September 1, 2020



ECO deeply values lay leadership development as being foundational to becoming a movement that builds flourishing churches who make disciples of Jesus Christ. We seek to undo the clergy-centered ecclesiology that has plagued the church for too long and truly reclaim the biblical vision of the priesthood of all believers. ECO’s Commissioned Lay Pastor program is doing exactly that. Read what our CLP students and graduates are up to! 

Thanks to our CLP training, three of us from First Pres Harrisonburg are leading a high-school discipleship group that has flourished during the pandemic. We met twice a week online during the height of the pandemic, and now we are meeting weekly online and also doing some in-person s’mores nights. Our latest one included them asking any question they wanted to about the Bible, and it was a rich time.”
– Brad Jenkins

“Since finishing CLP1 and continuing my CLP2 journey with Gordon-Conwell, I’ve been hired on as the local missions intern at my home church, Westminster Presbyterian in Amarillo, TX. Part of this job is connecting our congregation with mission and service opportunities in our community as well as learning other aspects of becoming a vocational minister/pastor. I’ve been busy with chasing my kids around, and becoming licensed to foster with my wife in our new house.” – Nate Miller

– Nate Miller

“Since my CLP training, I have had new opportunities like serving communion and preaching. The CLP program helped me hone in on where the Lord is leading me to follow Him. I feel more equipped to minister in the context where the Lord has called me including my staff role serving children and families and paving the way for a new ministry leading a network of church leaders serving vulnerable children. It’s been incredible to see the Lord go before me in this coming together.”
– Jamie Swope

“As a result of my CLP training, I am currently serving as the Lay Pastor For Congregational Care/ Communication at Eastminster Presbyterian in Marietta, GA. I would never have had the opportunity to be engaged in ministry this way without CLP. It has opened doors for me and allowed me to see how God is working in my life and calling me into ministry. I have also had the opportunity to preach several times, and I never expected to love it so much. God continues to use CLP to point me and guide, and in the process he has filled my life some life-long friends. It is such a gift that I never expected when I signed up for the classes.”
– Leigh Sain 

“I decided to dive into CLP certification to learn how to do my job even better. I have spent the last 14 years serving as the Director of Discipleship at Huntersville Presbyterian Church and love serving in that way, but I wanted to be able to take it to the next level and grow myself spiritually and professionally. As a result of completing the CLP 1 training, I have grown in both ways – learning to look at aspects of what I do through a different, pastoral lens. Being a former teacher, I have always gravitated towards children and youth and now that I’ve completed this course, my job description is changing a little and I will be CLP for Family Ministry. 
I will get to use everything I have learned to work with young people and their families in helping them develop mature followers of Christ. As we see continued changes in how we “do” church because of the current situation in our nation, we are creating more micro-expressions of church and equipping them to take church out of the building! Growing myself, together with a great cohort that has provided a group of friends and peers to continue to grow with, has made this opportunity life-giving.” 
– Lisa Wilson

“Upon the completion of my CLP1 certificate, I was able to immediately jump into the CLP2 portion of our program. As a father of two beautiful children, working a full-time job as a journeyman sheet metal worker, preaching a handful of times this year and being heavily involved in service for our wonderful heavenly Father, I am amazed at how this is even all possible… (GOD) 
Being homeless a little over three years ago, having lost everything, only to gain everything, mostly a change of perception and a pure knowledge of God’s grace, has me wondering sometimes, in pure shock, that God would choose someone like me to be a leader in His Church. Though my schedule is laborious, though my cross seems too much to endure, the road is too arduous a journey, even when I’m bogged down with the impatience of the flesh, I know who I’m working for and it gives me strength to move forward… I am then reminded of this particular Psalm… Psalm 24:4-5, “Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long…”
Today I am able to work on my relationship with the Lord, appreciating the challenges as well as the triumphs. This is only the beginning of my journey back into education. With a plan to continue after the CLP 2 certificate, I hope to get into a Masters program. As I grow as a disciple as well as a student, I am realizing that the call God has put on my heart to be a pastor is not to be taken lightly, yet, is becoming an actual possibility through ECO, a wonderful mentor in Rob Dalrypmle, and of course the Grace of God. Thanks, ECO!!!”
– Joshua Beierschmitt

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