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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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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