Eugene Cho

an upside to the economic downturn

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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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"He must become greater; I must become less." - John 3:30 We have to remind ourselves of this truth every day lest we forget:

Our greatest calling as followers of Christ is to be faithful. Not spectacular. Not glamorous. Not popular. Not relevant.

Be faithful.

PS: Also, it helps to get some Vitamin D especially if you live in the rainy Northwest Thank you, Brooklyn, for the reminder. Umm, @jlin7 is a Christian but he wasn't very Christlike with me on the basketball court. He muscled me into the paint, dunked on me, mentioned my momma, and then said, "Stick with preaching." Just kidding. Kind of.

If you haven't heard, Jeremy Lin is donating his one games wages (approximately $140,000) and an additional $100 for every 3 pointer made to support Girls' Empowerment and Education through @onedayswages. That game is this Friday vs the Boston Celtics!

Join his campaign as he's inviting his fans to donate just $7. - http://onedayswages.org/jlin

Did you know that 32 million girls of lower secondary school age are not enrolled in school.

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The answer to who you serve makes all the difference... It's the day after International Women's Day - and it's still important to celebrate the contribution of women in our lives, society, and world. As we honor women all around the world, I'm also reminded of how women and children are those who are most deeply impacted by injustice - especially poverty.

Sadly, I have witnessed this reality in too many places. ​In 2012, I traveled to a remote area in Eastern Kenya as part of a @onedayswages response to a famine that struck the Horn of Africa region. This famine impacted nearly 13 million people and according to some sources, took the lives of about 250,000 people. During my trip there, I had the chance of meeting many people but the person that still remains in my memory was a Muslim woman named Sahara.

She was so hospitable in inviting us to her small and temporary home. During our conversation, I learned that ​Sahara traveled 300 kilometers (a little under 200 miles) – some by cart and some by foot – as they sought to escape the worst drought that has impacted East Africa (Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia) in the past 60 years.

This is not a misprint.
200.

She traveled about 200 miles on cart and foot. ​And all along, she was ill. If you look closely ​at the photo, you might notice the large lump in her throat - likely a large cancerous tumor.​ She did not travel alone. She traveled with her husband who I was not able to meet because he was staying with one of his five other wives in this polygamist community.  She did not travel alone. She also traveled with her six children – the youngest being about 1 and the oldest being around 8. She had just given birth to her sixth child when they began her journey. Her youngest was severely malnourished when they arrived to this new settlement in a town called Benane. 
Sahara and her children all survived this journey. They survived because she persisted. 
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