In our recent Top 5 Most Korean-American Cities series, we briefly mentioned Pastor Eugene Cho and his many ventures towards improving the local community in Seattle. We wanted to know more about Quest Church, Q Café, and One Day’s Wages so we decided to do a more in-depth profile on him. Read on to learn more about his inspirational work and see how you can get involved.
What do you do?
I’m a husband to my wife Minhee, a father to 3 wonderful children, a pastor at Quest Church in Seattle, the founder of Q Café – a non-profit cafe and music venue – and the founder and visionary of One Day’s Wages – a movement of people, stories, and actions to alleviate extreme global poverty.” When I have some time left over, I write and travel as a speaker and keep pursuing my dreams someday of being an NBA point guard.
What’s the movement of One Day’s Wages, and how can our readers get involved?
One Day’s Wages is a non-profit organization and movement that my wife, our three children, and I felt compelled to start in 2009. We had a conviction to give up our year’s salary, and after three years of saving and simplifying our lives, we made this donation and started ODW. We made this decision, in part, because we didn’t want to ask people to do something we weren’t willing to do ourselves. In short, ODW is a movement of people, stories, and actions to alleviate extreme global poverty. We try to mobilize and inspire people to fund grants and projects around the world to empower those who are living in extreme poverty. 100% of donations (minus credit card fees) go directly to people and projects and, thus far, we’ve raised $801,809.14 in less than two years.
People don’t realize how grassroots we are. We have 1 full-time staff, work out of a 250 square feet office, and are fueled by volunteers, interns, and our supporters from around the world. Because we place a heavy emphasis on human relationships and new media, we depend on YOU for sharing our stories and vision. Please join us.
- Join our Facebook page and share the page with your friends.
- Consider making a donation or better yet, donate your birthday. It takes 3 minutes to create your own birthday campaign and it will have a dramatic impact.
- Watch our video. It’s simple and explains our vision. And if you’re compelled, please share it.
You are also a pastor at Quest Church. What are Sundays like at Quest Church? And how is Quest different from other, more traditional churches?
I would rather not speak of Quest Church in terms of it being different, unique, or special. To be honest, there’s nothing really glamorous or special about Quest. We’re an urban, multicultural, and multi-generational church in Seattle trying to make our city and the larger world a bit more gracious, just, merciful, gracious, and beautiful. On Sundays, we’re like “other” churches in that we gather, sing, read the Scripture, preach, celebrate Communion, etc. About 450-500 people gather over 3 services. But what makes Quest substantive is our emphasis not on Sundays, but the entire week. I would say that Quest is a group of people longing and seeking to live out our faith and convictions that God loves the world, and through Christ, he is restoring and reconciling all things. As a church, we want to be part of that great narrative by being agents of hope, beauty, and reconciliation.
We read that Q Café was “birthed” and funded by Quest Church. What made you want to start a community cafe?
Free coffee! Okay, that is indeed true, but more importantly, we just wanted to demonstrate our commitment and care for our neighborhood and city. Q Cafe is a non-profit and non-religious cafe featuring direct-trade espresso and tea, art live music, and community events. Simply, we started Q Cafe because we wanted “to be a good neighbor.”
My family and I are approaching our 15th anniversary in Seattle. I was born in Korea, grew up in San Francisco, and spent some time in NJ/NY prior to Seattle. When we first arrived here, I was surprised how small and “passive” the Korean-American community was, but it has truly been a delight to see a beautiful and compelling emergence of Korean-Americans in all sectors of culture and not just your traditional or stereotypical Korean-American professions. In my opinion, a great mark of any ethnic culture is not only its willingness to engage its own ethnic “tribe,” but to resonate, influence, and bless the larger city and culture. This is what I see emerging in the Korean-American community in the larger Seattle area.
Being a wannabe creative social entrepreneur and activist, the short answer is “yes and yes.” But rather than spilling all my beans, I would simply invite people to track with me through these mediums of communication: My Facebook page, Twitter, and/or by my blog.
One Day’s Wages
Follow ODW on Facebook and Twitter
Follow Quest on Facebook and Twitter
Follow Q Cafe Facebook and Twitter
[Photos: Courtesy of Eugene Cho]