July 3, 2018 — by Dana Allin

Reflecting on ECO's Engagement on Current Issues

It seems as if there is an ever-increasing number of statements being made by organizations, denominations and associations.  I am not sure if I am simply more aware of what is happening because of the nature of my denominational role, or if there is truly is an increase in these statements. Most recently was the outcry over the policy for the separation of families at the border.  During this situation, we received a few e-mails asking or encouraging ECO to make a statement against the policy. As time passed, the policy got reversed, perhaps due to the outcry. While there are still families that need to be reunited, the immediacy that was felt to make a statement has passed.

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June 5, 2018 — by Dana Allin

Connecting with the Global Church - Iranians in London

Last month, I had the privilege of traveling with The Outreach Foundation to learn about the Iranian church in London. The focus of the trip was on the diaspora church, meaning Iranians who left their home country, either voluntarily or involuntarily. We also learned about how God was working inside of the country of Iran through the underground house church movement, and in those outside of the country.

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May 2, 2018 — by Dana Allin

What Is Your Next Flourishing Step? Part II

One of my favorite promises of hope is found in Philippians 1:6. Paul writes, I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. I often hear this passage applied to individuals - that God has done a good work in each of us and will continue His mighty work in us. While this is certainly true, the context of the passage reminds us that Paul is giving this promise to the whole church of Philippi. As I have taught and used this passage in multiple venues, I have often been struck by two important truths that come from it.

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April 4, 2018 — by Dana Allin

What Is Your Next Flourishing Step?

I hope and pray that you all had a wonderful Lenten season and Easter Sunday celebration of the powerful impact of the Resurrection on our lives and in our churches. One of my favorite books in the Bible is Acts, with it’s great recounting of how the resurrection changed the whole trajectory, mission, and orientation of the disciples. Acts begins in the same way that the book of Matthew ends: A commission is given to the disciples who are going to be witnesses to every region and to every person in the world.  I can imagine the disciples who heard the words of Jesus were likely excited about the possibilities, and perhaps overwhelmed at the enormity of the task. I know if I had been a disciple in that room I would have asked, “Ok Jesus, so what is the next step I need to take?”

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March 6, 2018 — by Dana Allin

Being a Hero-Maker

I am just returning home from a week-long trip to Florida that served two purposes. One was to work with Mandarin Presbyterian Church in Jacksonville, where Kevin Pound has been the senior pastor for 25 years. Over those years, the church has increased from an average worship attendance of less than 200 to 800 worshiping together on a Sunday. Now Kevin is preparing to retire. As a result of that impending change, the church is engaging in an intentional succession process to find a new senior pastor. I was working with the church and the PNC on that process to help determine what vision God has for them in the future, as well as helping to find the right new senior pastor to implement that vision.

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February 7, 2018 — by Dana Allin

Reflections on the National Gathering from Dana Allin

  Though several weeks have now passed, I am still so exhilarated from our National Gathering in Houston. It was a wonderful and long week, from preparing early at the venue to concluding with two days of coach training. Our fabulous staff deserves huge thanks, along with the gracious Houston churches who provided thousands of volunteer hours to make this event run smoothly. Allow me a moment to briefly reflect on three personal RENOVATE highlights that I hope we can continue to build upon in the future.

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January 3, 2018 — by Dana Allin

Polity in Place to Help our Congregations Flourish

In ECO, we have polity in place to help our congregations flourish. One of the parts of our polity that is often overlooked, states the following regarding presbytery duties:“The presbytery has the authority and pastoral responsibility to: Promote and encourage the missional effectiveness of its congregations. Each presbytery shall develop an instrument to assist its congregations in their annual review and narrative report of their ministry and mission. These annual reports shall be reviewed and discussed by the presbytery with each congregation’s session.” (3.0103 m.)

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December 4, 2017 — by Dana Allin

December Newsletter | A Word From Dana Allin

Confession time. For the first few years of my pastoral ministry I did not enjoy preaching during Advent. I have always liked to preach through a book in the Bible and felt as if Advent interrupted the book I was working through with my congregation. Plus, to have to preach four weeks AND Christmas Eve on concepts all relating to the preparation for and birth of Jesus was challenging to keep fresh and new, year after year. I knew it was powerful that God became flesh in Jesus, but in my evangelical mindset, the power of the incarnation was primarily utilitarian because it was necessary for the ultimate substitutionary atonement of our sins.

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November 7, 2017 — by Dana Allin

November Newsletter | A Word From Dana Allin

What Do We Mean by Evangelical? - Last year I was at a meeting for all of the denominational leaders who are part of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE). We met right after the election. As a result, there was significant dialogue about how the words evangelical and evangelicals have had negative associations.

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September 29, 2017 — by Dana Allin

October Newsletter | A Word From Dana Allin

When discerning the types of resources that we desire to provide for our congregations (either through direct development or in partnership with others), we have used a framework in our discernment process that asks a few key questions.

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August 31, 2017 — by Dana Allin

Entering into the Messiness

After the resurrection, Jesus returns to His disciples. He calms their fears and then commissions them by saying, “As the father sent me, so I am sending you”  (John 20:21). What has struck me recently about this passage is that just prior to commissioning the disciples, Jesus shows them the wounds in His hands and His side...the results of being sent into the world! Jesus was incarnated into the messiness of the world by being born in a stable, He ministered in the messiness of the world, and He died by the cruelty of the world. After all of that, Jesus says, “AS the Father sent me, so I am SENDING YOU.” We are sent into the messiness, and sometimes even the cruelty of the world, to show the tangible love and mercy of Jesus.

