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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As I soaked in this breathtaking sunrise this morning above the clouds, I felt compelled to pray for so my places in America and around the world that are experiencing such pain, heartache, injustice, and violence. At times, it feels so overwhelming but in prayer, I was reminded of these words from John 16:33. As we keep striving, working, hoping, preaching, loving, truthtelling, reconciling, repenting, forgiving, dismantling, peacemaking, Kingdom building...may we fix our eyes on Christ: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33 Grateful for a very full weekend of ministry and preaching in Toronto, Canada (GTA). Such a privilege to partner with @worldvisioncan @wvcollective to advocate for the most vulnerable around the world. God is so gracious. A true honor to meet and encourage local pastors, lecture at Tyndale University & Seminary (photo), and preach at Richmond Hills Community Church, Compass Point Bible Church, and New City Church. Thank you, Lord, that you use broken and imperfect people like me to speak of Your love. Today, Minhee and I dropped off our eldest child at her college. We have been thinking and praying about this day for many years. On some days, we hoped it would never come. On other days, we couldn't wait for it to come. On some days, we prayed for time to stop and other days, we prayed with anticipation. 
After an entire summer of laughing it off, it hit us...hard...this week. Seeing all of her stuff laid out on the basement floor was the catalyst to a load of emotions.

After unloading the car and taking her stuff to her new home for this year and mindful that she might never live with us again; helping sort out her stuff, saying hello to her roommates...I wasn't sure what to do or say.

A flood of thoughts rushed my mind.

Is she ready?
Have we done enough?
Have we taught her enough? 
What if this? What if that?

And so we shared what we have shared with her the moment she began to understand words: "Remember who you are. Remember WHO you belong to. Remember what you're about. God loves you so much. Please hold God's Word and His promises close and dear to your heart. We love you so much and we are so proud of you." And with that, we said goodbye. Even if she may not be thousands of miles away, this is a new chapter for her and even for us. I kept it composed. Her roommate was staring at me. I didn't want to be that father. I have street cred to uphold. Another final hug. 
And I came home.
And I wept.
Forget my street cred.
I miss her. I love her.
She will always be my little baby.

I'm no parenting guru. I just laughed as I wrote that line. No, I'm stumbling and bumbling along but I'd love to share an ephiphany I learned not that long ago. Coming to this realization was incredibly painful but simultaneously, liberating. To be honest, it was the ultimate game-changer in my understanding as a parent seeking after the heart of God.

While there are many methods, tools, philosophies, and biblical principles to parenting, there is – in my opinion – only one purpose or destination.

Our purpose as parents is to eventually…release them. Send forth. For His glory. Met a friend and fellow pastor who I haven't seen in over 20 years. In him, I saw a glimpse of my future. While only 10 years older, his kids are married and he's now a grandfather of 3. His love for his wife and family were so evident and his passion for the Gospel has not wavered. It was so good to see someone a bit older still passionately serving the Lord with such joy and faithfulness. Lord, help me to keep running the race for your Glory. Happy wife.
Happy life. - Eugenius 3:16

I still remember that time, many years ago, when Minhee was pregnant with our first child. She had left her family and friends in Korea just two years before. Her morning sickness was horrible and when she finally had an appetite, she craved her favorite Korean food from certain restaurants in her neighborhood in Seoul, Korea. I had no way of getting that food from those restaurants so I actually said, "How about a Whopper? Big Mac?" Sorry honey. Eat away. You deserve it. I don't care if it sounds mushy but sunsets are one of my love languages. Seoul, Korea was amazing but WOW...what a breathtaking welcome back sunset by Seattle. Not ready to let go of summer.

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