Eugene Cho

‘the next evangelicalism’ & the changing face of christianity

soong chan rah

Soong Chan Rah isn’t a household name that rolls off your tongue like others in the larger Western evangelical world.  But if you’re at all interested in Christianity and it’s engagement with Justice, Urbanism, and Multi-ethnicity, you’ll want to bookmark his website/blog and take a look at his new book entitled, The Next Evangelicalism: Freeing the Church From Western Cultural Captivity.

Umm, I don’t think he got the memo that ‘happy titles’ sell more books.

the next evangelicalism

Since he’s a professor at North Park Seminary in Chicago, he was one of my primary hosts when I visited and spoke at the seminary couple freezing winters ago.  I recently had a chance to chat and interview (video below) Soong Chan about his new book, the changing face and supposed decline of Christianity and the Boston Red Sox, Cubs, and Seattle Mariners.

Listen to what he’s trying to say about the changing face of Christianity. If you’ve been reading this blog for some time, I’ve been saying that as well.  Not to sound ominous, but getting this Read the rest of this entry »

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my quasi-conversation with rob bell…about women

Well, I finally met Rob Bell last night and had an intense conversation with him.  Kind of.  Like indirectly.

He was in Seattle for the Seeds of Compassion event with the Dalai Lama.  I have no problem with that at all.  I would have loved to have been invited to participate but no one called my agent.  Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: religion, , ,

my pastor is a janitor

During the first year of Quest, I was without salary and had tried so hard to obtain a job – any job – but I realized the painful truth that pastors [outside their jobs in churches] are useless in society.  I discovered that my Masters of Divinity degree…well…wasn’t really all that divine.   It was actually pretty useless.  After several months of looking for work, I finally landed a job as a janitor at a Barnes & Noble store in Lynnwood, Washington.

Not my idea of a “dream job.” It was one of the most difficult jobs and periods in my life – especially because this took place at a time when I thought I would be kicking ass in my “career” as a pastor.  Damn my hubris…

But I digress.  I want to introduce you to Jason Douros.  He’s sort of on staff at Quest Church as our custodian.  Why am I introducing you to our church’s custodian?  Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: religion, , , ,

most exciting aspect of ministry

One of the most exciting aspects about ministry at Quest is our stewardship philosophy.  It has been there from the beginning – even before the church got started.  So, it is exciting to see stuff in my heart/mind come to some level of fruition.  If you want to get to know someone on a deeper basis, you’ll likely want to know how they earn, save, spend, and give away. 

Churches are no different.  We can say all that we want to say with our lips but a church’s budget speaks a great deal to its ministry and stewardship philosophy.  We have a long way to go but after several years of saving a few dollars here and there [Quest is a 6 year churchplant] and tinkering with our nomenclature, we are excited about the church’s 1 Fund and 3 Foundations.  Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: religion, , ,

“everything redeemable…”

About 7 or 8 months ago, I did an interview with Outreach Magazine about…umm…outreach but the article was just published for Jan/Feb 08.  These people certainly plan in advance!  I think I surprised them when I shared honestly that I don’t ever remember ever using the word “outreach” since we planted Quest Church.  I wasn’t trying to be smart-arsy about it because I know the importance of the traditional language of ‘outreach’ but I was trying to convey that in my ecclesiology, outreach really wasn’t an event, a thing, or something that you necessarily do but rather a lifestyle, presence, and worldview; Not an accessory but something that is inside you and thus, it’s not outreach but the very expression of living it out daily.  It’s incarnational.  Outreaches are good…nothing wrong with them per se.  Church do “outreaches” because it’s a platform to help people enage in outreaches but if we’re not careful, we end up teaching christians to be programatic and fragmented but not necessarily incarnational.

Remember I wrote couple months ago about a photo shoot where I had to take several hundred shots [for that one perfect picture]?  Well, they didn’t quite find the perfect picture.  When I showed my wife the article and picture, she actually busted out in laughter citing how big the dot on my nose looked!  Here’s one quote from the article [you can also click on the pic below to view the entire article]: Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: religion, , ,

rob bell in time magazine

Honestly, I haven’t read any much of Rob Bell’s stuff – just the soundbytes.  I don’t know what’s wrong with me but I have this weird thing where I don’t like to read too much stuff that’s written by people that are still alive.  Is that bizarre or what?  So, I can devour C.S. Lewis, Augustine, Nouwen, St. Teresa of Avila, Martin Luther King Jr., Lesslie Newbigin, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, David Bosch, etc. but I have a hard time enjoying contemporary authors that are loved by others: Piper, Bell, Marva Dawn, McLaren, Lauren Winner, McManus, D. Miller, and others.  N.T. Wright, Eugene Peterson, and Scot McKnight may be the few exceptions.  Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: emerging church, religion, ,

six years – suffocating and intoxicating

Quest quietly turned six years old two Sundays ago.  No hoopla.  No hurrah.  No fireworks.  No big party.  Just a quiet reflection with my wife at home.  We enjoyed a small cake ourselves [for my birthday]. The six years have been immensely adventurous.  At times, unbearable, painful, and suffocating.  Other times, intoxicating, profound, and beautiful.  Through it all, God has been steadfast and faithful.  We feel so humbled and privileged.

Here’s a picture [before the warehouse/cafe renovation] and an article from the first year: Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: church, faith, religion, seattle, ,

final makeover pics

As promised, here are some final pics from our recent renovation of our newly gifted church property. In June 07, Interbay Church gifted their property to our church, Quest, and joined our community. For 27 days through several weeks in August and September, we went through a remodel of the church to update the space to better serve our larger community as well as continue our commitment to the larger city of Seattle and beyond.

