This summer, Eugene Cho, lead pastor of Quest Church in Seattle, was enjoying a sabbatical from active ministry and blogging—until events in Ferguson, Missouri, caught his attention. “I kept envisioning Michael Brown’s body, lying on the ground, completely exposed for hours,” Cho says. “Then seeing the anger and frustration of people protesting and the responses to the protests, I felt it was . . . a necessity to respond.”
So Cho sat down to write a heavy-hearted blog post: “Please don’t ignore it. Five ways that Christians and churches must engage Michael Brown’s death.” Cho is one of a number of Asian American leaders who consistently challenge the church to pursue racial reconciliation. “I don’t want a conversation about racism to be black and white,” he says. “It’s important for Asian Americans to speak on matters of race, as people who have been both perpetrators and victims. The church is called to speak out about justice, and not only when it involves our own kind.”
Ever since Cho planted Quest in 2001, the church has brought issues of race to the forefront in ways many of its congregants had never experienced. Bo Lim, professor of Old Testament at Seattle Pacific University (SPU), remembers a service early on in which Cho preached about the struggles of being an ethnic minority. “I found myself weeping. My wife was weeping. I looked around the room and saw many others weeping,” says Lim. “Quest helped me understand the gift of my ethnic background.”
And Quest starts naming that gift early. Its children’s ministry, Global Village, is decorated with images of children from every tribe, ...