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July 28, 2017 — by Dana Allin

July Newsletter | A Word From Dana Allin

It has been exciting to see that over fifty churches are officially participating in the Becoming a Flourishing Church material.  We know that some churches are using the materials with their sessions but have not officially signed up, and others will begin to use the material in the fall. A few churches are using the material with their entire congregations to help increase the strength of individual discipleship as well as to get wider input into the health of their congregations. We have even had some churches who are not in ECO indicate that they are using the material for their sessions.

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July 11, 2017 — by Dana Allin

Reflections from the 2017 WCRC General Council

A few weeks ago, along with Jen Haddox and John Terech, I had the privilege of representing ECO at the General Council meeting of the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) in Leipzig, Germany.  The General Council meets every 7 years and consists of delegates from 220 member churches from around the world.  ECO became a member of the WCRC in 2013 with the endorsement from the Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRC) and the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC), who were already members.

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June 2, 2017 — by Dana Allin

Raising the Bar | "Flourishing Leaders"

Many people have commented about how ECO seeks to create an environment that continues to raise the bar on what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. There are many ways that this environment is encouraged within ECO congregations and presbyteries. One of the ways that I am thrilled to watch unfold among our churches is the hunger to have lay leaders flourish in their various and diverse ministries.

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April 6, 2017 — by Dana Allin

Dana Allin's April Newsletter Article

I am thrilled with the number of churches who are utilizing the “Becoming a Flourishing Church” series that is available on our website. The feedback has been very positive as many leaders wrestle with the question of what is next for their congregations as they seek to truly flourish. My only concern are the leaders who say, “Our church is only going to do the last two sessions related to being a flourishing church.

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February 22, 2017 — by Dana Allin

Catalyzing The Flourishing Of Churches

It was so wonderful to be with our ECO family in Greenville, South Carolina at the end of January.  What a great week we had worshiping together, engaging with encouraging speakers, and connecting with friends and colleagues!

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January 10, 2017 — by Dana Allin

Looking Forward In 2017

I was recently re-reading Les McKeown’s book Predictable Success: Getting Your Organization on the Growth Track and Keeping it There.  He talks about the life stages of a startup organization.   The initial stage is called “Early Struggle” and it is about the challenges that an organization faces in getting off the ground.  

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November 30, 2016 — by Dana Allin

What are the Greatest Needs of ECO Churches?

In the last six months, I have tried to ascertain what are the greatest needs of ECO churches.  I have conducted informal and formal questioning around this subject with various pastors and congregational leaders.  I have compared their answers with my own observations from personal interactions.  While all of our congregations are different, there are some common themes that emerge within many of them.  

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August 17, 2016 — by Dana Allin

In ECO: Now What?

At ECO's national gathering in Newport Beach this past January, I led a breakout session called, “In ECO, Now What?”  This  question often gets asked in a variety of different ways.  I will get phone calls or e-mails stating that a congregation has been in ECO (usually for 6 months to a year) and the leaders want their congregation to live more fully into the values and vision that have been articulated. When I am asked these "now what?" questions, I tell congregations that they can do three things if they have not already been done.

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February 22, 2016 — by Dana Allin

STRIVE Blog Series

We are so grateful for the many powerful and exciting ways in which God was at work at ECO's STRIVE national gathering in January! We had a wonderful time together in worship, connecting with friends and colleagues from across the country, and learning from so many effective ministry leaders from both within and outside of our tribe.

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January 4, 2016 — by Dana Allin

ECO's Ninth Core Value: Kingdom Vitality

I often wrestle with communicating ECO's vision, culture, ethos, and DNA to the average covenant partner (member) in our congregations.  Members will hear about ECO when their churches are considering affiliating with ECO, and during that time they have specific questions that need to be addressed.  Yet in other circumstances it seems that our message doesn’t filter to the congregation. 

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December 2, 2015 — by Dana Allin

Leadership Velocity

I believe all of our values are incredibly important to the future of the ECO movement.  I do think, however, that there are a few values that are foundational to the success of the rest of them.  Leadership Velocity is one of those foundational values that determines our ability to live out the rest of the values.  Leadership Velocity states, “We believe identifying and developing gospel-centered leaders is critical for the church, and a great leadership culture is risk-taking, innovative, and organic.”  

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November 8, 2015 — by Dana Allin

Coaching And Ministry

Coaching has been one of the most valuable skills that I have gained in the last 15 years since I graduated from seminary.  I was first exposed to coaching during my Doctorate of Ministry course work at Fuller Seminary. Bob Logan, then the head of CoachNet International Ministries, was the instructor for a course called “Raising and Multiplying Leaders in your Ministry.”  In this course, we got a brief exposure to the art of coaching and how to use the skill when working with emerging leaders, staff, committees/teams, and even family members. I was convinced at that point that coaching was was extremely powerful in almost any situation where people want to increase in their effectiveness and vitality. Since that time, I have been increasing my skills and training to become more effective. When I was called to the Synod Executive role with ECO, I knew coaching was something that could have a profound effect in the life of our movement. If we could create a coaching culture, I knew we could grow in effectiveness. To that end, John Terech and I recently received additional accreditation through the International Coach Federation (ICF) which is the primarily regulating group for coaching.

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November 6, 2015 — by Dana Allin

Center-Focused Spirituality

As we continue through the blogs of our values we will take the next several weeks to look at the 7th value “Center-Focused Spirituality”. This value says “We believe in calling people to the core of what it means to be followers of Jesus – what “mere Christianity” is and does, and not fixate on the boundaries.”  

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August 25, 2015 — by Dana Allin

ECO's Fifth Core Value: Egalitarian Ministry

I love how our 5th Core Value, Egalitarian Ministry, encompasses both our commitment to upholding the roles of women in all aspects of the church, as well as the need to deploy, celebrate, and support leaders from every ethnicity.

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