, tis true. I have had more hits on my “Hottest Nerd Crushes” than the one on Racism. I think some of that is the nature of blogging and that many of these more intense conversations are better had face-to-face, but still I hear ya! Part of me also loves sharing the more playful side of myself as it integrates with more meaningful aspects.
    Blog on bro!

  4. e cho says:

    CV: good to hear from you bro. hope all is well in portland. see you in a few weeks.

  5. tn says:

    Thank you. What we were asked for by every group we met with last summer, was, “Please don’t forget us. Please tell your country we are here. Please tell your government. Please pray.” Thank you for helping to be a voice.

  6. sam says:

    so true. so true.

  7. […] is not meant to sound morbid or insensitive but as i shared in an earlier post, “we’re all going to die – hopefully later than sooner.  so, let’s make a […]

  8. btd says:

    very good thoughts here and worth thinkinga bout some more. much appreciated dialogue. thanks.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

stuff, connect, info

One Day’s Wages

My Instagram

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.

my tweets

  • "They got money for wars but can't feed the poor." ~ Tupac #trumpbudget || 18 hours ago
  • Heartbroken. Praying for Manchester & the UK. For those mourning loved ones. For those injured and fighting for life. Lord, in your mercy. || 2 days ago
  • Window seat. For the win. https://t.co/yG66Sm2bvu || 4 days ago
  • As leaders, we must not sacrifice our family for the sake of ministry because loving our family IS good leadership: instagram.com/p/BUVAGVwg-5z/ || 4 days ago
  • We long for a Gospel that comforts but resist the Gospel that disrupts. Having the former without the latter seduces us into complacency. || 4 days ago
  • Love wins in the end but in the meanwhile,it fights for things that matter. Love isn't sentimental. It's both gentle & fierce. Love endures. || 5 days ago