November 7, 2017 — by Anna Kent

Mission Affinity Group Update

One of the blessings of our growth in ECO comes with the multiplication of our presbyteries.  And because our presbyteries are multiplying, it means that we are living more fully into the idea of smaller, more relational presbyteries. That means that we have the opportunity to develop deeper relationships among ECO leadership and realize the blessing and benefit of COVENANTAL ACCOUNTABILITY!  

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April 6, 2017 — by Anna Kent

A Community Committed to Christ's Commission

Over the past year, I am thankful to have been involved with a couple of initiatives through ECO.  The pilot project of the Discipleship Initiative was a great learning experience on how to develop a disciple-making culture within a church.  Also, I have been actively involved with one of our Mission Affinity Groups which includes four churches who are going through the Elder Leadership Institute (ELI) together.  I remain thrilled with and excited about the development of the Becoming a Flourishing Church resource and cannot wait to hear responses to it from ECO leaders!

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November 30, 2016 — by Anna Kent

Building a Healthy Team With ELI & MAGs

I want to share with you a pretty exciting thing God has made happen in one of our ECO Mission Affinity Groups.  At the beginning of the year, Lisa Johnson, Director of ELI, Dana Allin and I sat down to discuss just how we might begin a pilot project of inviting a Mission Affinity Group into an experience of the Elder Leadership Institute.  Lisa has done an incredible job of building on the foundation of ELI by revamping some of the content and the approach so that the experience accommodates the transformational change we hope happens in ECO churches.  The MAG relationship is a perfect crucible to experiment and test out some of the enhancements. Lisa and I invited a group of Alabama churches to be the first guinea pigs.  I knew from being involved with this MAG that they were interested in strengthening the elder leadership through additional training and hoped to do that together. Westminster Pres and Overlook Pres both in Mobile, Bryan Memorial in Hoover, and the Eden Seekers in Enterprise were the perfect fit.  

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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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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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August 7, 2015 — 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

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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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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.

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