ECO Mission Affinity & Pastoral Group Info Series
Are you new to ECO and confused about Mission Affinity Groups and Pastoral Covenant Groups? Have you been in ECO for a while and still trying to figure out MAGs and PCGs?
We are excited to provide this new instructional video series that highlights the aspects of our covenantal life together!
The purpose of these videos is to help pastors and elders learn more about MAG and PCG basics, how to get started in a MAG, ways to use the Narrative Questions, the advantages of using a coach, and ideas for meeting together. In addition to the videos, we’re including a number of created resources that will help make your MAG the best possible experience!
Video 1: Why Accountability?
Video 2: What Are Mission Affinity Groups?
Video 3: How To Get Started In A MAG
Video 4: Narrative Questions
- ECO Narrative Questions
- Narrative Questions Redefined
- Winston Salem New Narrative
- Going Deeper With Narrative Questions
Video 5: Meeting Together
Video 6: Pastoral Covenant Groups
Watch the “MAGs & Coaching” video with Anna Kent & Dana Allin here on Vimeo!
Mission Affinity Groups (MAGs)
As a way to connect, care for, and provide accountability for churches and leaders, every ECO congregation is required to be in a Mission Affinity Group (MAG). Each MAG consists of 3-4 congregations organized around similar ministry contexts (such as geography, demographics, or future ministry goals). MAGs may contain only ECO congregations, or a combination of both ECO and Fellowship Community congregations. MAGs are relationships between the sessions of churches.
Members of MAGs commit to meet at least once a year, for at least three years, and connect in other ways in between meetings. At its annual meeting, each congregation in the MAG must have at least 1/3 of its current elders in attendance. These annual meetings are ideally 8 hours in length, often from a Friday night to a Saturday afternoon. The focus of the annual meeting is for each congregation to share their answers to the Narrative on the Health of Mission & Ministry. The Narrative consists of 10 questions that enable a session to evaluate and summarize their ministry health over the past year. As congregations share from their Narrative, the members of the MAG are able to learn from best practices, collaborate on mission, and be accountable to one another where correction is needed.
To learn more, download the Mission Affinity Group information packet.
Pastor Covenant Groups
Pastors are in one of today’s most stressful occupations. According to the New York Times (August 1, 2010), “Members of the clergy now suffer from obesity, hypertension, and depression at rates higher than most Americans. In the last decade, their use of antidepressants has risen, while their life expectancy has fallen. Many would change jobs if they could.”
Along with health concerns, pastors also face a sobering rate of moral failure and spiritual burnout. From Focus on the Family archives:
- 50% of pastors’ marriages end in divorce.
- 80% of pastors feel unqualified and discouraged in their role as pastor.
- 80% of seminary and Bible school graduates who enter the ministry leave within the first five years.
- 70% of pastors constantly fight depression.
- Almost 40% polled said they have had an extra-marital affair since beginning their ministry.
- 70% said the only time they spend studying the Word is when they are preparing their sermons.
These statistics grieve us. For churches to flourish, pastors need to be spiritually and relationally healthy. Intentional relationships of accountability are a vital place for pastors to be prayed for, cared for, and encouraged in their relationship with Jesus Christ. Every ECO pastor is required to be in an accountability relationship. For members of ECO who do not have existing relationships, we can facilitate this for you.
We believe collaboration, shared commitments, and transparent relationships are crucial to flourishing ministry.
For help in finding or forming a Mission Affinity Group or Pastor Covenant Group, please contact your presbytery’s MPT.