One of the functions of a denomination is to make resources available for its congregations and leaders. As new churches join ECO, many are realizing their need for continued growth in order to be more effective in their ability to become flourishing churches that make discipleships of Jesus Christ. ECO has not only been developing its own internal resources, but continues to partner with outside individuals and organizations to take advantage of top-notch resources that are already available.
Below are some of the resources that we have developed (or are developing) within ECO and Flourish, along with several others.1 This is certainly not exhaustive or comprehensive list of all available resources, but it does represent a significant number and cross section of what is available.
The following list could potentially be overwhelming and cause congregations to be hesitant to move forward with anything! Therefore, we encourage leaders to consider where their congregations most need encouragement for growth. Help in determining priorities can be done by looking over the Five Shifts that we have identified as needed within our tribe (http://eco-pres.org/blog/important-shifts-for-our-future-development/), or any number of assessments that are out there such as Reveal, Natural Church Development, Transforming church index. Leaders may also simply look over the list and the available options and see if any speak to the current needs of the congregation or leadership.
Another option for churches to consider is utilizing one or more of these resources within a Mission Affinity Group. Exploring one of the following together may not only enhance the effectiveness of this type of group, but it can also reduce the costs associated with the resource.
The Discipleship Initiative is a ministry that has been primarily funded through generous grants and is meant for congregations who want to invest and spend significant effort over a two-year period to change the way they make disciples. The Discipleship Initiative involves on-site retreats for a few key leaders in the church to work on enhancing their own discipleship and ability to disciple others. The primary key leader for the congregation then receives a year of coaching in order to embed the making of disciples more deeply into the DNA of the church. For more information contact Tim Fearer, Discipleship Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1 Flourish is a separate 501c3 organization that was specifically developed to create resources for ECO congregations. However, being a separate 501c3, many of the resources available on Flourish are also available to leaders and congregations of backgrounds other than ECO. For more information visit www.flourishmovement.org.
Part of the covenanted life of ECO is to have each congregation involved in a Mission Affinity Group. These are session-to-session relationships where the current health of the congregation, as well as how God is leading the congregation into the future, is explored. In order to increase the effectiveness of these groups, ECO can help offset the cost of bringing in an outside coach. This coach will both facilitate the on-site MAG meeting as well as coach the primary leader of each congregation for six sessions following the MAG meeting. The cost to each church in the MAG is $500 plus the cost of travel for the coach. For more information contact Anna Kent, Director of Covenantal Relationships, at email@example.com.
Research indicates that planters who have a coach are 135% more likely to have a successful church plant. Therefore, for up to two years, ECO will pay up to $750 for half of an annual coaching contract for a church planter. Plants must have been approved by the presbytery in order to qualify. For more information contact Matt Lee, National Church Planting Catalyst, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coaching is one of the most powerful ways that pastors can be equipped and supported while they engage in difficult work of leading transformational change. Pastors in small churches often have the challenge of affording quality coaches. ECO will offset the cost of pastoral coaching for pastors of churches with less than 125 members. The cost of a yearlong coaching engagement of ten sessions is only $250. For more information contact Kim Davis, Assistant to Dana Allin, at Kim@eco-pres.org.
Many churches are considering using an outside search firm to aid in the process of calling a senior or associate pastor. We believe this is a fantastic option, however sometimes congregations feel that the price is too high or they want to be more involved in the process. ECO has trained consultants to use the both the JobScan TM and ProScan TM tool to assist congregations in the search for pastoral or other key staff positions. The cost is $1500 to develop the JobScanTM profile and support the calling committee or individual in the process. In addition, there is a fee of $125 to administer the ProScanTM and provide a consultation for each of a final group of candidates. For more information contact Kim Davis, Assistant to Dana Allin, at email@example.com.
There are times where a pastor or ministry staff person need to reflect on the fit of his or her current call. We can administer the ProScanTM tool to a pastor or staff member and provide a one-hour consultation regarding the report. This helps pastors and staff members determine current areas of stress and satisfaction in their lives and ministries as well as to take proactive steps to find greater satisfaction in their call. The cost is $125 per person. For more information contact KIm Davies, Assistant to Dana Allin, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It can be helpful for all or some selected ministry staff members to engage in a process to enhance their effectiveness and cohesion as a team. Through the use of TeamScanTM a qualified coach can help a ministry team know more about themselves and how to best function together as a team. Each individual on the team receives an individual ProScanTM and consultation prior to an on-site event. At the on-site event, the ministry team is able to understand each other better and learn how best to function as a team.
Church Health and Vision Consultation (In Development) – It is helpful for congregations to discover the health and vibrancy of their ministries as well as discern how their congregation might move forward in the future. There can be several elements involved in this process such as an online congregational assessment, face to face interviews with key leaders and congregational members, congregational forums, etc.
Review materials from the 2017 National Gathering on Considering the Confessions.
A reminder that Flourish is a separate 501c3 organization that is designed to provide resources for ECO congregations, but the resources are applicable and available to congregations outside of ECO as well. More detailed information about Flourish can be obtained by visiting the website www.flourishmovement.org.
Those who obtain a free account with Flourish have access to a variety and ever increasing number of training videos and archived webinars. To sign up for an account, visit our website at www.flourishmovement.org.
