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. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: church, churchplanting, ministry, pastors, seattle, ,

may god be our everything

Over the past year, our family and I have been trying to be a source of support for a brother at our church who was diagnosed with brain cancer.  He, his wife, and their two young children are wonderful people.  Folks from Quest and his friends recently threw him a surprise birthday party and it was amazing to see people from around the city, state, country, and world fly into Seattle to celebrate his life.

While my “ministry paradigm” say it’s supposed to be the pastor ministering to the people, many times it just doesn’t work that way.  It’s both.  It’s reciprocal.  It’s all. And sometimes, we’re all clueless and we live and wrestfully rest in the mystery of God’s infinite knowledge and grace.  So, at times, we’re speechless, silent and still.

I’ve been reflecting on this brother’s journal – the ups, downs, and everything in between.  His physical days are numbered – whether it be one month, one year, or 50 years.  We obviously pray and hope for the latter but the life expectancy statistics from doctors and medical reports say otherwise.  I’ve particularly been blessed by his “life lessons” that he’s been sharing through his journal.  Here’s his latest.  I’m also sharing a new video created by Justin [aka Roboto] from Quest who made this as an encouragement to his Community Group: Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: church, family, religion, , ,

shane claiborne at quest

shane claiborne at quest

I am incredibly thankful and indebted to Shane.  I first met Shane six years ago at a conference we spoke at together in Seattle and met at Q Cafe.  We recently re-connected over the past year and so, I asked him if he’d be willing to visit and speak at Quest Church – specifically after the elections seasons since his book Jesus for President engaged the faith and politics conversation.   Umm, this all happened in the last month but it happened.

But I had no idea how much Shane went out of his way to be with us at Quest last night until we hung out last night.  Shane flew from Philly to Vancouver, spoke three times on Sunday at a church up North, and then drove about 2.5 hours [not including an hour stoppage at the US/Canada border] to Seattle.  He made it to my home only a half hour before the event!  Shane:  Brother, thank you very much.  It means a great deal to me, to Quest, and to the Seattle community that you went out of your way to share in fellowship and ministry!

As promised, here are some pictures and mp3s from the event “A Quest Conversation with Shane Claiborne.”  Any feedback and pushback from the conversation? Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: religion, ,

an invitation to community and vision

If you’re in Seattle, near Seattle, or have friends around this part of the country, I want to extend an invitation to our church’s community and vision.  Our hope is to be changed by the transforming grace of Christ and subsequently, be agents of change here, there, and everywhere.  Here’s a simple but great video of our faith community [much thanks to Roboto!] and some stuff coming up in November. 

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: religion, ,

happy birthday, quest!

With no being fanfare, Quest celebrated our 7 year anniversary this weekend.  We had some cake to mark these seven years.  We had a big celebration at 5 years and will do another at 10 years but figured 7 was biblically important enough that we should at least have some cake.

I want to thank each person – past and present – for your friendship, partnership, and belief in what God has done through our church.  To my estimation, there have been four signifanct “seasons” at Quest so I picked out some pics for each season including our living room about 7+ years ago where we gathered for our first meeting.  Praise the Lord for his faithfulness… Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: religion,

a “learning conversation” with shane claiborne

Update:  Event is sold out. 

I first met Shane about six years ago when we spoke at a conference together in Seattle.  All the speakers gathered at Q CAFE for some coffee and chat.  He’s since grown to be an immensely important and prophetic voice to the church and beyond.  One reason why is because there’s substance to his lifestyle and choices underlying the talk.  Agree or disagree or somewhere in between, it’s challenging, refreshing, and thought/heart provoking.

Long story short, I’m excited to welcome Shane to Quest on Sunday, November 9 [7-9.30pm].  I’m glad Shane agreed to come join us at Quest at an opportune time…the Sunday after the presidential elections.  Some of you will be overjoyed and others will be despondent.  While I care about this country and the elections, I also…don’t care because whether I like the results or not, Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: religion, ,

faith and gender

Quest Church, the church I serve as lead pastor, is excited to invite you to join us for our Annual Learning Conference on October 10-11.  This year, we host Lauren Winner for a conference entitled, “Faith & Gender.”  Asides from a stimulating and challenging conference, one of our commitments is to make the conference as financially accessible to the larger Seattle and Northwest community.  Registration is ONLY $15 and $10/students but space is limited.  Register now and help spread the word by sharing this entry or the conference site on your blog or website.  Here’s the Facebook event.

Quest has always affirmed women in ministry but it has been a while since we have had a sustained discussion on why that is and how we can take discussion further to issues of what it means to be men and what it means to be women “in Christ” and how we can construct our ideas of gender from a Biblical perspective Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: religion, , , ,

an amazing gift: dying in order to give life

This past weekend, Quest Church celebrated the one year anniversary of Interbay Covenant Church merging into Quest Church.  For those that are new to this blog or not familiar with this story, carefully read and enjoy this story. It still continues to amaze me.

Interbay Church – a 65 year old, traditional, urban, older, and mostly Anglo church  – decided to “close” down and join Quest Church – a 6 year old, emerging, urban, and multiethnic churchplant.  In closing their church and merging with Quest, Interbay gave to Quest ALL of their assets which includes a church building and small warehouse valued around $7-8 million dollars.  Many of the 50 or so folks from Interbay continue to be a part of the larger Quest community. A year ago this time, I wrote an entry sharing three things [amongst several] that amazed me about this “merger”: 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, , ,

interbay neighborhood in the spotlight

The Interbay neighborhood is in the spotlight – again.  A front page article appeared in the Seattle PI today: Interbay in Transition – From ‘No Man’s Land’ to Urban Village.  On Saturday, I posted an entry about the changes in the neighborhood and some of our older and newer neighbors:

We’ve had the following businesses in the area:  QFC, Starbucks, Pagliacci, Red Mill Burgers, Interbay Golf Course, and a few other small businesses.  Recently, the following folks have moved in:  Denali Fitness, Pop Multimedia, Dusty Strings, and the Omni Group.  Even Whole Foods is moving into the neighborhood.  And what would a neighorhood be without a Sex Club.  

It will be exciting to see how this neighborhood changes. Quest Church and Q Cafe [a separate non-profit/non-religious cafe started by Quest] will get to have a prominent role in the change as we’re right in the middle of the Interbay neighborhood. Currently, there is only ONE resident living in Interbay.  No joke.  And the current plan could create approximately 1400 new apartments and condos.  Here’s a map of the Interbay Neighborhood and the area of proposed changes [#3 is Quest Church]. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: 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

  • Remember the fallen. Honor our soldiers. Pray for leaders. And remember that we serve the Kingdom of God rather than the Empire of Nations. || 19 hours ago
  • RT @micahchallenge: Our books Live Justly & Overrated are tools used to be moved to change the world! bit.ly/1s3DKI2 https://t.co/… || 1 day ago
  • Another challenging & life giving message by @RevDocBrenda. Such a privilege to teach with a team of women & men that love the whole Gospel. || 1 day ago
  • It's been years since Seattle Sonics "became" the OKC Thunder. Still stings. Seattle deserves a team before OKC gets a title. That is all. || 2 days ago
  • That time when nearly everyone laughed at @KlayThompson when he said he was the best shooting guard in the NBA. || 2 days ago
  • 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. || 2 days ago

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