September 16, 2015 — by Becci Curtis-Lillie

Egalitarian Ministry: Women in Church Leadership

The summer before my 10th grade year in high school, my family moved halfway across the state to (what I considered) the “Middle of Nowhere.”  It felt like the worst possible thing you could do to a teenage girl.  And while my first year in our new hometown was pretty rough, I also found some relief and some hope in connecting with a new church, a new youth pastor, and a new bible study leader.  God used these amazing people to transform my heart and my life.  And it was then that I knew that I wanted to be used by God in similar ways to help transform other people’s lives for the better.

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September 14, 2015 — by Jeff Ritchie

Reality Check: Reflections from the Ruins of Ancient Ephesus

I have just been to Turkey for a family wedding. My brother, whose son was the one getting married, suggested that we go early and visit some of the biblical sites. Our itinerary included Ephesus and Miletus, featured prominently in Acts 18-20. Our guide was well-versed in both the general history and in the biblical history. He made Paul and his missionary band come alive for us on a sweltering August day. (Note to readers: try a fall visit to Ephesus. The weather is much more pleasant!)

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September 10, 2015 — by Jerry Fourroux

Egalitarian Ministry: Women in Church Leadership

Both men and women are important to the Church. This sentence doesn’t seem like it should be shocking or even necessary to state, but years of church history deem it necessary. For years, women in churches have been treated as second-class citizens. They have been marginalized to women’s and children’s ministry and the Church of Jesus Christ has suffered because of it.

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August 31, 2015 — by Denise Sciuto

Education In A Place Of Crisis

Presbyterian Frontier Fellowship (PFF) helps churches focus on the 2.5 billion people who have no way to learn about God’s love and grace through Jesus. This focus connects us to people in some of the poorest and most oppressive places in the world—such as among the unreached people in Darfur, Sudan.   

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August 25, 2015 — by Dana Allin

ECO's Fifth Core Value: Egalitarian Ministry

I love how our 5th Core Value, Egalitarian Ministry, encompasses both our commitment to upholding the roles of women in all aspects of the church, as well as the need to deploy, celebrate, and support leaders from every ethnicity.

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August 13, 2015 — by Kirsten Berry

ECO Mission Affinity Group Q&A

We conclude this month's blog focus on Accountable Community with an excellent viewpoint of the inner workings of an ECO Mission Affinity Group.  Kirsten Berry is an Elder at Hope Presbyterian Church in Richfield, Minnesota.  Hope Church has joined with two other ECO churches in the greater Minneapolis area – Faith Church and Prairie Community Church and met for the first time on May 9th.  Following is a Q&A with Kirsten about her experience.

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August 7, 2015 — by Anna Kent

Accountable Community Through MAGs

Advocate: The dictionary[1] might define the term like: a person who speaks or writes in support of or in defense of a person, cause, etc. or a person who pleads for or in behalf of another.   I love the idea of an advocate, particularly because John makes reference to it in relation to Christ ~ My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.  (I John 2:1)  In ECO, we have advocates that help us in our work as followers of The Advocate

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August 6, 2015 — by Donald Marsden

Missions: Faith And Fellowship

At a mission conference I attended around 1991, a theme emphasized was this: “The church that really believes in mission does not only send money to support mission, but also sends its children into the mission field.” I’ve been pondering this theme since attending the New Wilmington Mission Conference late in July. NWMC has been meeting every summer since 1906. Its purpose is to ignite in young people an understanding of and passion for serving Jesus in global mission. 

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July 30, 2015 — by Claire Ripley

Coming Together: ECO Mission Affinity Groups

Return on Investment: We live in a world that measures the benefit of every investment by its performance and potential payoff. These are busy times for church leaders. While some may be hoping to squeeze in one more break this summer, most are ramping up to meet the demands of a hectic fall schedule. Commitments and calendars weigh heavy on our minds. Trying to plan an “extra” meeting where three or four sessions gather seems like an impossible task, which quite frankly may just not seem that valuable. Is being in a Missional Affinity Group really worth our time and effort?

