November 23, 2014 — by Rev. Mateen Elass

God Is At Work In The Middle East

Something huge is coming

God is on the move in ways far beyond our puny imaginings.

That thought branded itself in my mind last week as I returned from a trip to the Middle East with other ECO leaders. We traveled together to seek discernment as to where we might partner in the mission of spreading the gospel and planting churches (part of our DNA in ECO, whether on this continent or beyond).

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November 19, 2014 — by Dana Allin

Shift Four: Becoming Missional And Attractional

Stay tuned to the ECO blog


This fall our Thursday blogs are focused on the five shifts we’ve identified as significant for living out the mission and vision of ECO. Every third Thursday, Dana Allin writes specifically about one of these shifts, and then the following two Thursdays we hear from people within the ECO community who are living out that particular shift in their local contexts. Read Shift OneShift Two, and Shift Three

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November 16, 2014 — by ECO Communications Team

But I Could Never Do That

Calling all church planters

Go ahead. Admit it…what’s the first thought that comes to your mind when you think about planting a church? What about starting a missional community in your neighborhood? When you read an ECO blog about the experience of church planter assessment? What about when you hear stories of plants that have started through ECO? I’m going to take a wild guess that when you hear anything about planting, your first response is, “I’m all for it…but I could never do that!

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November 2, 2014 — by ECO Communications Team

Meet The Moderator, Brian Stewart | East Central Presbytery

Listening when the Voice speaks


As a boy, my grandfather was taught to memorize the Westminster Shorter Catechism by my great-grandmother while she cooked on the wood stove in her kitchen. When my grandfather and grandmother, farmers outside of Greensboro, North Carolina, had their own children - including my mother, all eight of them had to recite either the Westminster Shorter Catechism or the Children’s Catechism before they could get their driver’s licenses. This tradition of memorizing the Catechism before one could receive their license skipped my generation (I am the oldest of fifteen grandchildren), but to some chagrin, it has been reintroduced to my own children – the oldest of whom in sixteen and a half. I’ll let you imagine the rest…

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October 19, 2014 — by ECO Communications Team

Meet The Moderator, Ron Horn | Presbytery of The Northwest and Alaska

How God found me


For most of my life, I believed the lie that I did not need God. Finally, after struggling with a conflict that I couldn’t fix, a good friend suggested that my problem was too big for me to handle, and that I should turn it over to the Lord. In my desperate condition, I was willing to try anything, even a God that I did not believe in. And I learned, like so many other adult converts, that God is real, and in His grace, He loved and cared for those, like me, who had rejected Him for years.

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October 15, 2014 — by ECO Communications Team

A Voice In The Crowd

A personal account of the 2014 National Gathering

My name is Helen Brooks. I am from Cincinnati, Ohio. I attended the 2014 National Gathering and I've been thinking about the event ever since.

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October 8, 2014 — by Dana Allin

Shift Two: From “Safety and Preservation To Risk Taking and Expansion”

Stay tuned to the ECO blog


This fall our Thursday blogs are focused on the five shifts we've identified as significant for living out the mission and vision of ECO. Every third Thursday, Dana Allin writes specifically about one of these shifts, and then the following two Thursdays we hear from people within the ECO community who are living out that particular shift in their local contexts. Read more about Shift One here.

Shift #2: From “Safety and Preservation To Risk Taking and Expansion”


risk-taking-and-expansion

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October 5, 2014 — by ECO Communications Team

Meet The Moderator, Nate Dreesmann | Presbytery of The West

Beginning his ministry


One of the first sermons I remember hearing when I was in middle school was from John 4: the account of the Samaritan Woman. I remember being captivated by this amazing man named Jesus, who cared for and reached out to this woman who clearly felt the shame of her life journey. Jesus revealed to her that He was the Messiah and that she could have eternal life through Him. After hearing the sermon I knew that my life would forever be changed. A few months later at summer camp, I joyfully welcomed Jesus the Son of God, the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords who died for our sins, into my life and have walked with Christ since that day.

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September 28, 2014 — by ECO Communications Team

Meet The Moderator, Bob Bullock | Presbytery of Texas and Louisiana

"You've always been a Presbyterian,"


Some years ago, a witty friend of mine introduced me as a “Methobapterian.” I am the great, great, grandson of circuit ridding Methodist ministers in Arkansas and Texas. I first encountered God while kneeling with my Confirmation Class, being baptized, and taking my first Communion. It was Easter Sunday and my 12th birthday when, in John Wesley’s words,

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September 17, 2014 — by Dana Allin

Shift One: From "Clergy-Centered" To An "Unleashed Laity"

What's ahead on the ECO blog


This fall our Thursday blogs will focus on the five shifts that we have identified as significant for living out the mission and vision of ECO. Every third Thursday, Dana Allin will be writing specifically about one of these shifts, and then the following two Thursdays we will hear from people who are making that particular shift in their local contexts.

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September 7, 2014 — by ECO Communications Team

Meet The Moderator, Lucky Arnold | Presbytery of Florida

Feeling God's pull


I was born and raised in Miami, so I am one of those rare “Native Floridians”. Though I was baptized and confirmed in the Episcopal Church, I never learned what it meant to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, except from watching Billy Graham on TV. I didn’t understand what his words meant, but somehow still ‘felt the pull’ of Dr. Graham’s invitation at the end of his messages. Over time, I came to think that educated people did not believe the more supernatural parts of the Bible, but could value religion as a means to teach morality to children and create a wholesome community of adults.

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August 27, 2014 — by Dr. Laura Smit

Choosing To Be Theological Or To Be Missional

To be theological or to be missional


medium_3904198951 I hope that title seems wrong to you. I hope that you read it and say: Obviously, all true theology leads to mission, and all mission is grounded in some theology. If it’s a God-honoring mission, it will be grounded in God-honoring theology.

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August 22, 2014 — by Dana Allin

When We Gathered in Dallas: ECO's Synod Meeting

A few things have changed since we gathered 18 months ago


Wow! I am both excited and exhausted—what a great couple of days we had in Dallas at the 2014 National Gathering! It’s exciting to see how we’ve grown from 30 churches and 10,000 covenant partners at our first Synod gathering in 2013 to now having 149 churches and 60,000 covenant partners at this gathering. Plus, it’s extremely encouraging to see a dozen church plants in various stages of formation and organization! There is so much to be grateful for.

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August 13, 2014 — by Rev. Eric O. Jacobsen

Words I Never Thought I'd Say

Feelings of dread


Rank in order (from most undesirable to least undesirable) the following experiences:

  1. A root canal

  2. An IRS audit

  3. Your denomination’s synod meeting

  4. Putting your dog down


There was a time in the not-too-distant past when ‘item C’ might have beaten out a few of these for the status of least desirable. I’m not kidding. I really used to dread going to denominational meetings. It’s not that denominational meetings were literally as painful as a root canal, but in my experience, they were painful in their own way. The pain I experienced had to do with the yawning gap between what could be and maybe what should be and what I actually experienced.

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