Today’s guest post is from Rev. Beth Blackwell Allin, who says her favorit...
ECO’s ten year vision articulates the Kingdom impact we believe God desires through the influence of our movement. We talk about millions of people being touched with the tangible expressions of the grace of God that will lead to many being lavishly adopted into His family. The way we experience this kind of impact is through a thousand flourishing churches that are equipping and empowering a multitude of people to have daily gospel influence.
Recently in our newsletter, I said that one key strategy that will enable us to have a thousand flourishing churches has to be the planting of new churches. At the same time, we must not only start new churches but strengthen existing churches. One thousand churches isn’t just about the quantity of churches, it is about the quality. Therefore, we aim for one thousand flourishing churches. Our strategy at its core is to develop both lay and vocational leaders, who will be able to both plant and continually transform existing churches.
One of the hidden blessings of this season is that churches are more aware of the need to engage in transformation. More leaders have expressed that COVID, as well as political and racial tensions have caused them to realize a lack of depth of discipleship within their covenant partners. The brokenness in our culture is also becoming more and more apparent, as is our congregations’ preparation to engage our surrounding culture in meaningful and effective ways. This season reveals that it is not just smaller or declining churches in need of transformation who may have to close their doors. Even large churches with huge budgets may not be having the impact for the Kingdom that they could be having and may need to engage in purposeful transformation to reinvigorate the church’s discipleship and mission. Of course, there are no disciples and no churches that have fully arrived and reached movement potential. So, we say that every church, every leader, and every disciple should identify their Flourishing Next Step. How might you as a disciple, a leader and a church, move toward greater flourishing? There are certainly plenty of opportunities to do so through ECO/Flourish or through a myriad of other venues!
After our virtual National Gathering in January, we are going to make available a few shorter Flourishing Next Steps (FNS). Sometimes we offer a 1-2 year intensive process which can be more like a Flourishing Next Leap for some people and churches! So, we will be offering shorter opportunities (6-8 weeks) to help you go a little deeper in some areas while not making a long term commitment. The specifics of these opportunities will be available shortly. In the meantime, I would encourage you to be thinking about how God is calling you to grow and develop as a disciple, a leader, or as a whole congregation. Whether you take advantage of an opportunity through us or through any other avenue, I encourage you to take one Flourishing Next Step and let God continue to do His mighty work in and through you!