Eugene Cho

church merger – the larger Kingdom

Quest will be taking our formal vote this upcoming Sunday. While some good questions have come from church folks, we are expecting an overwhelming vote in favor of the “merger.”  The “merger” is an amazing story because while two equal churches are coming together, one [Interbay] has chosen to join Quest and dissolve as a formal organization and institution.  Their stories, people, gifts, and such will continue through the ministry at Quest.  

For the next year, we will be retaining all of Interbay’s staff – one pastor and three administrative staff.  Two folks, including their pastor, will join our Elder Board for about one year.  Thereafter, they will be encouraged to undergo the eldership process and continue to serve the larger church in that capacity.  There are always logistical details that can be problematic but problems can always be solved.  Our biggest concern dealt with the possibility of tension and conflict that arises when people come together.  With people, there’s the possibilities of preferences, biases, egos, pride, insecurities, personalities, and [insert whatever thoughts here].

This is why this transition has been so humbling.  Interbay has demonstrated an immense amount of wisdom, humility, and sacrifice for the good of the larger Kingdom.  It has forced me to examine my heart and ask, “Would I be able to do this in a similar situation?”

With permission from Ray Bartel, Interbay’s pastor, I am sharing a letter he wrote to our leadership a week before his church’s final vote on the “merger.” 

Dear friends in Christ,

As we approach a time of prayerful decision for the Interbay Church community on April 15th to unite our two congregations, I would like to take this opportunity to share a few personal thoughts with you.  Let me begin by saying, “Thank you for your friendship in Christ these past five years, for your encouragement and help in ministry, and for your infectious passion in sharing the love of Jesus.” I have been privileged to see how God has grown the ministry of Quest Church and used her in mighty ways to bring “new life.” 

It is my heartfelt hope and prayer that Interbay and Quest will approve the Transition Plan to unite our two congregations under the Quest Church name, constitution, leadership and vision –a bold and exciting step that has been on my heart and in my prayers since Interbay’s 50th anniversary celebration in April 2004. I thank our Lord, and I’m humbled by the thought that He has brought us together “for such a time as this.” From my first meeting in 2001 with a few individuals representing the emerging Quest Church, I’ve been fully persuaded that our coming together was an answer to the prayers of many and has been guided to this exciting day by the Holy Spirit.  

This “merger” is taking place in God’s time and will enrich the ‘new Quest’ and our shared heart’s desire to see the kingdom of God prosper and grow in Seattle for generations to come. God will use our combined gifts, talents and resources to produce a kingdom harvest that is far greater than anything we can imagine “in our wildest dreams” (Eph. 3:20-21, The Message). Interbay Covenant Church was birthed over 60 years ago as a children’s Sunday school outreach of First Covenant Church, Seattle. It was their vision and sacrificial giving that made our rich history in local and global missions possible. And in that same spirit, I hope and pray that Interbay will now choose to give herself to Quest –to future generations. What an amazing gift that will be! –Our rich legacy and heart for local and global missions, the diversity, spiritual depth and life experiences of our people, our material resources and the strategic location of our campus, and our passion and commitment joined in a spirit of unity to your gifts, talents and resources – All to the glory of God!  

The new future and ministry that await me as an associate pastor of Quest Church and a member of the Elder Board excite me. I remain open to the Holy Spirit’s leading and the Elder Board’s direction in shaping my new roles and responsibilities to serve the larger Quest community. It has been a privilege for me to be a colleague in ministry with Pastor Eugene and to see his heart for God, his love for the church and his passion in sharing the love of Jesus with others. I have the highest regard and deepest respect for Pastor Eugene and the vision that God has put on his heart, and I very much look forward to learning from him and supporting him in his call as lead pastor of Quest Church.

In Christ, Ray Bartel, Pastor, Interbay Covenant Church

There is much to be learned here. 

_________________

Relevant posts: Amazing Story, Letter to Interbay, and Transition Plan

Filed under: church, emerging church, ministry

6 Responses

  1. Blake says:

    As I’ve said many times, this is terribly exciting! There is no other way to describe it. 🙂

    On a side note, I found out this weekend in a chance-run-in with a distant cousin that my old church here in Seattle (Church at the Center) has recently joined with Capitol Hill Presbyterian. What cause for much excitement! 😀 As churches are closing, others are coming together and combining their gifts.

    God wins.

  2. chad says:

    i was amazed to hear this story…what an encouraging witness…just today i was thinking about how many different churches we have in our small town…on the street where our church sits there are 6 churches within a mile radius…i am interested in hearing more as time goes on…

  3. e cho says:

    chad: yeah, it’s a cool story very humbling. it was good to connect with you over the last weekend. welcome to seattle and may God bless your ministry up at shoreline.

