November 20, 2013 — by Dana Allin

"What Gets Measured Gets Done."

“What gets measured gets done.”

Peter Ducker was the one who coined this phrase and over the years, I have found this principle very helpful, especially in how I have seen it applied within the life of a congregation.

Measuring Growth

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November 17, 2013 — by Rev. Eric O. Jacobsen

Standing Up to Quiet Down

"Local Churches Leave Denomination Over Homosexuality"


stepping upThis is a headline I've been dreading ever since my church began the discernment process to determine whether we should leave our denomination. The last thing I want is for our congregation to be known in the community as "the church that hates gay people." For a church in a city that was recently voted “The Gayist City in America,” such a reputation could have a negative impact on our mission.

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November 11, 2013 — by Rev. Mateen Elass

Learning to Make Disciples

One year ago, a dear member of my congregation gave me a book. It sat on my office desk until last week, when I finally opened it and began reading. I only wish I hadn’t let it sit so long.

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November 3, 2013 — by Keith Hill

Known for What?

In ten years what will ECO be known for? According to our “Who We Are” statements, we’ll be known for:


  • building flourishing churches that make disciples of Jesus Christ

  • baptizing more than we bury

  • a missional pattern of church life

  • and our new church planting passion


praise worship

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October 28, 2013 — by Dr. Laura Smit

Meeting Jesus at His Table

What exactly is happening when we come to the Lord’s table and celebrate the sacrament of Communion? This is one of those issues about which Christians disagree passionately. We can think of all the many understandings of the sacrament as falling into three groups.

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October 7, 2013 — by Rev. Mateen Elass

How Much Do I Trust Jesus?

How much do I trust Jesus? Well, that depends. When He says things that fit with my views and priorities, I am happy to call Him my Lord and Savior. When He says things that my conscience sides with, even though I don’t want to hear them, I trust that He must be right. But when He says things that would mean radical change for my life and comfort, then I don’t trust Him. Not really. Even though I say I do, and want others to believe that I do, my lifestyle does not greatly reflect Jesus’ teachings. I know I’m not alone.

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September 30, 2013 — by Len Tang

A Vision for a Church Planting Pipeline

All of us want to participate in something bigger than ourselves, to be connected not only to a congregation but to a movement — to be part of advancing God's Kingdom. Church planting is a way for every leader and congregation to be connected to and invested in proclaiming Christ around the country.

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September 26, 2013 — by Dr. Laura Smit

The Church as Community: How Big Is It?

This semester, I’m teaching “The Holy Spirit and the Church.” Our primary textbook is Exploring Ecclesiology: An Evangelical and Ecumenical Introduction by Brad Harper and Paul Louis Metzger. I really like that the chapters come in pairs, first a chapter on a theological idea, then a chapter of case study exploring the relevance of that idea to everyday life in the American church.

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September 23, 2013 — by Keith Hill

Renovating Even As We Move In

My first pastoral call was to the First Presbyterian Church of Winnfield, a little town in the piney woods of northern Louisiana. The manse next door to the church was built about 1900. It was one of those beautiful old southern homes, with a wide wrap-around porch with a swing. Before the church secured it for a manse, the house was the office for a timber company.

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