Because of limited finances, we did about 80% of the work in-house.  If possible, I’ll never do this again.  It was enjoyable – on many levels – but dealing with stuff afterwards is no fun.  It would be much more convenient to hire a construction company and project manager and let them do what they do best.  Thanks again to the volunteers that sacrificed much of their time and talents…

Here’s a pic of what the sanctuary looked like before the changes:

_dsc3828.jpg Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: emerging church, religion, , ,

stuff, connect, info

one day’s wages | video

My Instagram

People often ask, "How does one stand all that rain in Seattle?" Actually, it doesn't rain that much. I like the rain. Keeps everything "evergreen" and clean. Keeps our air fresh. What's challenging is the gray weather. Give me a few more sunny days. 99 more days to be specific. 
Regardless, still love this city. Checking out Canada in case I need to move up North after the presidential election. Just saying, eh.

Downtown Toronto. Fascinating architecture. Amazed by the diversity of this city. We desperately want our children to not just be captivated by the beauty of creation...but more importantly, to the actual Creator of all that is good and beautiful.

Actually, we want and need this truth for our souls, too. What a privilege. This isn't possible without all those who give, pray, and support the work of @onedayswages. This week, I signed and mailed grants to three partner organizations totaling over $170,000. These grants will empower people by supporting maternal health care, refugee relief efforts, access to clean water, provide education, etc.

Sometimes, the brokenness of the world feel so overwhelming but let's keep running the race with endurance. Let's keep pursuing justice, mercy, and humility. Let's be faithful and may we be spurred on to keep working for God's Kingdom...on earth as it is in heaven.

Again, thank you so much for your support for @onedayswages! My wife, Minhee, and I stand on the shoulders of praying mothers. I'd like to take a moment to honor my mother-in-law. It's hard to put words together to embody her life but she is a very special, anointed person. I'm so blessed to have her as a mother in my life.

She was a devoted wife until she lost her husband to cancer, mother to three daughters, and later became a pastor. She became a follower of Christ as an adult and as such, led her her family to Christ. In her late 50s, she obeyed God's calling to go to seminary and be a leader in the church. She graduated #1 in her class and reminded us that it's never too late to follow a new dream or calling.

As she'll soon celebrate her 80th birthday, I'm especially grateful for the ways that she poured into and prayed over Minhee and her other children.  Even though she's officially retired, I'm inspired that the concept of retirement is not in her vocabulary.  She continues to serve the local church, evangelize and bear witness to Christ, and goes to the early morning prayer meeting at 5am everyday to pray for our family, our church, and for others. 
Jangmonim, we love and honor you. 어머니, 사랑합니다.

Someday, I hope that when my kids speak of Minhee and I...above all, they would say with integrity that their parents prayed for them and kept pointing them to Christ. On this Mother's Day, I want to take a few words to honor mother.

There’s a moment from a few years ago that will stick with me until the day I die. It’s regarding Sung Wha, my mother.

Minhee and I were at a point of transition, between working at an ethnic Korean church in the northern suburbs of Seattle called Lynnwood and launching Quest in urban Seattle. As I shared earlier, I was in desperate need of a job. I had a mortgage to pay. A pregnant wife. A kid at home. 
Then, praise God, after months without work, I finally landed a job.

My mom was in between jobs at this point in her life. She was in her late fifties, but she had such bad knees and degenerative hips that it was, and is, difficult for her to walk. My mom is like a human barometer—when a storm is coming and when it rains, her hips throb. Although my parents lived in San Francisco, she was visiting us in Seattle to encourage us in this difficult season.

As I prepared to go to work one early morning, I walked downstairs to put on my jacket and shoes, and forgot that my mother woke up early every morning to pray. In fact, she had been praying for months that I would find a job. “Eugene, where are you going?” she said when she saw me.

I hadn’t told my mother the news that I had just recently been hired for the janitorial gig at Barnes and Noble. I chose not to because I thought she and my father would be devastated. I didn’t want them to think that after laboring, sacrificing, and doing so much for us over all those years that their son had failed them.

But I couldn’t lie to her, so eventually I told my mom that I got a job and was going to work. “Great! What job? What are you doing?” “Um, I’m working at Barnes and Noble as their custodian,” I said finally.

Without asking another question, my mother got up from the dining table where she had been reading her Bible and praying. She slowly walked slowly toward me.

She approached me, then walked past me without saying a word, and I realized she was headed toward the closet. She opened the closet door, put on her jacket, turned around and said to me (in Korean), “Eugene, let’s go together. I will help you.” This is my mother.

my tweets

  • The best part of wanting to change the world...is being humbled, learning you're not the savior of the world & being changed in the process. || 8 hours ago
  • Cheer up Toronto & Canada. Great season. Also, you have free health care, toonies and your political candidates are not as crazy as America. || 20 hours ago
  • Make friendships more than transactions. There's a huge difference between "I appreciate you" and "I appreciate what you can do for me." || 1 day ago
  • There's much to ponder in this article. Much to repent. Much to grieve. "Seattle's vanishing black community." - seattletimes.com/pacific-nw-mag… || 2 days ago
  • People often ask, "How do stand all that rain in Seattle?" Actually, it doesn't rain that much.… instagram.com/p/BF2giXwyWTY/ || 2 days ago
  • Don't obsess about your platform.Just do your thing with passion, humility, integrity. We do what we do for God's glory, not human applause. || 3 days ago

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