Many churches know that in order for their congregations to transform, the elders and other lay leadership need to experience both personal and group transformation. ELI is an 18-month process where the elders engage in experiential learning activities and pastors engage in coaching to help their elders become more spiritually effective. For more information contact Lisa Johnson, Director of ELI, email@example.com.
Flourish provides a nine-month coach training process. The process includes nine individual or group mentoring sessions as well as a two-day face to face training. Those who complete the process can be considered to provide some of the coaching that is available in ECO. Those who complete the Coach Training process through Flourish will also have completed approximately half of the work necessary to obtain an ACC certification through the International Coach Federation. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. (The additional training required for ACC certification can be taken through CoachNet International Ministries www.coachnet.org)
Several online courses are already available on the Flourish website. These online courses are ordinarily 8-12 sessions and approximately one hour per session. Each class has an online forum for interaction. While some of these courses are specific to ECO (such as a course on ECO polity), many of the courses are broadly applicable (such as Evangelism in a Postmodern Culture). Some courses are self- directed and cost $25 or less. Instructor-directed courses cost more because of the direct involvement between the instructor and student. See www.flourishmovement.org for more information.
A 360 assessment has been developed in conjunction with a variety of experts in the field of discipleship and statistical validation. This assessment measures discipleship health in eight core qualities as well as twenty-two characteristics associated with the health of an individual follower of Jesus. The disciples answer questions for themselves and then ask others to answer questions on their behalf. A report is generated to help the disciple to discover relative strengths and weaknesses. An individual discipleship assessment is available for $15 each, however churches can purchase bulk assessments. See www.flourishmovement.org for more information.
One challenge for those of us in ministry is that we have many things to do but also have much flexibility in which to do them. The principles of Getting Things Done® can be very useful in helping ministry leaders handle a multitude of responsibilities and maximize workflow. Seminars can be given in regions or with large church staffs and volunteer leaders. Email email@example.com for more information.
Some of the online courses will be grouped together to provide various certification programs. For example, in ECO’s polity, elders and deacons can be authorized to celebrate the sacraments in micro- expressions of church. The training for such a position is up to the individual session, however, many churches don’t want to create their own training process and will prefer to use our established process.
Many congregations are looking for outside groups to do church health assessments, provide coaching on change, and/or help them discern vision. The two groups that are most popularly used are:
Jeff Vanderstelt’s organization offers an opportunity for monthly cohort coaching on the development of missional communities. See https:// saturatetheworld.com for more information.
Alex Absalom’s organization has offered ECO-specific cohorts to learn and be coached in missional engagement. Alex can also be hired as an independent consultant for your congregation. See http://dandelionresourcing.com for more information.
Alan Hirsch’s organization offers a broad based range of training and coaching related to missional engagement. See http://www.forgeamerica.com for more information.
World Renew provides disaster assistance through the Christian Reformed Church. It is not only a wonderful organization to which an individual or church can donate to aid in a natural disaster, but individuals or groups can also serve through World Renew in short and long term disaster assistance. http://worldrenew.net.
In lieu of creating an internal world mission department, ECO has partnered with the three organizations that have historically served evangelically minded Presbyterian churches. These organizations are listed below. Our Director of Global Engagement, Jen Haddox, helps ECO work out its value of the local church as the primary agent for discerning and carrying out God’s passion for the nations. Jen can be reached at Jen@eco-pres.org.
The Presbyterian Frontier Fellowship (PFF) www.pff.net works with Presbyterian congregations to help establish indigenous churches among unreached people groups, and to find new places to be involved in frontier mission. PFF exists as a resource to help churches create or enhance their vision for taking the gospel to all people groups in the world. They are driven by a two-fold vision — For Every People: An Indigenous Church; and For Every Church: A Mission Vision.
http://www.theoutreachfoundation.org The mission of The Outreach Foundation is to engage Presbyterians and global partners in proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ. They seek to be a resource to congregations to help them catch a vision for the amazing things that God is doing around the world and to partner in it. Their priorities are to: build the capacity of global church partners; send and support missionaries; care for vulnerable children; expand support for mission; and transform lives through mission involvement.
http://www.theantiochpartners.org The Antioch Partners (TAP) is a missionary sending agency that partners with local Presbyterian churches in the U.S. to send out followers of Jesus to participate in God’s mission in the world. Those serving through TAP have been called by God to long-term, cross-cultural ministry and are engaged in many aspects of Kingdom work, including: evangelism, social justice, discipleship, supporting church-planting movements, leadership development, and business as mission.
Many ECO congregations have taken advantage of the numerous offerings that have been created by FYI. See http://www.fulleryouthinstitute.org for more information.
Mark DeYmaz leads this group, which seeks to plant and/or transform 1000 churches into multi-ethnic/multi-cultural congregations. Mosaix has many learning and coaching opportunities. See http://www.mosaix.info for more information.
While ECO has some resources to assist with the process of calling pastors or other ministry staff, some congregations have found it advantageous to an outside search firm. The following are four firms that have been used by multiple ECO congregations.
We will continue to add more and more resources that will aid in the health and vitality of your ministries! Please contact any of the above if they can be of help to you and/or your congregation.