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July 30, 2015 — by Tim Fearer

Building Flourishing Churches that Make Disciples

The mission of ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians is to build flourishing churches that make disciples of Jesus Christ.” Our mission statement is a declaration of who we aspire to be and increasingly become. It is a single sentence that defines the “business” we are in. It is an over-arching, controlling idea that should determine and then evaluate all we are about.

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July 27, 2015 — by Rob WeinGartner

Partnerships Are Hard: A Letter Of Encouragement

There is a lot of talk these days about doing mission in partnership.  It is driven, in part, by an increasing awareness of the growing global church and respect for the initiative and faithfulness of brothers and sisters in Christ who are already engaged in mission in places where we are or seek to be involved.

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June 29, 2015 — by TomHawker

Responding to the Call

After 40+ years working in the financial world as a banker, I retired in 2008. Given the chaos from the meltdown of the financial system, my plans for post-retirement activities were upended. I wondered what I would do, given I was healthy and had garnered a boatload of experience.

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June 18, 2015 — by Dave Reichelderfer

The Beautiful Blessing Of Infant Baptism

Infant baptism is a long-held practice in the Reformed tradition. The Reformers were blessed by the beauty of infant baptism as it was practiced in the church from ancient times. They sought to be faithful to the practice that was given to them by the church fathers in keeping with the Holy Scriptures. We are blessed by the beauty of the Reformed teachings that shape our practice to this day.

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June 10, 2015 — by Dana Allin

ECO's Third Core Value: Thoughtful Theology

Over the next several months, in preparation for our national gathering, we will be focusing our Thursday blog posts on ECO’s nine values. We will spend a month of Thursdays on each of the values, where I will write an introductory blog post and then other authors will expand upon our Biblical understanding of the value for the next 3-4 weeks. We are excited to dig in together and pray that you will join us in this journey as we strive to stay connected until we see each other in person next January!

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June 1, 2015 — by Dan McNerney

It's Harvest Time!

Don't let anyone tell you that the Arab Spring failed or is no longer alive and well! It is roaring like a lion throughout the Middle East, especially in the hearts of young people. The worldwide web, ease of communication and travel, satellite TV, and handheld computers have brought world events and brand-new ways of thinking into nearly every living room in the Middle East. As a result, Muslims are hearing the Gospel at a rate unprecedented in history.

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May 21, 2015 — by Tim Harrison

Biblical Integrity: An Expression Of Our Love For God

Over the next several months, in preparation for our national gathering, we will be focusing our Thursday blog posts on ECO’s nine core values. We will spend a month of Thursdays on each of the values, where Dana Allin will write an introductory blog post and then other authors will expand upon our Biblical understanding of the value for the next 3-4 weeks. We pray that you will join us in this journey as we strive to stay connected until we see each other in person next January!

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May 7, 2015 — by Dana Allin

ECO's Core Values: #2 Biblical Integrity

Over the next several months, in preparation for our national gathering, we will be focusing our Thursday blog posts on ECO’s nine values. We will spend a month of Thursdays on each of the values, where I will write an introductory blog post and then other authors will expand upon our Biblical understanding of the value for the next 3-4 weeks. We are excited to dig in together and pray that you will join us in this journey as we strive to stay connected until we see each other in person next January!

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April 30, 2015 — by Rev. Eric O. Jacobsen

Jesus Shaped Identity At The Denominational Level

Jesus called them together and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Matt 20:25-28)

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April 20, 2015 — by Shelley Homeyer

Reaping & Sowing On The Mission Field

On December 17, 2014, my phone rang and our twenty-year-old son Adam was calling and his voice was stressed. He said he had an accident in our car with damage to the vehicle and moderate injuries to the other passengers. In Kampala, most accidents are hit and run, as was this accident. The Boda (motorcycle taxi) driver caused the accident and fled leaving his two injured passengers lying on the street.

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