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

It. Still. Hurts.
#TamirRice Incredible news: @onedayswages is projecting to have our most impactful year as we grant out $1.3 million dollars! Thank you so much for your prayers and support...please read on to learn how you can join in our work.

As you gather with family, friends, and loved ones for Thanksgiving and the holidays, I wanted to share an opportunity. Often times, when I speak to people about the privilege of generosity, I remind them, "You don't have to but you get to." It's so true.

My wife and I (and our three kids) started ODW in 2009. We felt the Holy Spirit convicting us to give up our year's salary. It wasn't an easy thing to say "Yes" or "Amen" to but we made the decision to obey. As a result, it took us about three years to save, simplify, and sell off things we didn't need.

It's been an incredible journey as we've learned so much about the heart of God and God's love for the hurting and vulnerable around the world - particularly those living in extreme poverty. ODW is a small, scrappy, grassroots organization (with just 3 full-time employees) but since our launch, we've raised nearly $6 million dollars to help those living in extreme poverty: clean water and sanitation, education, maternal health, human trafficking, refugee crisis, hunger, and the list goes on and on.

So, here's my humble ask: As we do this work, would you consider making a pledge to support our work...so that we can keep doing this work with integrity and excellence?
You can make a one time gift or make monthly pledge of just $25 (or more). Thanks so much for considering this: http://onedayswages.org/give (link in bio, too) Don't just count your blessings. Bless others with your blessings. Here, there, everywhere. Be a blessing for this blesses our Father in Heaven and builds the Kingdom of God.

#ReThinkRegugees #WeWelcomeRefugees
@onedayswages Grateful. Still reflecting on the letters that I've received from classmates and students that have come before me and after me. Never imagined all that God would have in store for me. Lots of humbling things but in the midst of them, there were literally thousands upon thousands of daily decisions and choices to be faithful. That's what matters. Seen or unseen. Noticed or unnoticed. You do your best and sometimes you stumble and fumble along but nevertheless, seeking to be faithful.

Also, you know you're getting old when your school honors you with a Distinguished Alumni Award. Lol. 47 is the new 27. Or something like that. Here's to the next 47. In our culture, we can be so obsessed with the "spectacular" or "glamorous." The Church often engagws in thia language and paradigm...but what if God has called many of us to small, ordinary things?

Will we still be faithful?
Will we still go about such things with great love and joy?

I recently came across this picture taken by @mattylew, one of our church staff...and I started tearing up: This is my mother; in her 70s; with realities of some disabilities that make it difficult for her to stand up and sit down...but here she is on her knees and prostate in prayer. She doesn't have any social media accounts, barely knows how to use her smartphone, doesn't have a platform, hasn't written a book, doesn't have any titles in our church, isn't listed as a leader or an expert or a consultant or a guru. But she simply seeks to do her best - by God's grace - to be faithful to God. She prays for hours every day inteceding for our family, our church, and the larger world.

Even if we're not noticed or celebrated or elevated...let's be faithful. Our greatest calling as followers of Christ is to be faithful. Not spectacular. Not glamorous. Not popular. Not relevant. And not even successful in the eyes of the world.

Be faithful. Amen. #notetoself (and maybe helpful for someone else)

At times, we have to say ‘NO’ to good things to say ‘YES’ to the most important things.

We can't do it all.
Pray and choose wisely.
Then invest deeply. May our compassion not just be limited to the West or to those that look like us. Lifting up the people of Iraq, Iran, and Kurdistan in prayer after the 7.3 earthquake - including the many new friends I met on a recent trip to Iraq.

The death toll rises to over 400 and over 7,000 injured in multiple cities and hundreds of villages along the Western border with Iraq.

Lord, in your mercy... We are reminded again and again...that we are Resurrection People living in a Dark Friday world.

It's been a tough, emotional, and painful week - especially as we lament the horrible tragedy of the church shootings at Sutherland Springs. In the midst of this lament, I've been carried by the hope, beauty, and promise of our baptisms last Sunday and the raw and honest testimonies of God's mercy, love, and grace.

Indeed, God is not yet done. May we take heart for Christ has overcome the world.

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