Eugene Cho

not your typical church sleepover

I’m stumbling my way as a quasi “project manager” for our church remodel. Ahh, add more lessons learned via planting Quest six years ago.   Ready or not, we’ll cross the parking lot and return back to our new “traditional” church building on Sunday, September 23. 

We’re about 70% done with what we need to do.  This would have been a far easier thing if we had the money to simply HIRE OUT for the entire thing but so goes the law of economics.  With 70K, we’ve needed to basically remodel the entire church building that was built almost 40 years ago:

  • New Exterior Paint
  • New Interior Paint Everywhere
  • Stain Beams
  • Remove Pews and Purchase New Chairs
  • Build two Extensions for the Sanctuary
  • Create New Family Room [cryroom]
  • Update Moms’ Nursing Room
  • Paint Doors and Re-Trim everything
  • Remove a Part of the Stage and Extend Stage
  • Complete New Sound System
  • Stage Lighting for Sanctuary
  • New Fencing for the Backyard
  • New Landscaping
  • Roof Repair
  • New Signage
  • And Lots and Lots of Small Minor Things [emphasis on LOTS]

When half of the 70K budget is spent on new sanctuary chairs and sound system purchases, you’re not left with much.  This is the reason why 80% of the work that we’re doing is done w/ church volunteers.  We’re blessed with having couple architects, interior designers, several professional contractors/project managers, graphic designers, a landscape architect and friends of quest that include a seamstress, a structural engineer, a roofer, and whatever else comes up.  We’re also blessed with the staff that have worked overtime to help lead the volunteer work parties in the evenings.

Lessons learned:

  • Colors you see in paint swatch come out differently when you paint in on the wall or building.  This was a painful lesson but we feel like we got the right colors…
  • Stained beams looks incredible.
  • Having volunteers are great.
  • Having volunteers with experience is better.
  • But having volunteers – regardless – is just wonderful.
  • Make sure you order the right paint.  Ordered semi-gloss paint for all our doors but needed to have purchased “quick dry” paint but instead, ordered the normal paint which takes 24 hours to dry…which means that the church was without doors over night…which means I needed to sleep at the church.
  • BE FLEXIBLE

That’s something you can’t necessary ask others to volunteer for – especially last minute.  But fortunately, two  guys “volunteered” to hold the fort down with me.  I’m thankful for George and Jin – two brothers amongst the seven folks the joined our first bible study over six years ago.  We’ve had out tiffs and spiffs, but they have been some of the most loyal and dependable friends and partners in ministry. 

Thanks George and Jin for being there last night and freezing on the floor with me. 

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Filed under: church, churchplanting, emerging church, quest church, religion

6 Responses

  1. Rebecca says:

    As one of those volunteers without experience, I can say that stumbling along doing the work has been hard but I’m grateful for the opportunity to put some heart, soul, and sweat into this building we now call home.

  2. Randall says:

    I thought you were joking about sleeping over…now it makes sense!

  3. Shaula says:

    I’m feeling your pain. I thought I’d never make it through our warehouse reno. Thank goodness I never had to sleep there.

  4. Tract says:

    Jin and George are blessings, its no surprise they were by your side.

  5. Sue says:

    What a very ambitious and heartfelt project! I am interested in knowing what wall color you chose to paint your sanctuary. Yours is a modern church, I know, and mine is a quaint, old New England style Congregational in Massachusetts, but I’d like to know what you used, anyway. We just recently had the pipes on our beautiful old pipe organ painted gold and I thought that a very subtle grayish-green might really make those pipes stand out! I’d just like to know what others are doing! God bless you.

  6. […] after 26 very intense days, the church renovation is done.  OK, there’s a few more loose things that need to be taken care of but we worked […]

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One Day’s Wages

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Collaboration.

col·lab·o·ra·tion
kəˌlabəˈrāSH(ə)n/
noun

the action of working with someone or a group of others  to produce or create something.

May we hold our logos, egos, and tribalism have their place. May we hold them loosely for they too shall pass. May we collaborate for the sake of the greater Kingdom of God ... which endures forever. As we honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., don't forget the God behind the man. The one true God who deposited this dream into MLK is still speaking to us today. Are we listening?

Be courageous. Be brave.

Being invited by the King Family to speak at the MLK worship service at Ebenezer Baptist Church in 2016 remains one of the most unexpected honors of my life. On the right is his daughter, Dr. Bernice King and his sister, Dr. Christine King Farris. Walking throughstreet markets in different parts of the world is the best. Soaking in the culture. Listening to the local language and music. Enjoying the amazing cuisine. Meeting new friends. Praying for the Gospel to penetrate. #ChiangRai Blessed be the local, indigenous leaders for it is they who live in the very communities they seek to love. For it is they who understand their context and culture...better than a Westerner ever will. For it is they who will continue to tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love when visitors like me leave.

Yes, blessed be the local, indigenous leaders. What an honor and privilege to celebrate with the on-the-ground local @thefreedomstory team to celebrate the recent opening of their Education and Resource Center for the local youth in Chiang Rai, Thailanf. This was made possible through a partnership and matching grant by @onedayswages and The Freedom Story.

While it was an honor to be there to cut the cord and say a few words, this is an example of collaboration. Much love to the Freedom Story team including their co-founders Tawee Donchai and @Rachel Goble, to their staff who live in the community, who understand their context and culture, and who tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love. And of course, much love to the students themselves for they each matter. Finally, to each person that donated to @onedayswages to make this grant possible.

May hundreds and even thousands of youth be impacted, encouraged, and mentored. May they capture a glimpse of God's love for them.

Photo: @benjaminedwards Part 2 on my wrestling with the complex issue of human trafficking. In part, documenting my trip to Thailand for @onedayswages...to listen, learn, and visit one of our partner orgs @thefreedomstory. More to come.

There's such painful and poignant irony in pursuing justice...unjustly. One way we do this is when we reduce people into projects...and thus, propagating the dangerous power dynamic of US as heroes and THEM as helpless and exclusively as victims. So dangerous.

Human trafficking is not just an issue. It’s ultimately, about people. Depending on the sources of statistics, there are anywhere from 29-40 million people in some form of forced labor and slavery, including sex trafficking.

And one thing I’ve learned, personally, is how easy it is easy to reduce people into projects which is why mutuality, reciprocity, and dignity are so vital. These are critical because God never intended people to be reduced into projects.

We forget this and we indirectly foster a culture and system of victimization or worse, the pornification of the poor or in this case, "the trafficked." And when you start dehumanizing the poor or trafficked, you have no genuine desire to build relationships with them. You believe or build stereotypes in broad strokes, singular, black and white narratives that have been told about them. You believe the lie that they have nothing to teach us and are incapable of contributing to the larger society.

Lord, break our hearts for the things that break your heart. Give us eyes to see others through your eyes. Give us humility so that we acknowledge our own need to learn and grow. (Photo via @thefreedomstory)

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