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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June 28, 2016 — by Matthew Lee

ECO Church Planting Network

Our desire as a denomination is to see churches planted that are gospel-centered, healthy, contextualized, and missional. We are excited to see new churches being planted throughout the United States. This is the first update/newsletter for the ECO Church Planting Network. Want to receive updates via email? Please subscribe. We will be sending these out on a monthly or quarterly basis. We will include prayer requests as well. 

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June 27, 2016 — by Becky Lahna

Our God Is Faithful

The weeks leading up to my move to California have been full of contemplation.  Looking forward and looking back.  I’ve been in Boston for 11 years now.  These years have been both difficult and joyful.  I’ve experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.  But what if I hadn’t come to New England 11 years ago?  What if I had stayed in the familiarity and comfort of what was known back in Chattanooga, Tennessee?  It’s conceivable.  From the outside looking in, there was really no reason to move to Boston.  Life was good back in Tennessee.  I had friends.  We played softball (and won!). 

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May 16, 2016 — by Eric Laverentz

Seven Ways For Elders To Shepherd People Right Now

Often when someone older joins our congregation, they will be very concerned with making sure their ‘letter of transfer’ is properly handled.  It is almost like you are dealing with an agency of the Federal Government and they must present proper ID in order to verify their faith and be fully welcomed into our fellowship.

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May 9, 2016 — by ECO Communications Team

Meet The Moderator Of Northern California & Nevada: Terri McNabb

These are exciting times for us in ECO!  Many of our presbyteries are multiplying.  I have had the privilege of being the MPT chair for the past two years for the Presbytery of Northern California, Nevada and Hawaii.  Now, as Moderator, I am facilitating the transition from one presbytery into two.  We are now becoming the Presbytery of Northern California and Nevada, (which I will continue to moderate) and Bluewater Presbytery, which will consist of the churches in the Northwestern side of California and Hawaii.

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May 9, 2016 — by Anna Kent

Praying For Our MAGs

I've been wondering something lately. I've actually been wondering a lot of things lately. The Lord has been stirring a number of things in my heart.  I fear I may have been doing a little too much “navel-gazing”… a little too much self-introspection.  I’ll share a bit and you can be the judge.  

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April 18, 2016 — by Stuart Strachan

The Life-Giving Nature of ECO’s Polity

“In ECO polity, the role of the presbytery is to support, encourage, and be a resource for local congregations. ECO presbyteries are designed to be flexible and to cultivate connection and community among member churches.” -Intro to  ECO Presbyteries

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April 11, 2016 — by Pete Santucci

God Is In The Details

Easter Sunday worship may be one of the most predictable services in the year. We know the story. We know the songs. We know that egg hunts and families meals are par for the course.

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April 7, 2016 — by ECO Communications Team

Meet The Moderator Of The Rivers Of Life: Jason Schepp

Rivers of Life Presbytery sits in the wooded country side of Western Pennsylvania, and is home to a hard working, fun loving group of men and women.  It is an area that is filled with congregations that desire the opportunity to grow and teach discipleship.  Through this new presbytery, it is my hope that we can create an environment that empowers as well as guides these congregations in the way of the early church, and to a movement of disciple builders.

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March 28, 2016 — by Matthew Lee

ECO Church Planting

As I begin my new role and ministry at ECO, I am excited and hopeful for what God will do in and through the individuals and churches of this denomination. I love the fact that so many ECO churches and pastors have a heart to see new churches started and their neighborhood, towns, and cities transformed by the Gospel. I also love the de-centralized emphasis where congregations have the primary ownership and responsibility to plant churches versus the denomination. This vision will not only empower local churches to have more “skin in the game,” but will also foster a greater culture of multiplication.

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March 21, 2016 — by Eric Laverentz

3 Things Elders Did For 4,000 Years

The role of church elder has changed substantially during the last century.  Following the Civil War, gaining momentum well into the 20th century, elders moved from a primary role as a shepherd of people alongside the pastors, to become the superintendent of a program or ministry.  To put it simply, for nearly four millenia, elders oversaw people.  For a hundred years up and until today, Presbyterian elders focus nearly all their time upon the things of the church—bricks, money, programs, and pew pencils—at the expense of the people.   

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March 17, 2016 — by ECO Communications Team

Meet The Moderators Blog Series

It has only been 4 years since ECO was launched (in January of 2012) and it took another 5 months before any congregations were actually able to join ECO. At the time of our 2016 gathering in Newport Beach, ECO was made up of 252 congregations that represent over 100,000 covenant partners.

