Eugene Cho

an upside to the economic downturn

serve

The doom and gloom news about all things economy related can be paralyzing.  I know it’s impacting many individuals, organizations, and churches as well.  I’ll share later this week how it’s impacted my family but I wanted to share how Quest is trying to respond.  Last year, Quest was fortunate and just met our budget.  I’m not certain how since a) 2008 was the first year we hadn’t  numerically grown since the beginning of our church and b) 10% of our church have experienced job layoffs.  As difficult as the economic climate may be, this is also an incredible opportunity for the [C]hurch to be a source of care and grace to one another and the larger city and world.  Difficult times are when we can demonstrate our substance and convictions of Loving God and Loving People.

Let’s share some ideas and good news.  Question:

How are you or your church seeking to care for one another and the larger city & globe?

I recently wrote the following letter to our church sharing how we are stumbling our way to care:

Unless you’ve been living in a cave recently, you know that we’re going through a severe economic downturn. Every week, we hear more doom and gloom news about all things economy related. This city and our church community have also been impacted as well. We’ve seen many in our city affected by foreclosures and many in our church affected by layoffs and financial anxieties. To my estimation, at least 10% of our church have been laid off in the past six months.

But in the midst of this, we’re still called to maintain our faith in God. In fact, the invitation is actually bolder: Grow our faith in God. While it may be hard to see, there’s an immense upside during this economic downturn as well: It gives us at Quest more opportunities to be agents of care and grace to the city, world, and one another.

During our annual Giving Sunday campaign in November, you gave generously towards our goal of raising $50,000. While we didn’t meet the goal, we were darn close at $49,520.06. As we shared with the church community, we partnered with two local food banks at Ballard and White Center because of the food crisis impacting our fellow Seattlites. Couple weeks ago, I had a chance to visit the White Center Food Bank upon their invitation and learned that their clients have increased from 1000 families/month to 2000 families/month! Check out this video from the WC food bank:

Here are some other examples Quest have sought to do and be as agents of grace and care in the past couple months:

  • Partnered with a local Karen/Chin churchplant community with $3000 in grocery cards.
  • The To the Streets Ministry served 139 people from the ‘homeless’ community over Thanksgiving and continue to build their presence during their monthly distribution and relationship meetings.
  • We partnered w/ Q Cafe and Nickelesville for a benefit concert to encourage the Nickelsville Homeless Community and raised nearly $3k.
  • Global Market hosted by the Global Presence Ministry raised $3806.21 in December for global causes.
  • And each month, our co-conspirators Q Café, donates 10% of their sales to a local non-profit doing great work locally or globally. For this month, the proceeds go to Operation Nightwatch.

And this doesn’t include some incredible stuff that individuals and community groups are doing through the ‘Good Neighbor Fund.‘  The Seattle Times featured Quest in December about generosity.  In short, we want to thank you for your generosity and partnership.

But as we seek to love the city and the larger world, we’re also committed to caring for one another during this economic downturn. Hear this carefully and loudly: No one at our church should be homeless, hungry, without electricity, or not have access to certain basic but essential needs. You gave nearly $25,000 specifically to help Questers and we have additional funds in our budget to help those in need. And numerous have asked if the church community is doing ok because they’re prepared to give beyond their normal giving to come alongside those in this season of need.  We also have folks that have empty rooms and couches available for you just in case.

In short, this is an opportunity for us to care for one another as well. You’re not alone – We are family and the Body of Christ to one another. If Quest is your home church and you’re in need of some financial assistance, please email Pastor DeAnza at deanza@seattlequest.org. Your request will remain anonymous.

We also want to equip you with resources and community.  Last month, we hosted the Faith and Economics depth class and learned about topics such as Budgeting, Credit, Renting/Co-Housing/Buying, Simplicity, Faithful Investing, etc.  If you’ve been laid off recently, looking for work, or simply unsure about your vocation, Quest is hosting a ‘Vocational Revisioning’ group for two months on Sundays at 3-4.30pm (@ Q Café and beginning this Sunday). Simply, we want to remind people that they’re not alone. Join the facilitator, J.P. Kang, for fellowship, discussion, prayer, Scriptures, and encouragement. To RSVP or for more info: office@seattlequest.org.

pastor eugene

Filed under: christianity, church, emerging church, ministry, quest church, seattle

10 Responses

  1. Matt says:

    side question. what would your church have done if you guys did NOT meet your budget? that’s our church every year….

  2. sakokassabian says:

    This is great Eugene.

    I really think this is our chance, as Christians, to step up to the plate, stand as one, and serve our community. Churches in the community need to start talking to each other now and instead of each church doing their own thing, we need to work together and use our resources.

    Oh and thanks for inspiring me at the Idea Camp to finally start my blog. 🙂

  3. Tracy says:

    This is one of the reasons why I am so blessed by Quest and pastor Eugene, their hearts are in the right place!

