July 24, 2014 — by ECO Communications Team

Equipping Pastors For Ministry

Creating ECO's ordination process


When ECO was conceived, there was hope that what would be created was a reformed body that kept churches connected, but allowed enough autonomy and flexibility that the local church would be able to flourish, thrive, and plant new churches. When a team of us imagined what the ordination process would look like for future ECO pastors, we took that vision and attempted to create a process that would be adaptable and flexible enough to meet the unique needs of each candidate. We also wanted to create a rigorous process of assessment that would have high expectations of candidates who needed to be theologically astute, knowledgeable of scripture, called and supported by their church community, and had already served the church successfully in multiple capacities.

Read more

July 10, 2014 — by ECO Communications Team

The Gathering at Windsor Survives and Seeks To Thrive

An update from our friends in Windsor


Greetings ECO from one of your newest members, The Gathering at Windsor (TG) in Windsor, CO! We’re posting here to tell you more of our story in coming to ECO and some of our dreams for the next chapter. Circumstances have led us through a rocky season, but we have high hopes and faith as we aspire to a glorious future for the praise of our Lord Jesus!

Read more

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

May 4, 2014 — by Bill Young

What Does Healthy, Cross-Cultural Missions Look Like?

Asking the hard questions


Are we living in the day when the US church no longer has a place in mission, other than to send money? Should we just support nationals who can do the work better anyway? Or is the US church "the hope of the world" in mission? Are we the ones who know best what needs to be done, and how? What is our role in God’s mission in the world today?

Read more

May 1, 2014 — by Dana Allin

In Pursuit of God's Mission For The Church

Reorienting our goal as the Church


Reorienting Church Goals This coming Sunday, I have the privilege of preaching at First Presbyterian Church of Colorado Springs and I plan on using Acts 1:1-8. My title for the sermon is, “God’s Mission has a Church.” I believe we often reverse the relationship between mission and church.

Read more

April 9, 2014 — by Keith Hill

Stepping Back To Gain A Broader View

Wading through the details


Do any of you (besides me) ever get lost in the weeds of this denomination building business? I serve on the Ministry and Assimilation Team (M.A.T.) in the East Central Presbytery, and there are so many pieces to put into place. Some days, it can be very wearisome.

Read more

April 3, 2014 — by John Terech

"Synergistic Integration"

Seeing the synergy


synergistic_integration


In my new role, here at ECO as Director of Operations, I really didn’t know what to expect when I hit the road for some serious business travel. Hotel and airline life are not exactly glamorous, but they do certainly have their own culture. Often, all the travel time allows you to read a lot and this can be rewarding especially when you read something or see something that strikes a chord and makes you think, “This could certainly apply to what we are doing today!” And what we are doing at ECO, as we build a denomination, is trying to keep up with what God is already doing in our midst.

Read more