August 27, 2014 — by Dr. Laura Smit

Choosing To Be Theological Or To Be Missional

To be theological or to be missional


medium_3904198951 I hope that title seems wrong to you. I hope that you read it and say: Obviously, all true theology leads to mission, and all mission is grounded in some theology. If it’s a God-honoring mission, it will be grounded in God-honoring theology.

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August 22, 2014 — by Dana Allin

When We Gathered in Dallas: ECO's Synod Meeting

A few things have changed since we gathered 18 months ago


Wow! I am both excited and exhausted—what a great couple of days we had in Dallas at the 2014 National Gathering! It’s exciting to see how we’ve grown from 30 churches and 10,000 covenant partners at our first Synod gathering in 2013 to now having 149 churches and 60,000 covenant partners at this gathering. Plus, it’s extremely encouraging to see a dozen church plants in various stages of formation and organization! There is so much to be grateful for.

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August 13, 2014 — by Rev. Eric O. Jacobsen

Words I Never Thought I'd Say

Feelings of dread


Rank in order (from most undesirable to least undesirable) the following experiences:

  1. A root canal

  2. An IRS audit

  3. Your denomination’s synod meeting

  4. Putting your dog down


There was a time in the not-too-distant past when ‘item C’ might have beaten out a few of these for the status of least desirable. I’m not kidding. I really used to dread going to denominational meetings. It’s not that denominational meetings were literally as painful as a root canal, but in my experience, they were painful in their own way. The pain I experienced had to do with the yawning gap between what could be and maybe what should be and what I actually experienced.

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August 3, 2014 — by Anna Kent

I’m So ECO I Remember When...

Getting ready to gather


National_Gathering_ECOIf you’re plugged in to the Facebook world, you may have seen the recent trend of status updates that goes something like this: I’m so [name your town] I remember when ___________. I grew up in Longview, Texas, and wanted to post this: “I’m so Longview, I remember my mom sipping a Tab while we swam in the pool at the Holiday Inn on Highway 80.” Reflecting on the “I’m so _________” trend made me a bit nostalgic. I giggled to myself as I thought about how this might apply to life in ECO.

  • I’m so ECO, I remember when ECO was simply a Spirit-filled concept…

  • I’m so ECO, I remember when ECO was called the “NRB...”

  • I’m so ECO, I remember our first gathering in Minneapolis…


The nostalgia grasped me as I’ve been preparing for our upcoming National Gathering in Dallas. I loved Keith Hill’s blog last week, Dallas in August!? I found myself vocalizing an “Amen” to all of his points about why he’s counting down the days until we gather. I thought I would follow his lead with a few additional thoughts on preparing for our time together.
Prayer

Yea, yea, I know this goes without saying, but I’m trying to be intentional about praying daily for the Gathering. It’s amazing to me all the moving parts and details involved in putting together such an event. And, this isn’t just an event like any other. The Gathering will be Spirit-filled with worshiping, teaching and learning, information sharing, decision-making, and joyfully fellowshipping. I’m praying for each person involved at every level, for safe travels for all, for Spirit-filled teaching and leading, for the discussion and business in our Synod meeting, and for God’s hand to be on each and every detail, among other things.
Life-of-the-mind prep

Once again, the line up of speakers for the Gathering is top-notch, and I look forward to being inspired and challenged by what they have to say and teach. I’m not sure I’ll have time to read all the books they’ve written, but I do plan to peruse their websites, familiarize myself with their ministries, and look forward to pondering what they might have to say and how it relates to our life in ECO.
Connections

As an extreme extrovert, an event like the Gathering is my ideal scenario! I love connecting names and faces with folks I haven’t met yet and catching up with folks who I haven’t seen in a while. The Gathering presents such a wonderful and unique opportunity to celebrate and dance in the joy of our like-mindedness. I want to especially encourage that if your church hasn’t gotten connected in a Mission Affinity Group, then the Gathering is a great place to connect. Or, if you’re a pastor and in need of a Pastoral Covenant Group, ask around at the Synod meeting or check out our Fellowship brothers and sisters and look for potential folks with whom to connect.
Endurance

I find time spent at past Gatherings is much like attempting to drink water out of a fire hose. There are never enough hours in the day to catch up with everyone I want to see or meet or ponder the different things we’re experiencing. So, to get the most out of our time together, I’m psyching myself up for getting up earlier than normal and staying up later than normal and being stretched a lot more than normal. I can’t wait for that feeling I’ve had at past Gatherings—the combination of both exhaustion and exhilaration combined in one. This feeling has propelled me forth as we depart into the next steps of Kingdom-building to which God has called us. Bring it on!

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