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. Continue reading “the beauty of diversity, community, and uniqueness”

“new calvinism” as 3rd most powerful idea – according to time magazine

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Time Magazine created a list of 10 new ideas that are impacting the world right now and #3 on their list – incredibly – is an old but new movement called Calvinism or “New Calvinism.”  Listed as some of the movers behind this new movement are John Piper from Minneapolis, my neighbor Mark Driscoll from Seattle, and Al Mohler.  I find it encouraging and phenomenal that this was on the list but think we’re missing something if we think the Holy Spirit is working exclusively through the “new Calvinists.”  Despite our cynicism and reports of the collapse of the evangelical church, the Holy Spirit is working…

Mark – on his Resurgence blog – listed the distinctions between Old and New Calvinism.  He cites four main differences:

  1. Old Calvinism was fundamental or liberal and separated from or syncretized with culture. New Calvinism is missional and seeks to create and redeem culture.
  2. Old Calvinism fled from the cities. New Calvinism is flooding into cities.
  3. Old Calvinism was cessationistic and fearful of the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. New Calvinism is continuationist and joyful in the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.
  4. Old Calvinism was fearful and suspicious of other Christians and burned bridges. New Calvinism loves all Christians and builds bridges between them.

While I personally roll with the Covenant denomination, I am advocating that we never be an island to ourselves.  I spent most of my early years in Reformed and Presbyterian Churches including two years in Korea at what I perceive to be one of the most influential [but completely unknown to Westerners] churches called Onnuri.  I received my Masters of Divinity degree at Princeton Theological Seminary so I have a good deal of exposure and understanding of Calvinism and Reformed Theology.  It’s clearly shaped a portion of my theology and ecclesiology.

So having said that, I like to think that we’re really all part of One Larger Team called the Kingdom of God.  Thus, if those four traits are the characteristics and commitments of New Calvinism, we should all be BIG fans.  I would certainly be and would genuinely love to see my co-laborers in the New Calvinism team be committed to being Missional, Urban Minded [and not just the Suburbs], led by the Holy Spirit, and Bridge Builders. 

How about you?  Thoughts about the article?

Here’s the article from Time: Continue reading ““new calvinism” as 3rd most powerful idea – according to time magazine”

the blog post no one wants to read

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Let’s be honest.  There are some posts you naturally want to read and there are others that just don’t interest you at all.  I can post about Rob Bell, Mark Driscoll, talk politics, or the uber traffic magnet – Mac computers – and attract at least 4000 reads/post.  But bring up something like homelessness and I might be lucky to get 200 readers.  That’s 5% for those that don’t have my mad math skills.  

So, I’d like to challenge you to do your good deed for the day and read this post about homelessness.  

There are two main things I have learned over the years of living and engaging in the urban context.

  • Homeless is a very broad word that unfairly is used to portray the totality of a very diverse group of people.
  • Homelessness is a very complex and real problem that will only increase in light of the economic downturn.

I don’t have all the answers but it’s simply not acceptable to not do anything.  Several weeks ago, a group of pastors I meet with regularly hosted a representative from the mayor’s office of Seattle to ask, push back, and learn about what the city is doing.   It was actually pretty helpful.  We learned that the city devotes 38 million dollars in various ways to serve the homeless and displaced.  But is it making an impact?

But how is the [C]hurch responding? Continue reading “the blog post no one wants to read”

pc vs mac: what laptop should i get?

Last year, I indicated that I was in the market for a new laptop and asked folks which way I should go:  PC or Mac?  The discussion was pretty spirited.  I also got some additional hate mail for my post entitled Why the Iphone Sucks which pretty much demonstrates my envy of iPhone users.  I never got a new laptop then but now I actually need to get a new or used laptop.  Our family is selling some stuff to help us get through some financial situations but thankfully, the church is supplying a laptop I can use.  Another big reason why I need to get a new laptop is the Dell m1210 [12.1 in screen] I was using [which I really like] was causing some painful traces of carpel tunnel  because of the cramped keyboard and that’s not good.

While I’d love to hear what your honest recommendations are. I’m not going to get a Mac simply because the budget I have from the church is $800 and well, we all know that Macs cost a pretty penny.

  • What laptop & model would you suggest for that budget?
  • What do you personally use?  I’m curious to see the numbers between PC vs Macs.  If you use a PC, what brand?
  • How many of you have made the move to a Netbook?

I have four reasons why I won’t get a Mac – even though I’m a fan of Steve Jobs: Continue reading “pc vs mac: what laptop should i get?”

an update on our global poverty initiative

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I hope that while this entry topic might not be as alluring as your top search engine topics like Britney Spears and Barack Obama, you’ll take a few minutes to read up the progress of our global poverty organization.  This has been one of the most humbling seasons of our life.  When we went public with our vision to give our year’s salary to start this poverty initiative, we had absolutely no idea about what was in store with the financial crisis and meltdown.  Our convictions have been tested but each time we think about how “bad” we have it, we’re reminded of the grave situation for the poorest of the poor – those affected by “extreme global poverty.”

Here’s 5 Updates on our Progress:

  • FACEBOOK.  On Friday, December 5, our Facebook Group – which can be accessed at http://fightglobalpoverty.com – surpassed 200,000 members.  It’s pretty amazing considering we started the group on May 15, 2008.  While there are no guarantees if folks will ultimately support our organization, it confirms our aspiration for our initiative in helping change the world:

Human Relationships + Technology + [Vision] = Movement Continue reading “an update on our global poverty initiative”

seattle pi article on church merger

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Goodness, these people work quick.  Here’s the article [huge front cover of the Local Section] from the Seattle Post Intelligencer on the Quest/Interbay merger and their observations from yesterday’s service. 

I tell this to every pastor that I encounter:  People are watching your church community more than you will ever now.  We have visitors that share about how they’ve been watching, following, and observing for months or even for years before they make their first visit.

Here’s the video we showed to honor the “Interbay community” at yesterday’s service and the ONE CHURCH newsletter [pdf].   UPDATE: here’s another article from the Covenant Wire.

Time to come up for some air.  It’s been a very BUSY past few months; a little more pushing in the next three months to pound out some “minor” building renovations in August and then a chance to rest in the Fall.  Transitions are very tough and through these transitions, trying our best to make sure that people [both from quest and the interbay community] don’t get lost in the transition and translation.

The article: 

Only a parking lot separates Interbay Covenant Church and Quest Church, but the neighboring Seattle congregations hardly seem alike on the surface.  Continue reading “seattle pi article on church merger”