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Over the past several months, I’ve been on the road a bit attending various regional gatherings of ECO and Fellowship churches. I’ve been delighted to set forth a picture of Mission Affinity Groups (MAGs) and to share the stories of several MAGs that are up and running.
ECO churches have been a little slower to get organized than some of the churches engaged in the Fellowship. Not surprising, right? You’ve been busy with dismissal processes, getting organized into ECO and other transitional issues. So today, I’d like to throw out a word of encouragement!
If you haven’t begun the process of joining a MAG, today is the day!
I know, I know some of you may be thinking, “don’t add one more thing to my to-do list in this busy Advent season!!” So why not add this to your list of New Year’s resolutions?
In the mean time, here are five suggestions to help get you started:
- Review the MAG document which outlines the idea behind these groups. Has the session of your church discussed this?
- Work through the Narrative Questions. Once you have a strong handle on the concept of MAGs, the Narrative Questions help spur on further discussion about who you are as a congregation and what God is doing in your midst.
- Determine the types of churches with whom you want to be connected. Do you want to stay regional? Keep mix of ECO and Fellowship churches? Stay with all ECO churches? Do you want to be with a larger church or a smaller church? Would you rather be connected with a church in a similar context (i.e. urban / suburban / rural) or one with whom you share some of the same missional impulses?
- Assign one contact person for leadership on reaching out to other churches. Will the main contact person / leader for your church be your clerk of session, another session member, or pastor?
- And finally, keep me posted! If you have questions or need help in getting organized, please let me know. I’d be happy to join in or find someone to join in on a training session with your session via Skype or help facilitate the first meeting of your MAG. Contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or (256) 251-5518. Also, I want to tell your story so we can learn from each other what works well or what might need to be tweaked as other churches get organized in MAGs.
After the beginning of the year, our two ECO presbyteries will divide into multiple smaller presbyteries, which is a very exciting thing! In ECO, the presbyteries have responsibility and oversight for congregations to be in MAGs. As different ministry teams for presbyteries continue to form, please let me know if you are interested in serving with a MAGs focus, I’d love to hear from you. We need local experts and advocates who can help educate sessions on MAGs, guide and train elders in the MAG process, and ensure that all ECO congregations are living into this dynamic part of our DNA.
May the Lord bless you and keep you during this Advent season.
And, Merry Christmas, y’all!