Eugene Cho

redefining success

There’s so much more I can say but I tried to make my point in six minutes.

Couple weeks ago, I self-filmed this video for an online conference called The Nines. Unfortunately, my video didn’t actually make the cut that day but got archived as an “exclusive web content.”

Aren’t you special? Here’s access to the exclusive web content:

In this video, I was attempting to explain what I have been wrestling for a very long time:

How do I define success as a pastor?

It’s very honest.

If there’s anything I’d like for you to take away from this video, it’s this:

“Be faithful.”

Perhaps it’s appropriate that I’m sharing this video during the week when lists of the 100 most influential churches (and pastors?) are being distributed through some publications.

These lists have their places. We can be mature enough to acknowledge that. But besides 100 pastors (and 100 churches), the rest of us didn’t make this list. But don’t worry. Don’t fret about making this list:

By God’s grace, just be the most influential and loving pastor of your own church.

Let me know what you think…

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10 Responses

  1. Ben from TIC says:

    Yeah, along the same lines as being faithful I’d add being present. I serve youth ministry, and being faithful and present is 90% of what I do. If you’re there and can listen, they’ll listen to you and listen to the Word of God you share. Faithfulness, one of the fruits of the Spirit.

  2. Dave says:

    Eugene,

    Thanks for this. It was very timely and convicting.

  3. I’m the most influential and loving mommy of my own family…gotta start somewhere!

  4. Jesse Sudirgo says:

    Good word bro.

  5. yaakova says:

    Absolutely wonderful and inspiring video!

  6. anonymous says:

    amen brotha! Yes, we must define success through God’s eyes and not through the eyes of man. Our greatest calling is to grow in love and obedience to Jesus. This is the first and greatest and commandment. If we understand this to be true, success is available for every believer no matter what our ministries look like. As we seek His heart for others, we find that the second commandment comes from a natural overflow of our obedience to the first and greatest commandment. We know that ministry is born out of His heart and desire, not ours.

    There are only a handful in the earth who will have huge ministries in terms of size and impact and it’s only through His grace that they exist anyway. In the end when we stand before the Judgement seat of Christ, we’ll be evaluated and rewarded primarily for our heart’s response in this life and not on what we accomplished for the Kingdom.

    Bless you brotha… may God continue to reveal His heart for you, your family, your church, and to all those that need the Messiah!

  7. David says:

    This was a really great reminder Eugene. Thanks for that. I hope you get some rest and quality time with your fam and return to Quest refreshed.

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One Day’s Wages

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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 Part 2 on my wrestling with the complex issue of human trafficking. In part, documenting my trip to Thailand for @onedayswages...to listen, learn, and visit one of our partner orgs @thefreedomstory. More to come.

There's such painful and poignant irony in pursuing justice...unjustly. One way we do this is when we reduce people into projects...and thus, propagating the dangerous power dynamic of US as heroes and THEM as helpless and exclusively as victims. So dangerous.

Human trafficking is not just an issue. It’s ultimately, about people. Depending on the sources of statistics, there are anywhere from 29-40 million people in some form of forced labor and slavery, including sex trafficking.

And one thing I’ve learned, personally, is how easy it is easy to reduce people into projects which is why mutuality, reciprocity, and dignity are so vital. These are critical because God never intended people to be reduced into projects.

We forget this and we indirectly foster a culture and system of victimization or worse, the pornification of the poor or in this case, "the trafficked." And when you start dehumanizing the poor or trafficked, you have no genuine desire to build relationships with them. You believe or build stereotypes in broad strokes, singular, black and white narratives that have been told about them. You believe the lie that they have nothing to teach us and are incapable of contributing to the larger society.

Lord, break our hearts for the things that break your heart. Give us eyes to see others through your eyes. Give us humility so that we acknowledge our own need to learn and grow. (Photo via @thefreedomstory) May our hearts break for injustice and exploitation - whether abroad or in our own backyard. Spending a few days for @onedayswages in Thailand. Along with one of our board members, I'm traveling with a group of 10 others to learn, listen and visit a few NGOs including one of our partners, @thefreedomstory. Couple days ago, we spent an evening walking through Soi Cowboy. On a given night, about 10,000 people are in the ring of prostitution in Soi Cowboy, Nana Plaza, and Patpong. Much of this is driven by the consumer demand. Approximately 70% of male tourists go to Thailand for the sex industry.

Human trafficking is complex. Anyone that says otherwise is lying or selling you something. 
To reduce it to simple terms, or simple problems, or simple solutions…cause harmful consequences. While we can all agree that it is sinful, egregious, evil, and wrong…there are many nuances and complexities. It would serve all of us to grow deep in the awareness not just of the larger issue but the nuances and complexities.

When people speak of human trafficking, they tend to be ‘attracted’ to the issue of sexual exploitation. Dare I say it, human trafficking has become trendy as a justice issue.

Clearly, it’s evil and egregious. But to reduce the entire issue of human trafficking into one form is not helpful. Because the mission is to fight the entire injustice of slavery. And if that’s the commitment, we have to not only combat sexual exploitation but engage in issues of poverty, forced labor, commercial exploitation in tourism, land rights and power abuses, organized crime networks, cultural and economic realities, etc.

Oh, it's so complex but we have to be engaged whether in Thailand or in our own backyards. May our hearts break for the things that break the heart of God... More thoughts to come.

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