August 7, 2015 β€” by Anna Kent

Accountable Community Through MAGs

Advocate: The dictionary[1] might define the term like: a person who speaks or writes in support of or in defense of a person, cause, etc. or a person who pleads for or in behalf of another.   I love the idea of an advocate, particularly because John makes reference to it in relation to Christ ~ My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.  (I John 2:1)  In ECO, we have advocates that help us in our work as followers of The Advocate

Read more

August 6, 2015 β€” by Donald Marsden

Missions: Faith And Fellowship

At a mission conference I attended around 1991, a theme emphasized was this: β€œThe church that really believes in mission does not only send money to support mission, but also sends its children into the mission field.” I’ve been pondering this theme since attending the New Wilmington Mission Conference late in July. NWMC has been meeting every summer since 1906. Its purpose is to ignite in young people an understanding of and passion for serving Jesus in global mission.Β 

Read more

July 30, 2015 β€” by Claire Ripley

Coming Together: ECO Mission Affinity Groups

Return on Investment: We live in a world that measures the benefit of every investment by its performance and potential payoff. These are busy times for church leaders. While some may be hoping to squeeze in one more break this summer, most are ramping up to meet the demands of a hectic fall schedule. Commitments and calendars weigh heavy on our minds. Trying to plan an “extra” meeting where three or four sessions gather seems like an impossible task, which quite frankly may just not seem that valuable. Is being in a Missional Affinity Group really worth our time and effort?

Read more

July 30, 2015 β€” by Tim Fearer

Building Flourishing Churches that Make Disciples

The mission of ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians is to build flourishing churches that make disciples of Jesus Christ.” Our mission statement is a declaration of who we aspire to be and increasingly become. It is a single sentence that defines the “business” we are in. It is an over-arching, controlling idea that should determine and then evaluate all we are about.

Read more

July 27, 2015 β€” by Rob WeinGartner

Partnerships Are Hard: A Letter Of Encouragement

There is a lot of talk these days about doing mission in partnership.  It is driven, in part, by an increasing awareness of the growing global church and respect for the initiative and faithfulness of brothers and sisters in Christ who are already engaged in mission in places where we are or seek to be involved.

Read more

June 29, 2015 β€” by TomHawker

Responding to the Call

After 40+ years working in the financial world as a banker, I retired in 2008. Given the chaos from the meltdown of the financial system, my plans for post-retirement activities were upended. I wondered what I would do, given I was healthy and had garnered a boatload of experience.

Read more

June 18, 2015 β€” by Dave Reichelderfer

The Beautiful Blessing Of Infant Baptism

Infant baptism is a long-held practice in the Reformed tradition. The Reformers were blessed by the beauty of infant baptism as it was practiced in the church from ancient times. They sought to be faithful to the practice that was given to them by the church fathers in keeping with the Holy Scriptures. We are blessed by the beauty of the Reformed teachings that shape our practice to this day.

Read more

June 10, 2015 β€” by Dana Allin

ECO's Third Core Value: Thoughtful Theology

Over the next several months, in preparation for our national gathering, we will be focusing our Thursday blog posts on ECO’s nine values. We will spend a month of Thursdays on each of the values, where I will write an introductory blog post and then other authors will expand upon our Biblical understanding of the value for the next 3-4 weeks. We are excited to dig in together and pray that you will join us in this journey as we strive to stay connected until we see each other in person next January!

Read more

June 4, 2015 β€” by Donna Rivett

Biblical Integrity: Shaped By The Unique And Authoritative Word Of God

I believe the Bible is the unique and authoritative Word of God, which teaches all that is necessary for faith and life. The prominence of God’s Word over our lives shapes our priorities, and the unrivaled authority of the Bible directs our actions to be in concert with Christ’s very best for our lives. I believe in Biblical Integrity.

Read more

June 1, 2015 β€” by Dan McNerney

It's Harvest Time!

Don't let anyone tell you that the Arab Spring failed or is no longer alive and well! It is roaring like a lion throughout the Middle East, especially in the hearts of young people. The worldwide web, ease of communication and travel, satellite TV, and handheld computers have brought world events and brand-new ways of thinking into nearly every living room in the Middle East. As a result, Muslims are hearing the Gospel at a rate unprecedented in history.

Read more

May 21, 2015 β€” by Tim Harrison

Biblical Integrity: An Expression Of Our Love For God

Over the next several months, in preparation for our national gathering, we will be focusing our Thursday blog posts on ECO’s nine core values. We will spend a month of Thursdays on each of the values, where Dana Allin will write an introductory blog post and then other authors will expand upon our Biblical understanding of the value for the next 3-4 weeks. We pray that you will join us in this journey as we strive to stay connected until we see each other in person next January!

Read more

May 18, 2015 β€” by Becky Lahna

10 Things A Runner Learns About Walking With Jesus

I love to run and am currently working towards my goal of running a half marathon in every one of the 50 states!  During training and racing, I have learned a few things that have encouraged me in my relationship with Jesus and I pray they encourage you too.

Read more

May 7, 2015 β€” by Dana Allin

ECO's Core Values: #2 Biblical Integrity

Over the next several months, in preparation for our national gathering, we will be focusing our Thursday blog posts on ECO’s nine values. We will spend a month of Thursdays on each of the values, where I will write an introductory blog post and then other authors will expand upon our Biblical understanding of the value for the next 3-4 weeks. We are excited to dig in together and pray that you will join us in this journey as we strive to stay connected until we see each other in person next January!