  4. […] Another update on the story of a merger between an emerging church and an older established one. This gives me hope for the slow and eventual de-fracturing of the Body of Christ… I hope we can all pay attention, that we may be one. I figure if Jesus asked the Father for this, it’s a divine goal toward which we ought to be highly motivated, and to which end there would be plenty of divine blessing available. […]

  5. Todd says:

    I was just thinking this afternoon as I was using another church’s office to print out my sermon and our bulletins for tomorrow that it is great that they share their resources like this with us. The thought then went to “what would it be like if instead of sharing stuff like this, two churches came together as one?” The answer i came to was that this would be fairly complex and crazy. Then i read this example and I am quickly humbled. 🙂 I assume that this process has been and will be complex and crazy, but i can only imagine that the Kingdom of God will stronger because of it. May God bless this leap of faith…

  6. Ray Gonzalez says:

    I stumbled upon this story from a friend, David Park, here in Atlanta. How cool that the two churches are merging. What an opportunity to bless the world thru combined resources.

    I spent 5 years in Seattle with Wycliffe, and I loved it there. May God continue to bless you as you bless others.

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stuff, connect, info

One Day’s Wages

My Instagram

Back safely from Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. Thanks for your prayers. 
I have numerous stories to share but for now, the following came up in every conversation with Iraqi/Syrian refugees:

1 Have tea with us. Or coffee. Or juice. Or something with lots of sugar in it. Or better yet, all of the above.
2 We want peace. We want security. 
3 We hate ISIS. 
4 We just want to go home.
5 Please don't forget us.

Please don't forget them... Father, please bless and protect these Iraqi and Syrian "refugee" children that have already endured so much. Protect their hearts and mind from unfathomable trauma. Plant seeds of hope and vision in their lives. And as we pray for them, teach us how to advocate for them. Amen. "We don't call them refugees. We call them relatives. We don't call them camps but centers. Dignity is so important." -  local Iraqi priest whose church has welcomed many "relatives" to their church's property

It's always a privilege to be invited into peoples' home for tea - even if it's a temporary tent. This is an extended Yezidi family that fled the Mosul, Iraq area because of ISIS. It's indeed true that Christians were targeted by ISIS and thatbstory muat be shared but other minority groups like the Yezidis were also targeted. Some of their heartbreaking stories included the kidnapping of their sister. They shared that their father passed away shortly of a "broken heart." The conversation was emotional but afterwards, we asked each other for permission to take photos. Once the selfies came out, the real smiles came out.

So friends: Pray for Iraq. Pray for the persecuted Church. Pray for Christians, minority groups like the Yezidis who fear they will e completely wiped out in the Middle East,, and Muslims alike who are all suffering under ISIS. Friends: I'm traveling in the Middle East this week - Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. (Make sure you follow my pics/stories on IG stories). Specifically, I'm here representing @onedayswages to meet, learn, and listen to pastors, local leaders, NGOs, and of course directly from refugees from within these countries - including many from Syria.

For security purposes, I haven't been able to share at all but I'm now able to start sharing some photos and stories. For now, I'll be sharing numerous photos through my IG stories and will be sharing some longer written pieces in couple months when ODW launches another wave of partnerships to come alongside refugees in these areas. Four of us are traveling together also for the purpose of creating a short documentary that we hope to release early next year.

While I'm on my church sabbatical, it's truly a privilege to be able to come to these countries and to meet local pastors and indigenous leaders that tirelessly pursue peace and justice, and to hear directly from refugees. I've read so many various articles and pieces over the years and I thought I was prepared but it has been jarring, heartbreaking,  and gut wrenching. In the midst of such chaos, there's hope but there's also a lot of questions, too.

I hope you follow along as I share photos, stories, and help release this mini-documentary. Please tag friends that might be interested.

Please pray for safety, for empathy, for humility and integrity, for divine meetings. Pray that we listen well; To be present and not just be a consumer of these vulnerable stories. That's my biggest prayer.

Special thanks to @worldvisionusa and @worldrelief for hosting us on this journey. 9/11
Never forget.
And never stop working for peace.

Today, I had some gut wrenching and heart breaking conversations about war, violence, and peacemaking. Mostly, I listened. Never in my wildest imagination did I envision having these conversations on 9/11 of all days. I wish I could share more now but I hope to later after I process them for a few days.

But indeed: Never forget.
And never stop working for peace.
May it be so. Amen. Mount Rainier is simply epic. There's nothing like flying in and out of Seattle.

#mountrainier
#seattle
#northwestisbest

my tweets

  • Boom. Final fishing trip. Grateful. A nice way to end my 3 month sabbatical. #catchandrelease twitter.com/i/web/status/9… || 1 day ago
  • Christians: May we be guided by the Scriptures that remind us, "Seek first the Kingdom of God" and not, "Seek first the kingdom of America." || 1 day ago
  • Every convo with Iraqi/Syrian refugees included: 1 Have tea with us 2 We want peace 3 We hate ISIS 4 We want to go home 5 Don't forget us || 4 days ago
  • Back safely from Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan to assess @OneDaysWages' partnerships & to film mini-documentary on refugee crisis. So many emotions. || 4 days ago
  • Pray for Mexico. For those mourning loved ones. For those fighting for life - even under rubbles. For rescue workers. Lord, in your mercy. || 4 days ago
  • Don't underestimate what God can do through you. God has a very long history of using foolish and broken people for His purposes and glory. || 6 days ago