Hello ECO Community! Hope you enjoy this month's newsletter! Make sure not to miss the end! Click on the blue link at the very bottom of this email that says "View entire message"!
By Dana Allin, ECO Synod Executive
While I, and many others, missed the opportunity to be together in person at the National Gathering, it has been wonderful to hear the ways in which this year’s Virtual National Gathering was still able to connect with so many people on so many levels. We had about 3,500 people register for the Gathering and had that many unique views as well. Plus, we heard of many congregations who made viewing available at their church. Some congregations gathered their Mission Affinity Groups together to participate and on Saturday processed the “deep dive” questions together as a group. Thanks to those of you who sent in pictures - it was great to see some of your smiling faces since we couldn’t all be together!

Most importantly, more than the number of people who watched (or are still in the midst of watching) the National Gathering, however, is what people do as a result of having participated. I like what a friend of mine says to people on the way out of church when they tell him, “Good sermon, Pastor!” His comment is always, “We will see!” Meaning of course that it isn’t just about hearing, it is about application. I am excited about the ways in which people want to apply what they have heard and take their Flourishing Next Step as an individual and/or a congregation.
2021 Virtual National Gathering
Thank you to all of you who joined us online for the Virtual National Gathering! Whether you watched by yourself, with a small group, or your congregation, we pray that it was an encouraging weekend for your life and ministry! 

Miss a session? Haven’t had time to check it out yet?
You can find all of the main sessions and pre-conferences on the Recordings page on the National Gathering website. Click the button below to view.
Ready to take your Flourishing Next Step? Check out all of the great opportunities in this newsletter!
Local churches are the primary agents of God’s mission in the world. Join ECO’s efforts to equip mission leaders in your church to catalyze growing mission engagement in your community and the global community. Take the opportunity in 2021 to grow in this area of your church’s ministry and to connect to what God is doing through prayer, partnership and relationship building with believers all over the world.

This video-based small group study is designed to help your church’s mission team/committee explore best practices for leading your church in mission.
We have created a new resource to assist our churches as they explore the issue of church governance and how it clarifies authority, responsibility and accountability within the church.

This is a self guided resource, however if churches want assistance or additional materials they can ask us for help. These resources are free to the church. If additional coaching or consulting is required, it can be arranged on a church by church basis with appropriate cost sharing. 

This resource includes downloadable video presentations and corresponding powerpoints, book recommendations, conversations with ECO church consultants, as well as sample documents and guiding principles to help churches consider adopting and implementing this model of church governance in a way that fits your needs. 

Wherever you are in the process, we pray that this new offering will be helpful to you.

Please reach out to us at info@flourishmovement.org for more assistance if needed along the way. 
Has the thought of planting a church crossed your mind? If so, we have a great first step which will help you begin to discern and ask the right questions. Len Tang is one of our ECO planters and also serves planters as a professor at Fuller Seminary. He has created a 4-week cohort as a great introduction to this potential calling.

Nate Stratman at churchplanting@eco-pres.org to explore and discern a call to plant a church.
ECO deeply values lay leadership development as being foundational to becoming a movement that builds flourishing churches who make disciples of Jesus Christ. We seek to undo the clergy-centered ecclesiology that has plagued the church for too long & truly reclaim the biblical vision of the priesthood of all believers. We have designed the course in such a way that is affordable, flexible & allows lay leaders to stay in their current context while they receive further practical & theological training for ministry. 

We are excited to be able to offer these cohorts in both English and Spanish in 2021. Apply anytime because of rolling admissions. The Spanish speaking cohort is currently forming and looking for more students. Contact Pastor Jonathon LaBerge to apply for the Spanish CLP at cppc.pastorjonathan@gmail.com.

Click the button below for details about the CLP1 and CLP2 process or to register.
Coach training is offered to leaders engaged in ministry as pastors, elders, and lay leaders who want to develop their coaching skills.

Having a coach can be a powerful asset in ministry and discipleship. More and more, pastors and leaders recognize the value of a quality coach to equip them to cultivate skills, lead staff, mentor young leaders, mobilize volunteers and teams more strategically, and improve as a counselor. This training helps develop and deploy your coaching as a leader in all areas of your life, both personally and professionally, whether you are a pastor, elder, or church leader.

Flourish provides a 6-month coach training process, which includes several individual or group mentoring sessions as well as a 2-day virtual training (Feb. 22 and Feb. 23).

Those who complete the process can be considered to provide some of the coaching that is available in ECO. Sign up today as space is limited

For more information on this 2-day virtual training, click the button below.
You are invited to be a part of ECO’s one time offering of the 
“Emotionally Healthy Spirituality” Course for Pastors & Leaders

 “It has always been a challenge for me to adopt a listening posture towards God in my devotional practices. As a centerpiece of Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, I’ve been able to spend unhurried time before the Lord in silence & solitude, which has helped to create a depth in my personal relationship with God that I didn’t have before.” Pastor Steve Clark, EHS Participant

We cannot be fully the pastors or people that God desires us to be until we have healthy Biblical ways of integrating our emotions into our faith, relationships, decisions and leadership. Give yourself this great gift- the gift of discipleship that deeply changes your relationship with God. ECO will be offering this 8-week course just once in 2021. Our hope is that those leaders who participate in this course will afterwards offer the course in their own local churches.

The 8-week course begins April 7th, 2021 (Wednesdays 10-11:30am PST/ 1-2:30 EST). Each week you will be assigned to read one chapter of the book and watch a short 20 minute video in preparation for the class time each Wednesday. The core of the experience is in doing a 10 minute daily devotional twice a day (Emotionally Healthy Spirituality: Day by Day, by Pete Scazzero). The total time commitment per week, including the class time, will be approximately 4 hours. Our class time will be split between small groups of 6-8 for sharing/discussion and large group teaching.

