Eugene Cho

“everything redeemable…”

About 7 or 8 months ago, I did an interview with Outreach Magazine about…umm…outreach but the article was just published for Jan/Feb 08.  These people certainly plan in advance!  I think I surprised them when I shared honestly that I don’t ever remember ever using the word “outreach” since we planted Quest Church.  I wasn’t trying to be smart-arsy about it because I know the importance of the traditional language of ‘outreach’ but I was trying to convey that in my ecclesiology, outreach really wasn’t an event, a thing, or something that you necessarily do but rather a lifestyle, presence, and worldview; Not an accessory but something that is inside you and thus, it’s not outreach but the very expression of living it out daily.  It’s incarnational.  Outreaches are good…nothing wrong with them per se.  Church do “outreaches” because it’s a platform to help people enage in outreaches but if we’re not careful, we end up teaching christians to be programatic and fragmented but not necessarily incarnational.

Remember I wrote couple months ago about a photo shoot where I had to take several hundred shots [for that one perfect picture]?  Well, they didn’t quite find the perfect picture.  When I showed my wife the article and picture, she actually busted out in laughter citing how big the dot on my nose looked!  Here’s one quote from the article [you can also click on the pic below to view the entire article]:

Q: Why do you think Quest Church is receiving such a positive response from the unchurched in Seattle? 

A: I had an interview with The Seattle Times a few months ago and the reporter said that Christians think Seattle is godless, and I had to stop him because I was so offended by that! I think it’s ridiculous for Christians or the Church to say that our cities or our countries are godless. That’s a very grave statement because it betrays a worldview that defies the realm of God’s power. I believe that all people have the capacity to see God, or to rebel against God, and that makes everything redeemable. Nothing is outside the redemptive power and grace of Jesus Christ. Knowing this has been really helpful for us in the way that we go about our ministry. As a result, our church is very committed to being as honest as possible about our agenda to present the Gospel. When I’m teaching, I purposefully use words like “agenda.” I say that my agenda is to communicate as effectively as possible the amazing, captivating grace of Jesus Christ. I think it has resonated with people, particularly the urbanites of Seattle.

outreachphoto2.jpg

FYI, things have changed since 7 months ago.  Q Cafe is going through some remodeling and revitalization right now as things aren’t going all that great right now.  Fow now, we’ve chosen to focus our time and energies to four main areas:  Cafe, Art Gallery, Live Music, and Community Space.

Anyway, thanks to Outreach Magazine for seeking, writing, and printing the interview.

Filed under: religion, , ,

9 Responses

  1. Liz says:

    Eugene,

    Great article. Good that you’ve got a sense of humor with Photoshop!

  2. Wayne Park says:

    my experience with YWAM taught me that “outreach” can be a selfish thing. We do it as a merit badge, sometimes as an almost purging kind of thing. Particularly in the overseas context, it’s done more for our own development and maturation. Some cutting edge thinkers recognize the flaw in this, how can we reach the nations if it’s for our own benefit?

  3. j says:

    Wayne,

    I completely agree with you.
    “your left hand should not know what your right hand is doing”. Have seen too many “christians” taking on different positions. Or going on 1 week mission to mexico to build houses. Those mexican can build houses on their own if you give them money. Or mission to Africa….all the money used for these overseas trip by Americans…is it really justified. 1 week overseas with those who are hungry, yes it will have a everlasting memories of your accomplishments. however, the $3000 you spent for the trip, could have fed one Kenyan child for 3000 days. or $1500 you spent, you could have sent a little mexican kid named Juan a school for a year.

    Fellow christians, lets not be consumed by the promise of fantastic christian experience but really think about what other method of help are available…

  4. j says:

    can you slick it all back with no parting and no superman curls?

  5. Wayne: I was not surprised to hear such wisdom from someone with a Transformers avatar.

  6. Ben C says:

    I’m coming to learn you love to be in front of the camera

  7. e cho says:

    ben: i dislike being in front of the camera but have learned to be comfortable with it.

  8. chad says:

    i’m proud of you for avoiding use of the word “missional” when talking about outreach!

  9. djchuang says:

    you’d think they coulda photoshop’d the dot out of there; all the other magazines photoshop and airbrush the photos of their models… maybe they wanted to keep it “real”?

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Father - daughters bonding (and freezing) time at the Seahawks game. Grateful to the Panthers organization for the tickets. Now, go Hawks. Pound the Panthers. The family that karaokes together stays together. #ChoFamilyKPopFamily Family time in one of my favorite cities in the world - especially when the exchange rate is so favorable. Thank you, Vancouver, for being such a great refuge for our souls for the past 20 years. #QuestVancouver It's the day after...that day.
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It's never that perfect or easy but that we get to try to do these things is reason enough to be grateful to the One who gives us life.

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#PreachingToMyself This is what real life looks like after a crazy couple weeks. Grateful for this woman. I love her. She's gonna scream at me for posting this pic. #ThoseSocksThough Grateful for the opportunity to encourage 2500 youth leaders & pastors at the @youthspecialties conference in Cincinnati, Ohio. Had prayed for wisdom to encourage leaders and courage to navigate a word for leaders post election about empathy and compassion for the unseen, marginalized, and those experiencing real fear.

Also, what a joy to have my church's youth pastor, @cobycagle, also here teaching. Some years ago, I was a youth pastor for several years in California, Korea, NY, and NJ. They were meaningful years but filled with challenges and loneliness. Sometimes, I felt unseen and insignificant - in comparison to "real" adult ministry. As a lead pastor now, I want to make sure I don't make those mistakes of overlooking our youth and children's ministry and their volunteers and staff. 
Pastor Coby, Pastor Katey, Pam, Jalle, and Jasmin: We see you. We appreciate you. We are grateful for your presence and leadership at Quest and beyond. Thank you and all of our amazing volunteers

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