February 17, 2014 — by ECO Communications Team
January marks the two-year anniversary of ECO. We launched in January 2012, accepted our first congregation in May 2012, and now have over 108 member churches and two new churches in the process of being planted. Praise God for the ongoing story of ECO! A few weeks ago in the ECO newsletter, I shared five focus areas for ECO as we grow into 2014. In case you missed it, I wanted to share it again here to keep us focused as we live into our mission in the new year.Read more
Wes Barry and his family are planting a church in Charlotte, North Carolina. This is ECO's very first East Coast plant. Learn how you can partner with this growing community through prayer or by giving to the mission.
We are pleased to announce John Terech as ECO's new Director of Operations. John is tremendously gifted, bringing more than 20 years of leadership experience in finance, administration, and ministry. In this new role, John will assist Brenda Smith (our COO, who is stepping back to part-time) in financial, legal, and insurance operations. He will also support Dana Allin (Synod Executive) in ecclesiastical operations, including resourcing congregations and presbyteries. But what we love most about John is his heart for ministry and love for Jesus. Here, in John's own words, is some of his story — including how both personal and national tragedy awakened him spiritually.Read more
David Garrison has a new book coming out in January 2014 called A Wind in the House of Islam. In this book he looks at Christian movements in the Muslim world. He classifies a movement as at least 1,000 baptisms or 100 new churches started from one source. He notes there have only been a handful of such movements from 1600-1980. However in the last 20 years there have been 70 well documented independent movements of this magnitude. His point? The Sprit of God is blowing in some unique and powerful ways in the Muslim world.
Most people, Christian or not, would agree with Jesus’ summation of God’s will: “Love the Lord with all you got, and love your neighbor as yourself.” Many people, whether Christian or not, tend to not focus as much on the first command; but most everyone expresses an opinion about how to love others and whether or not that is being practiced well by others.Read more
Over the past several months, I’ve been on the road a bit attending various regional gatherings of ECO and Fellowship churches. I’ve been delighted to set forth a picture of Mission Affinity Groups (MAGs) and to share the stories of several MAGs that are up and running.Read more
This Thanksgiving Hymn was written by Rev. Dr. Richard Gibbons from First Presbyterian Church of Greenville, SC. Last week while traveling with colleagues in China he penned this hymn to share with his congregation on Thanksgiving weekend. You too are warmly invited to use this hymn this weekend.Read more
In ten years what will ECO be known for? According to our “Who We Are” statements, we’ll be known for:
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.Read more
Preeminent among our ECO core values is the call to a “Jesus-shaped identity,” prompting us to keep Jesus at the center of who we are and His ministry at the center of what we do. But this begs the question, “Which Jesus?”Read more
ECO has been clear: we’re excited about New Church Development (NCD). We’re making use of the best models, learning from Terry Gyger's wisdom on church planting, devoting significant resources to NCDs, and developing a network of NCD pastors. We’re determined to do this well.Read more
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.Read more