Eugene Cho

the beauty of diversity, community, and uniqueness

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Ministry has its up and downs. Such is life.

But one of the joys of planting and pastoring Quest Church is that it’s one of the most unique and diverse communities I have been a part of. This isn’t meant to be a slam against homogeneous churches.  In fact, I believe that every community is multicultural on some level – [Hint: think beyond race.]  While I miss (very much) the uniqueness of my experiences in Korean-American churches – food, generations, languages, etc. (and still am involved in KA/Asian communities), I now understand why God called Minhee and I to venture out from our homogeneous suburban church into the city to plant Quest and Q Cafe.

While we have a long way to go, we’re thankful that Quest is growing as a multicultural, multigenerational, and urban faith community – with a desire to be an incarnational presence both in the city of Seattle and the larger world – teaching and living out the Gospel of Christ.

Questions: What are ways that you encourage your community to grow in diversity, community, and uniqueness?

These are my encouragements to fellow leaders and pastors:

  1. Know the diversity of your community.  Simply, do you know their stories?  They may “look” the same but they represent different ‘cultures’ – if not ethnicities.  We all have diverse stories.  If you know their stories, are you making their stories known?  FWIW, this is my story.
  2. Nevertheless, have a vision of the larger Kingdom and the “future Church” and consider what it looks like to take “one step closer…” Even if your church community isn’t ethnically diverse, how are you personally building friendships and encouraging your congregants to live in friendship with neighbors and the  larger community?  How is your church serving  “other” churches and communities – especially those that don’t look like yours?  You don’t have to put all your eggs in one basket and think that “worshipping together” is the only expression.  Think outside of Sundays and outside the building box.
  3. Be committed to the truth that each person is uniquely created in the image of God.  Consider the lessons learned from the story of Susan Boyle of Britain’s Got Talent and meditate on this quote from C. S. Lewis in The Weight Of Glory.

“There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations – these are mortal , and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with , work with, marry, snub, and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendors. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of the kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously – no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption. and our charity must be a real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in sprite of which we love the sinner – no mere tolerance, or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment. Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses. If he is your Christian neighbor, he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ vere latitat – the glorifier and the glorified, Glory Himself, is truly hidden.”

Why did God call us to plant Quest?  It’s hard to put into words but these are some images that show why and give us great joy.  We do ministry in hopes of loving and serving people so that we may all be drawn to the Gospel of Christ.

I’m thankful for the beauty of diversity, community, and uniqueness of each person because they give me a glimpse of a larger, deeper, and fuller God and Kingdom.  When I exclusivel hang with those that look, think, and view the world just like me, I’m prone to live with blind spots…  In short, I see what I see and what I want to see.  This is why I need others and yes, why others need me.

Much thanks to Leo Chen Photography for these great pics during a recent Sunday service.

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quest church seattle

Filed under: church, churchplanting, ministry, pastors, seattle, ,

14 Responses

  1. Derek says:

    Very cool pics, Eugene. Having visited Quest several years ago, I’m amazed at the wonderful things that God continues to do through your church.

  2. steve s says:

    I’m interested…

    I have had a hard time finding resources that are true to our values, and yet diverse in viewpoint…

    it seems as though most of the resources out there that include multicultural viewpoints are about multicultural issues, as opposed to simply being about Christ, church, discipleship, etc. yet written from diverse viewpoints…

    Where do you go for authors, and other resources?

    I haven’t devoted a tremendous amount of time to this, but I have devoted some…

  3. Mario says:

    Great post, can’t wait until we get rid of the words diversity, minority, and majority.

  4. Barb says:

    Short answer for my church–we don’t get it. There is a High School down the street from our church. The demographics of that school are:
    American Indian/Alaskan Native: 1.1%
    Asian: 14.7%
    Pacific Islander: 4.2%
    Black: 6.3%
    Hispanic: 3.8%
    White: 62.7%
    Qualifing for free lunch: 21.4%
    And my own stat: Age 14-18: 100% (duh)

    Our Church (on the same street) White: 100%
    with one or two exceptions.
    Average age: 58+
    Average income: well above average.

    When we attend any school function or youth sport event we see this amazing diversity–when we go to church it does not exist. WHY would any young people be attracted to our church?

    P.S.–this is in Kitsap County, WA–just across Puget Sound from Quest.
    My prayer is for us to somehow “get it.”

  5. gar says:

    Love the Sunday school pic of the teacher reading to the kids. Brings back memories from the days where the most important thing to me was getting a fluffy pillow and a good spot…

  6. Mike says:

    _beautiful_ in the true sense of the word!

  7. diane says:

    Love it, Eugene!.. and hope for the day when we can be part of a third culture church that embraces diversity like Quest!..keep on, di

  8. Good thoughts and incredible photos. The pictures seem to encapsulate exactly what you are talking about. I think it is essential for us to BE diverse, and not try to so hard to produce diversity. When our teams, friends and colleagues are diverse, what we produce will be diverse. It isn’t something you can create, you have to live it. And I agree, it goes beyond skin color, but even that is a tall order for most churches. When the focus becomes diversity, and not loving and engaging people, we have missed the point. Keep loving people in Seattle, you are doing a great work.

  9. Adin says:

    I certainly hope that the diversity also includes folks of minority sexual orientations.

  10. Wayne Park says:

    what beautiful photos, PE
    I’m struck by the diversity in age, status, ethnicity

    For me the number 1 thing is a willingness to go to somebody that’s different from I am. Simply put, it’s crossing cultural comfort zones. I love how Nouwen puts it:

    “ministry is going to the poor and building a home there”

  11. Kathryn says:

    That was a great service. We welcomed a family from Africa into our midst, dedicated two children to the Lord and I even remember something in your sermon!! 🙂 … You spoke about how it’s time to grow up. You said something about not being a brat anymore. That convicts me over and over again. I’ve been a Christian all my life and it’s time for me to be a changed by that. I need to grow up!!!! Like I said, a great service all around.

  12. sung kim says:

    this was a great post. thank you

  13. mar says:

    wow, what a beautiful church! this made my day.

  14. […] Eugene, on April 17th, you did a posting on your blog on the beauty of the diversity of our church and why diversity is so important. It was both encouraging and challenging to me. But there was […]

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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

  • 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 || 2 days ago
  • Back safely from Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan to assess @OneDaysWages' partnerships & to film mini-documentary on refugee crisis. So many emotions. || 2 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. || 2 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. || 4 days ago
  • Father, bless these Iraqi and Syrian refugee children that have already endured so much. As we pray, teach us how t… twitter.com/i/web/status/9… || 6 days ago
  • Pray for Iraq. Pray for persecuted Church, minority groups (Yezidis) and Muslims alike who are suffering under ISIS: instagram.com/p/BZF2j6Ngrna/ || 6 days ago