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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As I soaked in this breathtaking sunrise this morning above the clouds, I felt compelled to pray for so my places in America and around the world that are experiencing such pain, heartache, injustice, and violence. At times, it feels so overwhelming but in prayer, I was reminded of these words from John 16:33. As we keep striving, working, hoping, preaching, loving, truthtelling, reconciling, repenting, forgiving, dismantling, peacemaking, Kingdom building...may we fix our eyes on Christ: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33 Grateful for a very full weekend of ministry and preaching in Toronto, Canada (GTA). Such a privilege to partner with @worldvisioncan @wvcollective to advocate for the most vulnerable around the world. God is so gracious. A true honor to meet and encourage local pastors, lecture at Tyndale University & Seminary (photo), and preach at Richmond Hills Community Church, Compass Point Bible Church, and New City Church. Thank you, Lord, that you use broken and imperfect people like me to speak of Your love. Today, Minhee and I dropped off our eldest child at her college. We have been thinking and praying about this day for many years. On some days, we hoped it would never come. On other days, we couldn't wait for it to come. On some days, we prayed for time to stop and other days, we prayed with anticipation. 
After an entire summer of laughing it off, it hit us...hard...this week. Seeing all of her stuff laid out on the basement floor was the catalyst to a load of emotions.

After unloading the car and taking her stuff to her new home for this year and mindful that she might never live with us again; helping sort out her stuff, saying hello to her roommates...I wasn't sure what to do or say.

A flood of thoughts rushed my mind.

Is she ready?
Have we done enough?
Have we taught her enough? 
What if this? What if that?

And so we shared what we have shared with her the moment she began to understand words: "Remember who you are. Remember WHO you belong to. Remember what you're about. God loves you so much. Please hold God's Word and His promises close and dear to your heart. We love you so much and we are so proud of you." And with that, we said goodbye. Even if she may not be thousands of miles away, this is a new chapter for her and even for us. I kept it composed. Her roommate was staring at me. I didn't want to be that father. I have street cred to uphold. Another final hug. 
And I came home.
And I wept.
Forget my street cred.
I miss her. I love her.
She will always be my little baby.

I'm no parenting guru. I just laughed as I wrote that line. No, I'm stumbling and bumbling along but I'd love to share an ephiphany I learned not that long ago. Coming to this realization was incredibly painful but simultaneously, liberating. To be honest, it was the ultimate game-changer in my understanding as a parent seeking after the heart of God.

While there are many methods, tools, philosophies, and biblical principles to parenting, there is – in my opinion – only one purpose or destination.

Our purpose as parents is to eventually…release them. Send forth. For His glory. Met a friend and fellow pastor who I haven't seen in over 20 years. In him, I saw a glimpse of my future. While only 10 years older, his kids are married and he's now a grandfather of 3. His love for his wife and family were so evident and his passion for the Gospel has not wavered. It was so good to see someone a bit older still passionately serving the Lord with such joy and faithfulness. Lord, help me to keep running the race for your Glory. Happy wife.
Happy life. - Eugenius 3:16

I still remember that time, many years ago, when Minhee was pregnant with our first child. She had left her family and friends in Korea just two years before. Her morning sickness was horrible and when she finally had an appetite, she craved her favorite Korean food from certain restaurants in her neighborhood in Seoul, Korea. I had no way of getting that food from those restaurants so I actually said, "How about a Whopper? Big Mac?" Sorry honey. Eat away. You deserve it. I don't care if it sounds mushy but sunsets are one of my love languages. Seoul, Korea was amazing but WOW...what a breathtaking welcome back sunset by Seattle. Not ready to let go of summer.

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