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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It. Still. Hurts.
#TamirRice Incredible news: @onedayswages is projecting to have our most impactful year as we grant out $1.3 million dollars! Thank you so much for your prayers and support...please read on to learn how you can join in our work.

As you gather with family, friends, and loved ones for Thanksgiving and the holidays, I wanted to share an opportunity. Often times, when I speak to people about the privilege of generosity, I remind them, "You don't have to but you get to." It's so true.

My wife and I (and our three kids) started ODW in 2009. We felt the Holy Spirit convicting us to give up our year's salary. It wasn't an easy thing to say "Yes" or "Amen" to but we made the decision to obey. As a result, it took us about three years to save, simplify, and sell off things we didn't need.

It's been an incredible journey as we've learned so much about the heart of God and God's love for the hurting and vulnerable around the world - particularly those living in extreme poverty. ODW is a small, scrappy, grassroots organization (with just 3 full-time employees) but since our launch, we've raised nearly $6 million dollars to help those living in extreme poverty: clean water and sanitation, education, maternal health, human trafficking, refugee crisis, hunger, and the list goes on and on.

So, here's my humble ask: As we do this work, would you consider making a pledge to support our work...so that we can keep doing this work with integrity and excellence?
You can make a one time gift or make monthly pledge of just $25 (or more). Thanks so much for considering this: http://onedayswages.org/give (link in bio, too) Don't just count your blessings. Bless others with your blessings. Here, there, everywhere. Be a blessing for this blesses our Father in Heaven and builds the Kingdom of God.

#ReThinkRegugees #WeWelcomeRefugees
@onedayswages Grateful. Still reflecting on the letters that I've received from classmates and students that have come before me and after me. Never imagined all that God would have in store for me. Lots of humbling things but in the midst of them, there were literally thousands upon thousands of daily decisions and choices to be faithful. That's what matters. Seen or unseen. Noticed or unnoticed. You do your best and sometimes you stumble and fumble along but nevertheless, seeking to be faithful.

Also, you know you're getting old when your school honors you with a Distinguished Alumni Award. Lol. 47 is the new 27. Or something like that. Here's to the next 47. In our culture, we can be so obsessed with the "spectacular" or "glamorous." The Church often engagws in thia language and paradigm...but what if God has called many of us to small, ordinary things?

Will we still be faithful?
Will we still go about such things with great love and joy?

I recently came across this picture taken by @mattylew, one of our church staff...and I started tearing up: This is my mother; in her 70s; with realities of some disabilities that make it difficult for her to stand up and sit down...but here she is on her knees and prostate in prayer. She doesn't have any social media accounts, barely knows how to use her smartphone, doesn't have a platform, hasn't written a book, doesn't have any titles in our church, isn't listed as a leader or an expert or a consultant or a guru. But she simply seeks to do her best - by God's grace - to be faithful to God. She prays for hours every day inteceding for our family, our church, and the larger world.

Even if we're not noticed or celebrated or elevated...let's be faithful. Our greatest calling as followers of Christ is to be faithful. Not spectacular. Not glamorous. Not popular. Not relevant. And not even successful in the eyes of the world.

Be faithful. Amen. #notetoself (and maybe helpful for someone else)

At times, we have to say ‘NO’ to good things to say ‘YES’ to the most important things.

We can't do it all.
Pray and choose wisely.
Then invest deeply.

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