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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