July 2, 2014 — by Dana Allin

What it Means to Be a Church Planter

Thoughts from the Church Planting Assessment


Last week in Tacoma, WA, I had the privilege of co-directing our church planting assessment with J. Allen Thompson, the master of church planting assessment. I have attended the Mission to North America church planting assessments a few times to learn how the process works, and am grateful ECO has a similar church planting assessment process in place now. Every time I've been to an assessment, I've heard from the candidates how grateful and encouraged they were by the process. I want to briefly reflect on the ways in which I too was encouraged by the assessment event last week.

Church planting takes courage


Special thanks to First Presbyterian Church of Tacoma, WA for hosting our Church Planting Assessment! Photo credit: Emily Day Special thanks to First Presbyterian Church of Tacoma, WA for hosting our Church Planting Assessment! Photo credit: Emily Day

Read more

June 15, 2014 — by Dana Allin

Important Shifts For Our Future Development

Thoughts about the future

In the middle of May, the ECO Synod Executive Council met for a day. We spent some time thinking about the future and looking at where we need to spend our time and energy for future development. We took a look at our mission statement, “to build flourishing churches that make disciples of Jesus Christ.” We began to ask,

Read more

June 12, 2014 — by ECO Communications Team

When It's Time To Pass The Baton

Discipling faithful men and women


In what’s believed to be a letter written from prison, shortly before Paul’s death, Paul wrote to Timothy, the one who “as a son with his father [had] served with [Paul] in the work of the gospel;” the one who had “proved himself.” Paul knew his time was short and that he was close to finishing the race he had been called to run. It was now time to make sure the baton he was passing was securely in the hand of those who would continue the race; to those who would be faithful in the ministry of shepherding the church in such a way that they “proclaim” Christ, “admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that” they “may present everyone mature in Christ.”

Read more

June 9, 2014 — by Bill Young

The Good News: A Matter of Eternity & Justice Right Here, Right Now

The work of the Gospel


what-difference-does-jesus-make-eco
“Do we really need to be concerned that people hear about Jesus? What difference does Jesus make?”

Last week was my final staff retreat as Executive Director of PFF (Presbyterian Frontier Fellowship). After the retreat, one of our staff members was telling a group of us about her recent meeting with a mission committee. She had shared with the committee about the focus of PFF on helping Presbyterians be part of what God is doing in taking the gospel to those who have no church in their own language and culture. A couple of committee members responded with the questions above. Our staff member could have answered those questions on several levels. After all, all the answers boil down to the reality that the coming of Jesus is good news (the literal meaning of the word gospel!). It’s good news for people who are trapped in sin and who are separated from God.

Read more

June 4, 2014 — by ECO Communications Team

Lessons In Church Planting: Are You Curious?

When business gets in the way


I’m coming to realize one of the most exciting things about church planting is how it offers us the opportunity to become curious again. In church planting, there’s a renewed focus on listening and learning the stories of the people, neighborhoods, and industries of our cities where we are starting new churches. We get to ask questions like:

Read more

May 29, 2014 — by Rev. Eric O. Jacobsen

A Year of Jubilee

Unflappable: The ability to remain cool and calm in the midst of a crisis.


For as long as I’ve served in ministry, unflappability has been a core aspect of my pastoral identity. Or, I should say that was a core aspect of my pastoral identity—until Holy Week 2013. That date will stand out in my memory as the time I was officially flapped.

Read more

May 14, 2014 — by Keith Hill

"The Talk"

The-Talk

It's time to talk about...


We know we need to, but we just don’t want to. So we put it off, and hope someone else will take care of it (our spouse, the church Youth Director, etc.). I’m talking about “the talk”—the proverbial conversation about sex that parents know they must have with their children.

Read more

May 12, 2014 — by Anna Kent

Unleashing The Ministry Gifts of Women, Men, and Every Ethnic Group

It's one of our core values


Do you ever have a moment when someone says something and you think, “Well, that’s the craziest thing I’ve ever heard!” This happened to me when I went on a walk in my neighborhood recently. I greeted some neighbors as we passed on the street, and one of them said, “I just saw your dog running down the street.” Really? That’s crazy, I thought, because I just left my house two minutes ago and my dog was safely inside wearing his collar which keeps him inside our electronic fence. Or, it’s happened when someone said, “Wow, I love those red pants you’re wearing.” And as I looked down at my khaki pants, I thought, that’s crazy, because I’m pretty sure these pants are khaki.

Read more