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March 7, 2016 — by Len Tang

Benefits Of Bi-Vocational Church Planting

They say that necessity is the mother of invention.  The economic realities of the church and church planting today are necessitating bi-vocational church planting. The Apostle Paul, of course, was the original tentmaker!  In many ethnic churches and smaller churches, bi-vocational ministry has always been the norm rather than the exception. Today, there are even conferences for bivocational planters and pastors

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March 3, 2016 — by ECO Communications Team

STRIVE 2016: Walking Through An Open Door

Hope. That is how I characterize STRIVE. Coming from snow-bound West Virginia, it seemed to metaphorically represent the spiritual binding of Presbyterians here who feel trapped without options, but the joy and passion of the commissioners and guests affirmed that God is doing a new thing.  There is an open door – if we will just walk through it.  

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February 29, 2016 — by Travis Fletcher

STRIVE 2016: "Strive For Something Greater"

After the ECO gathering ended, I drove over to the back bay (I called the back bay, a native friend of mine instructed me facetiously, “because there’s no such thing as canals or ditches in southern California.”) from St. Andrew's and took a run along the trails.  It was a gorgeous, sunny day, and I felt simulatenously drained (from the long days and lots of time with my “extrovert” hat on) and energized by the week together with the ECO family.

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February 22, 2016 — by Dana Allin

STRIVE Blog Series

We are so grateful for the many powerful and exciting ways in which God was at work at ECO's STRIVE national gathering in January! We had a wonderful time together in worship, connecting with friends and colleagues from across the country, and learning from so many effective ministry leaders from both within and outside of our tribe.

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February 18, 2016 — by Eric Laverentz

Being All Things To All People

After our staff devotional on Tuesday, I polled the group about their favorite and least favorite Super Bowl commercials. The favorite was a mixed bag, but least favorite, overwhelmingly, was the infamous “Puppy Monkey Baby” commercial. It generated a nearly visceral reaction among the staff.

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February 8, 2016 — by Lisa Johnson

STRIVE: A New Journey Has Just Begun!

It was wonderful to be with many of you at the “Strive” National Convention in Newport Beach.  I was so encouraged and inspired by the gathering of the body of Christ to worship and the excellent teaching we received. Dana’s words: “We’ve built a denomination, now let’s start a movement” have been echoing in my ears since the Gathering.  So many of you travelled long journeys to become a part of ECO. You might be weary and the temptation is to say “We’ve arrived.” But becoming a part of ECO means that your new journey has just begun!

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January 25, 2016 — by Becky Lahna

Church Planting: The Place Where Vision And Burden Meet

Six years ago I had a conversation that profoundly impacted me and my understanding of calling.  The context: I had been studying the Bible with a college student for a few weeks.  She did not identify as a Christian but was eager to learn more about Jesus.  We were looking at the story of Jesus’ death on the cross in Luke 23.  As we read through the passage, I watched her body language change.  She sank back in her chair; shoulders turned in and head down.  “What’s wrong?” I asked.  “If Jesus really is God and he died, what good is it for us?  That’s a terrible end to the story.”  A light bulb came on for me.  It was an aha! moment.  I realized that she had never heard the end of the story.  She didn’t know that Jesus was raised from the dead!  She didn’t know the Good News of Easter.  And how could she unless someone told her?

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January 18, 2016 — by Matthew Lee

Vision for ECO Church Planting

As I begin my new role and ministry at ECO, I am excited and hopeful for what God will do in and through the individuals and churches of this denomination. I love the fact that so many ECO churches and pastors have a heart to see new churches started and their neighborhood, towns, and cities transformed by the Gospel. I also love the de-centralized emphasis where congregations have the primary ownership and responsibility to plant churches versus the denomination. This vision will not only empower local churches to have more “skin in the game,” but will also foster a greater culture of multiplication.

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January 7, 2016 — by Candice Barry

Being Incarnational In The Workplace

John 1:14 says "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Now, take a deep breath and go back and read it again. Whether that was the first or the hundredth time you have read that verse, take a second to think about how huge that is. It is the good news. Jesus, who was with the Father, saw value in us and chose to make his dwelling among us. Wow. If we believe that to be true, then it stands to reason that our lives should point others to his glory, grace, and truth. The light that we shine must ultimately point to the source that is Christ. So, what does it look like to take the posture of Jesus in the workplace? I am no expert on the topic, but I am very humbled to be able to share my story.

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