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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stuff, connect, info

One Day’s Wages

My Instagram

Back safely from Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. Thanks for your prayers. 
I have numerous stories to share but for now, the following came up in every conversation with Iraqi/Syrian refugees:

1 Have tea with us. Or coffee. Or juice. Or something with lots of sugar in it. Or better yet, all of the above.
2 We want peace. We want security. 
3 We hate ISIS. 
4 We just want to go home.
5 Please don't forget us.

Please don't forget them... Father, please bless and protect these Iraqi and Syrian "refugee" children that have already endured so much. Protect their hearts and mind from unfathomable trauma. Plant seeds of hope and vision in their lives. And as we pray for them, teach us how to advocate for them. Amen. "We don't call them refugees. We call them relatives. We don't call them camps but centers. Dignity is so important." -  local Iraqi priest whose church has welcomed many "relatives" to their church's property

It's always a privilege to be invited into peoples' home for tea - even if it's a temporary tent. This is an extended Yezidi family that fled the Mosul, Iraq area because of ISIS. It's indeed true that Christians were targeted by ISIS and thatbstory muat be shared but other minority groups like the Yezidis were also targeted. Some of their heartbreaking stories included the kidnapping of their sister. They shared that their father passed away shortly of a "broken heart." The conversation was emotional but afterwards, we asked each other for permission to take photos. Once the selfies came out, the real smiles came out.

So friends: Pray for Iraq. Pray for the persecuted Church. Pray for Christians, minority groups like the Yezidis who fear they will e completely wiped out in the Middle East,, and Muslims alike who are all suffering under ISIS. Friends: I'm traveling in the Middle East this week - Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. (Make sure you follow my pics/stories on IG stories). Specifically, I'm here representing @onedayswages to meet, learn, and listen to pastors, local leaders, NGOs, and of course directly from refugees from within these countries - including many from Syria.

For security purposes, I haven't been able to share at all but I'm now able to start sharing some photos and stories. For now, I'll be sharing numerous photos through my IG stories and will be sharing some longer written pieces in couple months when ODW launches another wave of partnerships to come alongside refugees in these areas. Four of us are traveling together also for the purpose of creating a short documentary that we hope to release early next year.

While I'm on my church sabbatical, it's truly a privilege to be able to come to these countries and to meet local pastors and indigenous leaders that tirelessly pursue peace and justice, and to hear directly from refugees. I've read so many various articles and pieces over the years and I thought I was prepared but it has been jarring, heartbreaking,  and gut wrenching. In the midst of such chaos, there's hope but there's also a lot of questions, too.

I hope you follow along as I share photos, stories, and help release this mini-documentary. Please tag friends that might be interested.

Please pray for safety, for empathy, for humility and integrity, for divine meetings. Pray that we listen well; To be present and not just be a consumer of these vulnerable stories. That's my biggest prayer.

Special thanks to @worldvisionusa and @worldrelief for hosting us on this journey. 9/11
Never forget.
And never stop working for peace.

Today, I had some gut wrenching and heart breaking conversations about war, violence, and peacemaking. Mostly, I listened. Never in my wildest imagination did I envision having these conversations on 9/11 of all days. I wish I could share more now but I hope to later after I process them for a few days.

But indeed: Never forget.
And never stop working for peace.
May it be so. Amen. Mount Rainier is simply epic. There's nothing like flying in and out of Seattle.

#mountrainier
#seattle
#northwestisbest

my tweets

  • Boom. Final fishing trip. Grateful. A nice way to end my 3 month sabbatical. #catchandrelease twitter.com/i/web/status/9… || 20 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." || 21 hours ago
  • Every convo with Iraqi/Syrian refugees included: 1 Have tea with us 2 We want peace 3 We hate ISIS 4 We want to go home 5 Don't forget us || 3 days ago
  • Back safely from Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan to assess @OneDaysWages' partnerships & to film mini-documentary on refugee crisis. So many emotions. || 3 days ago
  • Pray for Mexico. For those mourning loved ones. For those fighting for life - even under rubbles. For rescue workers. Lord, in your mercy. || 3 days ago
  • Don't underestimate what God can do through you. God has a very long history of using foolish and broken people for His purposes and glory. || 6 days ago