About three months ago, an amazing “miracle” took place. Interbay Church – a 65 year old, traditional, older, and mostly Anglo church – decided to “close” down and join Quest Church – a 6 year old, emerging, urban, and multiethnic churchplant. In closing their church and merging with Quest, Interbay gave to Quest ALL of their assets which includes a church building and small warehouse conservatively valued at $6 million dollars. Even more miraculously, nearly all of their 50 adults – thus far – have decided to become part of Quest.
Here’s another article that was recently published in the Companion Magazine:
At first glance, Cho and Bartel are an unlikely pair. Cho, thirty-six, wears chunky-framed glasses, dresses fashionably, and as pastor of an up-and coming multiethnic emerging church made up of twenty- and thirtysomethings, he’s been quoted often in Seattle’s two newspapers, the Times and the Post-Intelligencer. Bartel, sixty-one, is a pastor-shepherd in the truest sense of the word…
Make no mistake about it, however, Cho and Bartel are tight. They have spent many hours in prayer and conversation over the decision to unite their ministries. They speak in almost reverent tones of each other. It is clear in an interview in May that they enjoy each other’s company.
“We’ve been dating way too long,” says Cho. “My wife is a little jealous of Pastor Ray. I did tell her, though, that when the merger happens in June, we’re not kissing.” [Read full article]
Almost three months have passed and I get frequent emails and questions, internally and externally, asking in some form or another: “How’s it going?”
Well, it’s been going well – on the most part. But, let me be honest. It hasn’t always been easy and it’s painful to see some folks that are really struggling. It’s been a challenge but the benefits and pluses far outweigh the negatives. The two churches
are were VERY different and that’s both the beauty and challenge. On the most part, I would say that about 80% of the church community are flowing with things. However, there’s about 10% from the former Interbay “Community” that naturally and understandably are struggling with this process called c-h-a-n-g-e. About 10%+ from Quest are struggling because returning to the “traditional” building from our cafe space/quest ethos exemplifies much of what they fled away from – “institutional religion.”
Another way to put it is that “the honeymoon’s over.” The pastoral staff have tried to be pastorally sensitive – especially to the older Interbay community but more change is coming. Before the churches decided to come together, the leadership team at Quest clearly explained to Interbay some of the change that would need to take place. And so, that time has come. This upcoming Sunday, we’ll begin 27 days of renovation. While there won’t be any major changes, people will be walking into a dramatically different looking sanctuary on Sunday, September 23. Here are some of the renovations that will take place. *We’re still receiving donations if you’ve got a few thousand dollars you’d like to give away as a tax-deductible donation.
If Quest folks [meaning the WHOLE church] are reading this blog, thanks both for your courage and your patience. Yes, the honeymoon’s over but even deeper days are ahead. I sincerely believe that. We can soon stop worrying about stuff and focus on the heart of Quest: Soul, Community, Justice and Compassion, and Global Presence.
pictures by Leo Chen Photography