May 31, 2017 — by Mickie O'Donnell


When Flourishing Churches Gather: Synod 2018 Meeting

Hi, my name is Mickie O'Donnell and I want to tell you about one of the reasons I am so excited about the 2018 national gathering! I know it may seem early to think about it, but now is the perfect time to start planning on how you are going to bring all your hard working and faithful ministry educators with you. You know who they are; Children and Family Ministry Director, Missions Director, Youth Director, and even Nursery School Director. The January 2018 national gathering will be a perfect place to come together as a staff team and help everyone experience the synergy that is evident when flourishing churches gather.

As a member of the national Theological Task Force, my focus is on how we can actually provide appropriate Confessional and Creeds teaching resources for all ages. In 2018, we will have some amazing sharing and learning experiences specific to Children and Family Ministry professionals.  We will be providing resources, training, and an opportunity to learn from each other so that we can most effectively reach today’s families for Christ.

Raising Up the Next Generation in Faith

Let’s remember that one of ECO’s Core Values is Thoughtful Theology: We believe in theological education, constant learning, and the life of the mind.  We celebrate these things as one of the treasures of our Reformed heritage. For this to be more than just a statement, we need to do something to provide constant learning for our directors and pastors who are trusted with the imparting of the Christian Faith to the next generations.  So, January 2018 will be a perfect opportunity for our ECO Churches to bring staff together to celebrate the life of the mind and participate in some learning experiences.  

If our churches are going to truly flourish, our children and youth need to flourish in faith too.

Today’s children and youth need to be loved, cared for, and taught by men and women of flourishing faith themselves; men and women who are constantly learning and who are valued by their church enough to share in this wonderful national gathering.  The ECO national staff is working with ministry professionals like myself to put together an amazing array of workshops, discussion groups, and resource sharing opportunities for many on your church staff in all aspects of ministry.  So, whether you are a small staff or a large staff, there is going to be something for everyone.

New Resources & New Connections

Just imagine everyone returning home after three days of being with brothers and sisters in Christ from all over the US who, together, celebrated the treasures of our Reformed heritage, and who are freshly armed with a plethora of resources and exciting new ideas to make your church a flourishing one.  It just doesn’t get any better than that.  Between now and then, I will be working on new resources for teaching children, youth, and adults about our historic faith in ways that are powerfully simple and easy to use. Your staff will even learn how to develop resources specific to your congregation when we come together in 2018.  

So, I look forward to meeting as many of the Children, Youth, and Family Ministries Directors and Pastors as possible at Synod. Please don’t leave them home.  If we truly want our denomination to stay true to the Scriptures, it is what we teach our children and youth now that will make that a reality. With our belief in constant learning, we need to make sure we are equipping our educational ministry staff with what they need. Start planning now to be sure you can all come together.  It’s going to be awesome!


Mickie O'Donnell

Mickie O'Donnell has been a Christian Educator since 1976 currently serving at Noroton Presbyterian Church Darien, CT. She has been a professor at Benedictine University, Trinity International Divinity School, Trinity College, and most recently Mission India Theological Seminary and Bible College in Nagpur and Warangal, India. Formerly Executive Director of Children's Ministry of America, and author of "Workshop Wonders," Mickie speaks at educational conferences promoting creative teaching methods for churches.  She recently formed "Family Ministries International" partnering with Bibletelling.org to help churches know how to tell and retell the Narratives of Scripture. Mickie is pursuing ordination in ECO and is on the ECO Theological Task Force.

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