Eugene Cho

Quest Church has purchased the building formerly known as Mars Hill Church. Full transparency: Here’s why and how.

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Update: Quest is currently renovating our new space and will be hosting our first service in our new location on Sunday, September 13.

I have some big news to share – news that will likely solicit mixed emotions for many people.

If you’re an internet junkie, it’s possible that you may have already heard as I’ve been receiving my share of texts and tweets. About two weeks ago, Quest Church – the church I lead – purchased Mars Hill Church (Ballard). Yes, that Mars Hill Church.

Since then, there’s been a trickling of blogs, online news, and television reports that have covered this. As such, there’s also been a trickling of criticism of why we would do business with MH, questions about the transactions, and simply, erroneous info about Quest on the blogosphere.

No, Quest is not a social gospel church. No, I’m not a socialist. No, we’re not an emergent church. No, I’m not an Angry Asian (OK, only sometimes). No, Quest is not a cult. No, I was not in a boy band in the 80s. Blah blah blah.

Because Quest deeply values transparency and integrity, I thought it would be good to answer the most common questions we’ve received thus far. We have nothing to hide and would actually ask for your help to clarify any false information or rumors that you may hear. We share this because of the highly sensitive firestorm surrounding MH this past year. We share this because we covet your support and prayers. Read the rest of this entry »

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homelessness just isn’t as sexy…

Let’s be honest: the issue of homelessness just isn’t as sexy as some of other ‘justice’ issues like the global water crisis, human trafficking, or shoes. Yes, I just went there.

The reasons for homelessness are numerous and complex but the numbers – indicating real people – are real. Very real.

  • Approximately 2.3 – 3.5 million people are homeless each year in U.S. (Urban Institute)
  • 12 million adults in U.S. currently are or have been homeless at some point in their lives. (National Coalition for the Homeless)
  • The largest and fastest growing group of homeless folks are families with children, comprising 40% of the homeless population, mostly with single mother head of household. Average homeless family has 2.2 children. (HUD)
  • 33% of homeless men are veterans. (HUD)
  • 22% of single adult homeless population suffer from severe and persistent mental illness. (U.S. Conference of Mayors, 2001)

In the Seattle area alone, on any given night there are 7,980 homeless in Seattle/King County.

This is the main reason why Quest Church envisioned and funded a ministry called The Bridge Care Center and I can’t tell you how proud, encouraged, and convicted I am to be a part of this ministry. It’s the aspect of Quest that I’m most proud of this past year. What is the BCC? Read the rest of this entry »

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a vision many years ago about a quest…

Over 10 years ago, God woke me up in my sleep. Literally.

The dream shook me up so much that I couldn’t go back to sleep. Over the next several months, I tried to resist the meaning of the dream but I knew that while I didn’t have full clarity, the Holy Spirit was stirring my wife and I to “get ready.”

The vision and dream I had was surreal because it was unlike anything I had personally seen or experienced. Minhee and I were then at a homogenous Korean-American church in the suburbs of Seattle but we were stirred to leave our comfort zone to plant a church in urban Seattle and invite people from diverse backgrounds to worship Jesus together, grow together, serve together, and be on mission together.

The calling for us was to be faithful in proclaiming and living out the gospel of Christ but in pursuit of a diverse church, it wasn’t merely to be post-racial, politically correct, or multiethnic, but in reality, to be about a faith community taking a step closer towards the vision and reality of the Kingdom of God.

The end goal isn’t the banner of a post-racialized world or even to have a multiethnic community. This post isn’t to boast or to indirectly point the finger at homogenous churches, white churches, suburban churches but rather to ask the question:

Are we taking steps towards the vision and reality of the Kingdom of God?

Read the rest of this entry »

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god, i am so amazed by you…

I’ve never been a crying person but the last few years, for whatever reason, I’ve been so easy to cry. I could be watching Dumb and Dumber and I’ll start tearing. So, let me warn you in advance:

This week: I’m going to cry like crazy.

It’s not because of my 41st birthday on Thursday but because Quest Church will be celebrating its 10 year anniversary on Sunday.

Even watching the 5 year Anniversary video above [RSS readers, click here], I couldn’t stop crying. So much has happened out of ‘nothing.’ Certainly out of two people with nothing to boast of ourselves and yet, God created something unique: Read the rest of this entry »

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moving beyond the janitor’s closet

Dear Quest,

Thank you so much for your partnership in the gospel.

I am so proud to be one of your pastors and to have had the honor of planting Quest Church almost 10 years ago. This past Sunday, while Pastor DeAnza was preaching a spirited message at Quest from our ongoing study through Philippians,  I had the joy of visiting and preaching at the Burmese Karen Churchplant in Kent, Washington. On their behalf, I pass on their sincere greetings.

Several years ago, Quest helped plant this church and it is in part because of your prayers and generosity that allowed us to have a small part in birthing this beautiful church through our Quest Churchplanting Foundation.

This church and community did not exist 3 years ago. In fact, the majority of them are recent refugees and have entered this country in the past couple years. This past Sunday, I asked – before my sermon – how many of them had arrived to the United States in the past year and it appeared that over half of the nearly 150 people raised their hands! Many of them were living in refugee camps…and how amazing it must be that a church community was here to be their fellowship and support.