For more information on this course and Pete Scazzero: emotionallyhealthy.org

If you have any questions, please email info@flourishmovent.org. Class space is limited! Sign up today!

Facilitated by: Andrea Messigner, National Flourishing Liaison

Start Date: April 7th, 2021 
Class Time: Wednesdays 10-11:30am PST/ 1-2:30 EST

Registration deadline: March 12th
Cost: $25 Plus cost to buy the "Participants’ Pack" of books for this course 
Interested in a Missional Community?

COVID has sparked a renewed interest in micro-expressions of church (also called missional communities). The value of micro-expressions is both that they can reach people who wouldn't ordinarily be "looking" for church and that they have the flexibility to engage in ministry in a way that isn't dependent on programs. We are currently gathering names of individuals who are engaging in micro-expression ministry or wanting to start these missional communities.

We will be gathering, training and supporting these missional community environments to flourish in 2021. If you are interested in exploring this opportunity please register here or send us an email at info@flourishmovement.org
ECO has designed a new ordination process that equips women and men with the best of our Reformed and Evangelical tradition in order to prepare them for the ever-changing world and dynamics of ministry. We come alongside those who embark on this journey by helping them to make it meaningful, educational, and transformational.
The ordination journey is unique to all individuals, depending on their different backgrounds, gifts, ministry experiences, and level of education. The ECO Ordination Journey has been intentionally designed to help move candidates towards Spirit-filled growth based on our 10 Leadership Core Competencies. Throughout this journey, candidates will be affirmed in their God-given giftedness and challenged to grow in the areas where their leadership needs further development.

Upcoming Ordination Retreats:
Retreat #1
  • San Antonio, TX: Feb. 22-24
  • Greenville, SC: May 3-5
  • PA: October 7-9

Retreat #2
  • Greenville, SC: Apr 28-May 1
  • PA: October 10-13
At the 2021 Virtual National Gathering, we had an ordination pre-conference. You can watch that pre-conference here.
Want to hear from those in the ordination process? Check our what others had to say about their experiences. Click the video below to watch.
In seasons of transition, many churches simply ask who the next pastor will be and seek to pass the baton from one leader to another. However, in order for a transition to be successful, a church must consider the overall health of the congregation, its leadership, and its effects on the upcoming season of transition. In an effort to prepare for these changes, ECO is working to help equip our churches— whether small, medium, or large—to prepare for these inevitable transitions. Whatever your situation, we commend this guide to you as a template for thinking through how you might search for and call your next pastor.
There are many resources available for the topic of racial reconciliation. What material you choose in this area, will depend upon how far along your congregation is in the conversation or process of engaging in reconciliation. 

Efrem Smith and his wife Donecia Norwood-Smith have some great resources to begin to exploring the issues at influentialglobal.com.  

David Bailey at Arrabon (www.arrabon.com) has some resources to begin the conversation, however, Arrabon is intentionally positioned to do deeper work with churches to become reconciling communities.
2020 shaped up to be a challenging year for every church organization and ECO is no different. The global pandemic has raised myriad questions and has made theology seem incredibly relevant. Leaders ask questions like, “Can I do the Lord’s Supper online?” or “What even is church if we can’t meet?”

ECO has two theology teams working on these and other questions. But we want to do things differently in ECO. Rather than answering theological questions for pastors and elders, we believe it is the task of all leaders to think theologically. Our theology teams aim to provide the church with resources to engage the questions of today with robust, biblically informed, and faithfully Reformed and Evangelical perspectives. 
This year we will be engaging your presbyteries by asking you to hold discussions about the church drawing on Scripture and our theological tradition, so that we can together proactively meet the challenges of the next generations without being tossed to and fro by every wind of shifting doctrine and fad of church movements.
The Younique process is about finding your calling. In Kelly Kannwischer’s National Gathering message, she talked about how we are tempted to live the life we think we should live, others want us to live, or others pay us to live. The Younique process offers individuals to explore the life God has called to live. This process can be a basic exploration all the way to a robust process to discern clarity in all aspects of your life. All of these options are available at lifeyounique.com.
ECO has been able to do some amazing work with each of our church’s
annual contribution of 1%, which supports revitalization, planting, lay
leadership development, first call pastor cohorts, seminary courses, and
more. At the same time, we will need an even greater investment in
order to make our vision a reality. The next three years are critical as we
build, enhance, and multiply our ministry initiatives. To get there, we are
asking each ECO congregation to consider giving an additional 1% to
Leadership Development Initiatives as part of their mission giving.
Approved by ECO Presbyteries and updated - now available!

Order a hard copy or download the PDF version by clicking "view" below
Holding your Annual Meeting on Zoom?
ECO's parliamentarian, Dr. Len Young, will be offering a FREE webinar on Friday, Feb 19th at 2:00 PM (CST)

Topics to be discussed will include:
  • What do your bylaws allow about holding electronic meetings?
  • What does your state non-profit code provide?
  • Tips on how to use zoom for a membership meeting
  • How to develop standing rules and a good script for your online meeting

Those interested should contact Maja Greig at maja@eco-pres.org
Only 95 spots available!
Mark your calendars now!

The 2022 ECO National Gathering (including the Synod business meeting) will be held at:
Highland Park Presbyterian Church in Dallas, Texas
January 31- February 3, 2022.

Can't wait to see you there!
ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians | eco-pres.org