Eugene Cho

humble beginnings

We hosted the first “info meeting” for the global poverty organization this past Saturday at Q Cafe.  Like any new ventures, Minhee and I were anxious if anyone would show up.  Well, to be honest, I was anxious…Minhee rarely gets anxious about such things.

Everything needs a beginning and while you may hear stories of things that begin with a HUGE BANG, I think most things begin with a whisper or a whimper.  At least that’s the case with me.

During our first gathering for Quest Church, 7 people showed up.  And one of them was obligated because I asked him to pick up the pizza.  I haven’t reimbursed him out of fear he’ll move on to greener pastures.

Minhee and I also had the privilege of birthing Q Cafe and we did that with about 40 people during the first year of our churchplant.  Together, we helped renovate the warehouse, raised about $80,000 to fund the vision, and compelled this person to take a 30% paycut to leave her job to become our first cafe manager.  Starting a new non-profit in the first year of a non-profit [churchplant]?  Pretty crazy but sometimes, crazy is good.

So, this past Saturday, we were joined by 22 adults, 5 kids, and 1 infant for the first meeting to reveal the name and vision of our organization.  We hope to reveal those things to the larger public and blogosphere next month.  Who knows what the Lord has in store but I want to again sincerely thank everyone that came out.  As of now, we have no office, no budget, several volunteers, a growing Facebook Group, a pending 501c3 status, and a vision to help change the world

 

The first year to all dreams, projects, ventures, plants, start-ups, businesses, blogs, marriages, etc…are always the toughest.  I have my theories but what do you think?

  • Why do you think that’s the case? 
  • What’s your humble beginning story?
  • And what would your advice me to others for the first year?

Filed under: religion

13 Responses

  1. sammie says:

    My advice would be for PATIENCE. We live in such an instant gratification mentality that people want instant results.

  2. Jan Owen says:

    We planted our church with 22 people – 8 of whom were kids!(That’s 14 adults!) We had no money and started with one acoustic guitar and myself plus a few terrified vocalists. Very simple, very humble. No real equipment to speak of and in a dirty little storefront that we tried to clean but it was just in bad shape. We’ve grown since then but our beginning always keeps me humble.

    I would say “remember it takes a lot of hard work” and “You never know what God is up to!”. God uses new ventures in unique ways I think – so don’t think you have what it’s going to look like all figured out. God probably has other, deeper plans for you and those that will be touched.

  3. Jan Owen says:

    We planted our church with 22 people – 8 of whom were kids!(That’s 14 adults!) We had no money and started with one acoustic guitar and myself plus a few terrified vocalists. Very simple, very humble. No real equipment to speak of and in a dirty little storefront that we tried to clean but it was just in bad shape. We’ve grown since then but our beginning always keeps me humble.

    I would say “remember it takes a lot of hard work” and “You never know what God is up to!”. God uses new ventures in unique ways I think – so don’t think you have what it’s going to look like all figured out. God probably has other, deeper plans for you and those that will be touched.

  4. Donna says:

    I think it happens in God’s way & God’s timing…always.

  5. smileforjc says:

    Humble beginnings in praying in a foreign language

    The first time I was asked to lead the prayer in a small ENGLISH prayer group I made such a mess that I did not know myself what I was praying for! Therefore, I just said to God, “Lord, YOU know what I wanted to pray, in Jesus name, Amen”

    Nobody laughed. Nobody was embarrassed. Somehow everyone was touched. Maybe, that’s what love is all about!

  6. Beth says:

    In reality, everybody has “humble beginnings” to use your phrase. We’re all born of woman, completely dependent, and in need of care and nurture. The latter is what sets people apart as they grow. So, I would say that one of the more important advice I would give to people is to make sure they receive good mentorship and leadership.

  7. Jenny says:

    Jesus had a very humble beginning. And look what He did. And he even said, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” John 14:12

    The enemy will do his best to throw up roadblocks and discourage. “…be strong and couragous. Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

    FYI I am dreaming big with you. I was on the verge of driving to Seattle (2 hours) for the meeting but thought it would be packed out and I might not get in. Sure wish I would have gone. I am looking forward to revealed names, plans, etc.

  8. Wayne Park says:

    If I lived in Seattle I would be with u on this one, PE..

    the first year: if I had to do it over again I would say, more homework, test the soil, wait for another year before starting, so yeah, to echo sammie: patience.

  9. eugenecho says:

    @jenny: wow.

    “…but thought it would be packed out and i might not get in.”

    thank you for believing. that comment in a strange way encouraged me.

  10. Kevin King says:

    I read this post intently because I have taken over a church that was so near death it has been like a new plant. I am currently developing my core team (probably about 25 adults) and I am also starting a new non-profit. In July, I will have one year at this new appointment.

    Thanks for the input and ideas. I pray God continues to bless your ministries.

  11. beattieblog says:

    I think the struggle with anything new is to clearly articulate the vision and trusting that those who are supposed to join in will. It’s also difficult (at least for me) to ask people to sacrifice on behalf of my vision. But this is exactly what you should do and are doing.
    I also think one of the hardest things we can do is take our dreams and visions and start to live them out. Our dreams are always so pristine and successful in our minds and notebooks. Once you put them out there, they have a chance to fail – and others put their hands to them with you which inevitably changes things (usually for the better!). This is risky. Good on you for going public.
    My humble beginning is having led a church plant for three years and then making the decision to shut it down. We could have kept going but I felt like my last good decision as the leader was going to be to release folks. I take great comfort in Wesley and others who struggled to get their vocational and ministry groove going.🙂

  12. Andrea says:

    For what it is worth, we wish we could have come but already had plans to host people at our house. We can’t wait to hear more.

  13. boundbyfaith says:

    I’ve subscribed, and added you to my blog roll. Hope you don’t mind. If you do, let me know, and I’ll remove it.

    I look forward to reading more of your posts.

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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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