    I love this blog entry. Our church here in Maryland is struggling financially but is committed to giving to a local food shelter. The interim pastor spoke on our need to pray for our church members and to ask God for wisdom on how we can care for each other.

    WE need to care for the poor, period. No excuses.

  4. erin claire marcus says:

    thank you for your acts of kindness in a sometimes harsh world. i am a single, bi-polar, homeless, jobless, pregnant 36 year old woman in eugene, oregon. despite the hardships i have faced and face now, i am supremely optimistic. i do believe situations can improve with love, kindness, sharing and sensitivity to our own needs and those of the people around us. i love hearing about acts of generosity and love. thank you for sharing yourselves and your resources. you are the people who make the statement true that “love makes the world go ’round.” thank you for brightening my day. peace.

  5. Rachel says:

    Wow. Thank you for encouraging the church.

  6. Tom says:

    The churches I know best are panicking like everybody else ;^). Glad to hear you’re trying to lead people down a more fruitful path.

    Wrote the following to friends and supporters just before Christmas:

    “Dropped by a downtown deli I like here in Denver a few weeks ago with my son Andrew and his friend Eli.

    While placing my order I noticed that next to the cash register they had a largely empty ‘tip’ jar labeled ‘Our 401(k) Account’ with just a few dollars in it.

    I pointed to the couple of bills and the small pile of loose change in the jar and told the young guy with dreads behind the counter, ‘Don’t feel bad, after the past 6 months that’s about all I have left in my own retirement account.’

    He laughed. Andrew and Eli laughed.

    I laughed too, but only because I’ve always enjoyed a little dark humor now and then. :^)

    Don’t worry. I’m not going to launch into doom and gloom about how much the economy sucks right now. We all know it and feel it. Enough said.

    Those of us who follow Jesus also know that we don’t have to fear for our financial future like those who put their trust in money. So no mini-sermon about that here either.

    But I did want take a couple of lines to encourage you to join me in what I’m calling an Emmanuel Challenge. Basically, I want to act on my faith that ‘God is with us’ during dicey economic times.

    I’m making extra financial contributions this month and early next year beyond our normal giving, even though—like pretty much everybody I know–our own income stream has already taken some hits and may take some more.

    I believe God will honor that kind of risk taking in my family’s financial future and will use it as a witness to neighbors who are struggling to fight off the fear.

    In many ways, that’s what this whole financial crisis has become—people acting out of fear in large enough numbers that it creates a kind of systemic paralysis.

    If fear is the disease right now, faith is the cure.

    I can’t think of a better Christmas gift to ourselves and to others than to act faithfully with our money in a fearful season.

  7. Just Meee~ says:

    I love your graphics… where do you get ’em? I’d love to steal this one… it’s truly beautiful !

  8. eugenecho says:

    @matt: i don’t think much would have changed. in fact, i’m pretty certain that we would have proceeded with these things. it’s just part of our culture.

    having said that, if we didn’t meet our budget, we would have cut some stuff. the issue is where since we run a pretty lean budget. we also have savings that we could have dipped into if necessary.

    @just meee: purchased this particular one from some company years ago. it was like 1K images for $50 or something like that.

  9. […] a collapse or a spiritual recession in the West?  Well, these are certainly challenging times but just like the current economic recession, I see this as an opportunity for the “evangelical church” to re-discover their […]

  10. […] weeks ago, I shared about how our church is being affected and how we’re choosing to respond.  Thus far, the trend continues:  more layoffs and only […]

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One Day’s Wages

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To support both the equality of women and the dignity of the unborn feels like a very lonely place to be but I know we're not alone. May we press on. And may we lead with hope.

I'm at the Women's March in Seattle to show my solidarity with my wife, my mothers, my daughters, and the female congregants of my church. I'm also here to model for my son what we believe in our home. Many people have already expressed their disappointment, dismay, and disgust with my decision. Such is life. We will always disappoint someone. And that's also a lot of words that begin with "d." I'm here not because I agree or disagree with every single statement or sign at this march (although I really liked this one) but because as a Christian, I believe in the fundamental truth that women are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God. They are to be valued, heard, and respected.

And because I believe we can't be a flourishing society without the flourishing of women. And because the Church cannot be the Church without the gifts and voices of women. All the gifts of women.

And in doing so, may we together honor the sanctity of life - from womb to tomb. 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

my tweets

  • Really loved this sign from the women's march from one of our church congregants. Counter cultural. Subversive. L… twitter.com/i/web/status/8… || 4 hours ago
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  • To support both the equality of women & the dignity of the unborn feels like a very lonely place to be but we're not alone. May we press on. || 8 hours ago
  • Going to the Women's March in Seattle bc as a Christian, I believe women are fearfully and wonderfully made and are to be heard & respected. || 11 hours ago
  • Christians: May we be guided by the Scriptures that remind us, "Seek first the Kingdom of God" and not, "Seek first the kingdom of America." || 12 hours ago
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