But for a second, I want to encourage you to think Read the rest of this entry »

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social justice matters because the gospel matters

Social justice.

Those two words – depending on the circles you  roll with – are either really bad news or really good news.

But for the latter, it’s not truly the good news.

But if you truly believe in the good news … as in the Gospel

If you truly believe in the Gospel, then you have to believe that it matters not just for your personal salvation and blessings but God’s pursuit of restoration, redemption, and reconciliation for the entire world.

I believe in this Gospel.

I live for this Gospel.

And while folks may disagree on the meaning, context, and agenda behind the vernacular or verbiage of such words as social justice… Read the rest of this entry »

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f**k human trafficking. there i said it.

source: amnesty international

Is it possible that we as Christians just aren’t angry enough about injustices like human trafficking and slavery?  Perhaps, we’ve grown too desensitized, domesticated, and docile. I’m not trying to say this for the sake of the ‘shock factor’ but I really believe there are times when the Church needs to have a deep[er] anger about the grave injustices of the world particularly when it involves the exploitation of children. Have we deduced our faith to convenient and self serving pleasantries?

Because we are informed and transformed by Christ, I wonder if we just need to say: Read the rest of this entry »

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a letter to my children’s pastor

quest children's ministry

Dear Katey,

You’ve been our children’s director and pastor for several years now. You’ve done an amazing job.  I still remember the days of Quest when our (Minhee and I) – then 2 children – were the only kids at Quest. Through you and Christina, our amazing associate director, and other folks like Becky, Karis, Gordon, Stacy and on and on, God has immensely blessed our church community. When we “hired” you as our children’s pastor many years ago, you were just graduating from college and there were some concerns expressed by the interview committee but I remember sharing with them these words: Read the rest of this entry »

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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. Read the rest of this entry »

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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 »

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stuff, connect, info

one day’s wages | video

41 years ago today, our family immigrated to the United States from Seoul, South Korea. I was six years old; the youngest of three sons. My father, when he was also six, fled from what is now known as North Korea. Just recently, he shared with me that he and some of his family had been in a refugee camp when war and violence broke out on the Korean peninsula. It's emotional thinking about what my brothers and I went through coming to a completely foreign country. It wasn't easy. And then, I think about what my parents had to go through:

They fled their homes near Pyongyang which also meant leaving some of their extended families.

They experienced unfathomable hunger and poverty.

They experienced the pain of war.

They immigrated again to the United States as adults with minimal resources and a handful of English words.

All in hopes that their children would have the opportunities that were never afforded to them.

I'm thinking of my brothers today. I'm thinking of my parents and honoring them for their sacrifice and tenacity. And finally, I'm thinking of refugees and immigrants all around the world that are yearning for family, peace, hope, and opportunities. Don't reduce Martin Luther King Jr. to a yearly quote on social media. Live out the dream. Seek first the Kingdom of God. Confront evil. Be a truth-teller. Seek justice. Love mercy. Pursue reconciliation. Build bridges. Love your neighbors. Forgive your enemies. Pray unceasingly. Live a committed life of peace, love, and justice.

The God who deposited this dream into MLK is still speaking to us today.

Be brave. "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." ~ Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Here's the full context of his famous quote: "The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that." An important word for the Church... Oh, how God loves the nations. The Scriptures make this so clear. No one - let alone, the leader of a country - should ever disparage other nations with such a disgusting comment.

To the beautiful people of Haiti, El Salvador, and of the many countries of Africa: We are so sorry. Please accept our apologies on behalf of President Trump.

I've had the privilege of being in Haiti twice and numerous countries in Africa including Kenya where I took this picture during an afternoon drive near Kijabe. In many of these visits, I witnessed such creativity, courage, leadership, hospitality and kindness. To follow Jesus without obedience, repentance, self-denial, and dying to self is an oxymoron. In other words, are we more in love with the idea of following Jesus than actually following Jesus?

Grateful for an incredible Sunday at @seattlequest of beginning our 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting. I hate this: “We love the truth when it enlightens us, but hate it when it convicts us” ~ St. Augustine Woah. Deeply encouraged and convicted by @jlin7's vulnerable post today on IG. We all have setbacks and some of them are ones that we can never imagine or predict. How we respond to these setbacks says much about our character. Thanks Jeremy for being honest and vulnerable about your pain and emotional devastation after your season ending injury...and yet, in the midst of this, to witness your hope, faith, perseverance, and hard work: "Adversity forces us to reevaluate, adapt, improve. It forces us to ask the tough questions, to go the extra mile and push our limits...and let's not forget God always has a sovereign, perfect plan." - @jlin7

I see you, bro. Cheering you on and praying for you. And also, here's a pic we took last year after a game. Don't misinterpret my awkward smile...I'm grateful for our friendship. Lol.

Most importantly, grateful for our partnership got  the whole Gospel. Can't wait to share with others about your 2018 campaign with @onedayswages. #neverdone #jlin7 #linsanity

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