Read more

April 30, 2015 β€” by Rev. Eric O. Jacobsen

Jesus Shaped Identity At The Denominational Level

Jesus called them together and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Matt 20:25-28)

Read more

April 20, 2015 β€” by Shelley Homeyer

Reaping & Sowing On The Mission Field

On December 17, 2014, my phone rang and our twenty-year-old son Adam was calling and his voice was stressed. He said he had an accident in our car with damage to the vehicle and moderate injuries to the other passengers. In Kampala, most accidents are hit and run, as was this accident. The Boda (motorcycle taxi) driver caused the accident and fled leaving his two injured passengers lying on the street.

Read more

April 16, 2015 β€” by Jennifer Howat

Alive To Thrive: Living and Laboring From Our Jesus Shaped Identity

ECO is committed to building flourishing churches that make disciples of Jesus Christ, but no church can flourish and multiply unless its leaders and people are thriving in their relationships with Jesus. That’s why the first value of ECO is foundational to life and ministry. Jesus-shaped Identity: We believe Christ must be at the center of our lives and making disciples of Jesus at the core of our ministry.

Read more

April 13, 2015 β€” by Joy & Thomas Boone

Sveiki From Klaipeda, Lithuania!

SveikiΒ  from Klaipeda, Lithuania, to our ECO brothers and sisters! We are Tom and Joy Boone, serving as missionaries through teaching at LCC International University. Tom is the chair of Theology and Joy teaches in the Business Department. Our work here began in August 2013, following a two-year season of discernment that involved leaving the PCUSA, visiting global Christians through The Outreach Foundation, doing pastoral training in remote areas of the world, and organizing an ECO church in Fountain Inn, SC.

Read more

April 9, 2015 β€” by Dana Allin

ECO's Core Values: #1 Jesus Shaped Identity

Over the next several months, in preparation for our national gathering, we will be focusing our Thursday blog posts on ECO’s nine core values. We will spend a month of Thursdays on each of the values, where I will write an introductory blog post and then other authors will expand upon our Biblical understanding of the value for the next 3-4 weeks. We are excited to dig in together and pray that you will join us in this journey as we strive to stay connected until we see each other in person next January!

Read more

April 1, 2015 β€” by Bill Young

Blessed To Be A Blessing

A couple of weeks ago I was part of a gathering for believers in Jesus who come from Muslim backgrounds, along with people working to take the good news to Muslims. A young woman from a difficult country in Asia thanked me profusely for being part of leadership for the conference. She said with tears in her eyes, “You don’t know how encouraging this is, to be with other people who share many of the struggles I face, and to know that there are people who care about us. Thank you so much!”

Read more

March 30, 2015 β€” by Lisa Johnson

Discovering The Missing Piece

Since my ordination in 1999, I have worked as an Associate Pastor in 5 different Presbyterian churches. I have been attending session meetings monthly since I was 25 years old…and I have learned a few things along the way! In my first call out of seminary, fresh and idealized about church ministry, I eagerly joined the session in the leading of the church. I was excited to gather with godly men and women who had been called and equipped to serve the church as elders. I felt proud of these elders who had stepped up to serve church with their precious time and talents (without any monetary compensation such as I was receiving).

Read more

March 19, 2015 β€” by Pete Santucci

Learning How To Become Missionaries

When I was in college, I started writing a short play based on the Zacchaeus story. There was a man in our church named Bill who stood at an awesome 6’10” and I thought it would be ironic to cast him as Zacchaeus. “A wee little man was he.” Not.

Read more

March 16, 2015 β€” by Sarah Singleton

Unlearning Our Natural Independence

Today on the ECO blog, we are grateful to hear from Sara Singleton, the founding director of ELI, Elder Leadership Institute: a church leadership training program in the Reformed tradition. ELI develops and supports spiritual leadership for the church by training ruling elders (members of Session) together with their teaching elder (pastor).

Most of my Christian life has been remedial. Since the Fall, perhaps that’s true in some sense for all of us. There’s a lot that comes naturally that must be unlearned: simple things that stem from our inherited and inherent sin, as well as our living in a broken world. For example, take the common measure that is used for success. Deep in our bones, how many of us feel that success involves a modicum of recognition from others, some degree of comfort, a measure of financial security and a sense of personal satisfaction? But how did Jesus measure success? By doing His Father’s will. Period. In fact, Jesus said that he could do nothing by Himself, but only what he saw His Father doing (Jn 5:19). I don’t think for a second that Jesus couldn’t think about his mission, open his mouth to speak, or implement a plan that involved his disciples. It’s just that Jesus wouldn’t do anything apart from His Father’s will and the Spirit’s power. He could do nothing by Himself, otherwise, He wasn’t fully God: the eternal, unchanging, omnipresent God who is in perfect fellowship within the Godhead of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Read more

March 9, 2015 β€” by Dr. Laura Smit

Baptized in the Holy Spirit

How do I know whether or not i've received the Holy Spirit? That question troubled me a lot when I was young. Many of my junior high classmates were involved in the charismatic movement, and they had stories about signs and wonders that made me question whether my own experience of faith was really complete. After all, the New Testament often talks about baptism in the Holy Spirit as a specific event.

Read more