January 8, 2015 — by Anna Kent


ECO Mission Affinity Groups: Glorifying God in 2015

I love this time of year. The calendar sets before us a bit of a reset as well as we celebrate the new year. As I reflect on 2014, I’m amazed at how quickly the year passed by! 

I have also pondered with a stitch of regret, the number of balls I’ve dropped and the numbers re-do’s I wish I had the opportunity to accomplish. Ann Voskamp's recent blogpost, "How To Step Forward Into The New Year... When You Want A Do Over On The Last Year" really spoke God’s truth into my heart on this very matter. My favorite line from the post has to be this one,

“Your New Year doesn’t need to-do lists like it needs to-God-be-the-glory lists.” 

So, as I contemplate the coming year and I make some “to God be-the-glory-lists”, there are several things I look forward to working towards in 2015 in our life together in ECO. 

Here are some things on my list…

1) Strengthening the Mission Affinity Group Advocate network:

  • MAG advocates have been identified in each of the ECO presbyteries, but I hope to do a better job bringing the advocates together more frequently. We need to increase our communication with one another in order to share stories and ideas about the things that are working well, along with the things that aren't working so well in our MAG work. I also hope that we can identify and develop more resources together to help ECO leaders accomplish their MAG work. 

2) MAG evaluation:

  • In addition to working with the MAG Advocates, I also hope to spend time this year evaluating just where we are with the development and use of MAGs within ECO. Here are some of the questions I hope we can answer: Are the Narrative Questions the best tool to be used? Do they need to be tweaked in any way? How are best practices being shared among ECO churches in MAGs? Are MAGs strengthening our congregations to be flourishing churches that make disciples of Jesus Christ, and just how will we know? How is our continued relationship with the Fellowship working in terms of our shared MAG work?

3) Explore coaching: 

  • Several of us have gone through, or will go through Coach training in the coming year.  Coaches are a great resource for MAGs to help assist ECO leaders to grow and become accustomed to the work of MAGs. I would love to see coaches work with MAGs that may be struggling or uncertain just how to carry out their work. Sometimes the beginning of the MAG work is a little awkward. It takes time for relationships to develop and transparency to be practiced. Coaches can help with this awkwardness, and also help facilitate any potential conflicts as relationships grow. 

4) Further education and exploration:

  • As ECO continues to grow, and as we have turnover in elder leadership, we need to continue to educate folks on the work of MAGs, ensuring that it remains an integral part of our DNA. Also, I’m curious to explore just how MAG work is spilling over into the pews. Do ECO covenant partners understand this facet of our life together? 
  • One other thing I’d like to investigate is the possibility of MAG relationships developing beyond ECO and Fellowship congregations.  Is there a place for MAG partnerships with churches in other denominations? I often get asked the question if ECO churches can partner with churches in other denominations. I think this could be an interesting and life-giving way to participate in Kingdom work together within various communities.

These are some of the things on one of my “to-God-be-the-glory” lists. I’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback and what you would like to see us accomplish in our MAG work together! Please comment below or shoot me an email

May the Lord bless ECO mightily in 2015 that we may be a blessing to others!


Anna Kent

Anna Kent serves as Director of Mission Affinity Groups for ECO and The Fellowship of Presbyterians. She also serves on the ECO Synod Executive Committee. A newlywed living in Huntsville, Alabama, Anna previously served as pastor at Central Presbyterian Church in Waxahachie, Texas.

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