January 10, 2017 — by ECO NEWS

Rev. Lisa Johnson Modifies Role To “Unleash Laity”

The Elder Leadership Institute (ELI) began several years ago under the direction of Sara Singleton, and later Lisa Johnson became the assistant director. At that time, the ELI program was a ministry under the Fellowship of Presbyterians. A little less than two years ago, the ministry was given over to Flourish: a ministry arm of ECO that serves churches of different denominations. When the ministry moved to Flourish, Lisa became ELI's new director.  

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January 10, 2017 — by Dana Allin

Looking Forward In 2017

I was recently re-reading Les McKeown’s book Predictable Success: Getting Your Organization on the Growth Track and Keeping it There.  He talks about the life stages of a startup organization.   The initial stage is called “Early Struggle” and it is about the challenges that an organization faces in getting off the ground.  

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December 23, 2016 — by ECO NEWS

Merry Christmas From Littlerock Community Church!

I am currently the Head of Staff at Littlerock Community Church and a candidate for ordination through ECO.  Our church joined ECO just about a year ago and God has truly blessed us in the past year.  We are a small church located in California's Antelope Valley and so some of this may seem quite insignificant compared to our larger sister churches.  But in the past year, we started an adult Sunday School class which now averages around 15-17 every week and growing!  We also re-started a children’s Sunday School class that now has between 8-12 children each week.  We started a Saturday morning book study (currently reading through Max Lucado’s book on Grace) which has around 8 people each week.  Our growth had been stagnant, but during the past year, we have added 6 new members and I have had the privilege of baptizing four individuals!

Our people now truly feel challenged to “think outside of the box” and as a result, in addition to our normal Christmas caroling to members who are shut-in, we contacted a local “senior” mobile home park and asked if there were any residents that would like us to come.  We were given several names, so we were able to minister to them on a Friday night.  Every home that we sang to wanted to know the name of the church that we represented and we are already seeing some of their relatives coming to visit us!

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November 30, 2016 — by Anna Kent

Building a Healthy Team With ELI & MAGs

I want to share with you a pretty exciting thing God has made happen in one of our ECO Mission Affinity Groups.  At the beginning of the year, Lisa Johnson, Director of ELI, Dana Allin and I sat down to discuss just how we might begin a pilot project of inviting a Mission Affinity Group into an experience of the Elder Leadership Institute.  Lisa has done an incredible job of building on the foundation of ELI by revamping some of the content and the approach so that the experience accommodates the transformational change we hope happens in ECO churches.  The MAG relationship is a perfect crucible to experiment and test out some of the enhancements. Lisa and I invited a group of Alabama churches to be the first guinea pigs.  I knew from being involved with this MAG that they were interested in strengthening the elder leadership through additional training and hoped to do that together. Westminster Pres and Overlook Pres both in Mobile, Bryan Memorial in Hoover, and the Eden Seekers in Enterprise were the perfect fit.  

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November 30, 2016 — by Jen Haddox

Steams of Living Water in the Desert

When I think of the Arabian Peninsula, I imagine the Arabian desert with sand and lots of it!  Blazing sun and parched land with sparse vegetation, and the occasion camel or oasis.  The desert wilderness is not an easy place to live, but it is a place where God is at work!  As witnessed by the Hebrew people who were led out of Egypt and wandered for 40 years in such conditions, there was much to complain about with the harsh living conditions. But also tremendous opportunities to encounter the living God – just re-read Exodus 16-20! On a recent journey to the United Arab Emirates with our partners at Presbyterian Frontier Fellowship (PFF), I discovered that God is very active encountering the people who live and work in this fascinating place in our world. 

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November 30, 2016 — by Dana Allin

What are the Greatest Needs of ECO Churches?

In the last six months, I have tried to ascertain what are the greatest needs of ECO churches.  I have conducted informal and formal questioning around this subject with various pastors and congregational leaders.  I have compared their answers with my own observations from personal interactions.  While all of our congregations are different, there are some common themes that emerge within many of them.  

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August 17, 2016 — by Dana Allin

In ECO: Now What?

At ECO's national gathering in Newport Beach this past January, I led a breakout session called, “In ECO, Now What?”  This  question often gets asked in a variety of different ways.  I will get phone calls or e-mails stating that a congregation has been in ECO (usually for 6 months to a year) and the leaders want their congregation to live more fully into the values and vision that have been articulated. When I am asked these "now what?" questions, I tell congregations that they can do three things if they have not already been done.

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August 10, 2016 — by Tim Fearer

Discipleship And What People Really Want

Transformation. Accountability. Community.  ECO’s own John Terech was the one who first shared those words with me and others of us at a discipleship training in Greenville a few months ago.  He shared and told his own story, making all kinds of connections with our unfolding ECO story, born out of his weekly experiences with CrossFit.  Now I’m getting a taste of it, too.  

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August 2, 2016 — by Anna Kent

MAGS & ELI In Alabama

In March, I had the privilege of joining a group of ECO churches who were gathering for their initial MAG meeting.  It wasn’t so much an “official” MAG meeting, but rather one of those “first date” meetings where leaders gather and see if they might be a fit for a longer term relationship. (I love using dating analogies when it comes to matching up ECO churches in MAGs.)  The group that gathered included churches in my state of Sweet Home Alabama and comprised of representative leaders from Overlook Presbyterian and Westminster Presbyterian in Mobile and leaders from a splant in Enterprise, Alabama, now called the Eden Seekers.  I shouldn’t really say it was a “first date” meeting… several of the leaders already knew each other from having been connected previously.  It was nice to see these folks reconnect as covenant partners and leaders in now ECO churches.  

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