5 Questions for 5 Influencers: Eugene Cho

Back in July I wrote about the 5 blogs that have shaped me the most. They have shaped me as someone in seminary, someone in ministry, and someone who blogs. I thought it would be great to learn more from these men, so I contacted them all and was able to ask some of them some questions.

Today is 5 questions and 5 answers from Eugene Cho. Eugene is the lead pastor of Quest Church in Seattle and also the director of the Q Cafe. Eugene is a great blogger and a pastor who is very culturally knowledgeable. Oh…and he is kicking my butt in fantasy football 🙂

  • What made you want to work at a church?

Nothing really.  My primary goal isn’t necessarily to work at a church.   You can say that working at a church is part of the larger picture of my vocation of being a follower of Christ.  While I enjoy my work as the lead pastor of Quest, I also have the privilege of investing my heart and soul into other things.  I love this because it brings a more holistic pursuit to my life and calling.  In my opinion, if pastors aren’t careful, we invest so much in the “[c]hurch,” it’s possible that in the long run, we end up serving the institution rather than the Kingdom.

  • Who has influenced you the most and how have they influenced you?

As cliché as it sounds, my parents have influenced me the most.  And the older I get and the more I experience life as a spouse and parent, my respect and admiration for them grows immensely.  My parents immigrated to this country when I was six.  They knew a handful of English words but worked 90+ hours/week to give to their children what they couldn’t enjoy as they grew as children of the Korean War.  Their faith – while clearly blemished and full of flaws, was also real.

  • What are the best/worst parts of church ministry for you?

Easy answer but complex in the unpacking of the answer.  I’ll allow your readers to do that.  My response answers both parts of your question:  People.  Why?  Because people are both beautiful and depraved.  And it probably doesn’t help that I’m the epitome of beauty and depravity.  Community is beautiful but it sure gets messy as well.

  • What is one book that has changed your life and how did it change you?

Great question.  High school years were turbulent and in their own ways, transformative years.  I came to the revelation of the truth and Lordship of Christ the summer after high school but much of the angst, existential wrestling, anger and pain led me to Christ.  You could say that my desperation led me to my acknowledge of depravity AND redemptive beauty.  Having said that, the book that spoke to be most during those turbulent years was J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye.  Why did it change me?  I’m not sure if it necessarily changed me but rather, it spoke to me.  It understood what I can only refer now to my duplicitous existential angst and pain.  I  resonated with the principal character Holden Caulfield…both his pain and cynicism and his desire to “change the world.”

  • What is the best thing that has happened to you or with you because of blogging?

Various things:  It has put me in the discipline of writing even if it’s not great writing; It allows me to connect with my church community which has become increasingly difficult with a small but growing church; It has allowed me to be connected to the larger world…I have made good “friendships” through blogging; It has reminded me how small and interconnected the world has become; I have seen blogging as a viable tool in communicating the story.

Awesome answers, thanks Eugene. I really appreciate you taking the time to answer those questions.

Anything stick out to you?