Reflecting our Communities: How Can We Be Better?

I continue to be both inspired and overwhelmed by the challenges and opportunities that stand before our movement.  There are some obvious issues that include working toward the revitalization of our churches, the ability of our churches to plant vibrant churches, and of course developing a greater quantity and quality of lay and vocational leaders who will be able to lead, plant, and revitalize these congregations.  Within these broad issues are some extremely important factors that need to be present.

One of these factors is our need to better reflect the increasingly diverse communities in which we live.  We need to address the issue of diversity not only to stay relevant, but most importantly because we see throughout Scripture that the church is the place that brings ultimate unity in Christ.

National Gathering

What would it look like for your ministry to truly flourish in the specific context in which God has placed you right here, right now?

What next step can you take toward
flourishing in the coming year?

We are so excited to have you join us for LOCALLY GROWN, our 2019 ECO National Gathering, where we will be exploring together how to cultivate our flourishing next step.

Is God calling you to take a step in your discipleship journey? How about your leadership development? Maybe it's time to take that next step on mission to your local community.
 
We're all about your local church, your neighborhood, and what's going on in your ministry.
Big or small, rural or urban, thriving or struggling, God is calling us all to flourish.

You won't want to miss this year's gathering. Take time in January in Colorado Springs to renew your commitment to Jesus and your ministry, connect with the God who loves you deeply, worship, learn from our amazing keynote speakers, gain practical wisdom from breakout sessions, connect with colleagues and friends from across the country, and most of all, have FUN!
 
We are happy to account our winner of the once one night stay at the Garden of the Gods Club!
The winner is: 
Rev. Bill Good, Fountain Hill Presbyterian Church,  Fountain Hills, AZ




We are thrilled to be able to present this prize to this awesome ECO pastor!

Get to know one of our 2019 ECO
National Gathering Speakers!

Rev. Dr. Nicole Martin
Nicole Martin Assistant Professor of Ministry and Leadership Development, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

Reverend Doctor Nicole Martin was born and educated in Baltimore, Maryland. She graduated magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University with a triple major in Human and Organizational Development, Educational Studies, and French.  Dr. Martin received her Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary where she was the recipient of the Jones Prize in Music and Swink Prize in Preaching. During her time in seminary, she served as the Director of Evangelism at St. James AME Church in Newark, New Jersey and spent a summer in ministry at Mandalay Baptist Church in Cape Town, South Africa. She earned a Doctor of Ministry at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary with an emphasis on African American Redemptive Leadership.

Dr. Martin is currently the Assistant Professor of Ministry and Leadership Development at Gordon-Conwell in Charlotte. She also serves as a church mobilizer with American Bible Society. She is a minister at The Park Church in Charlotte, North Carolina under the direction of Bishop Claude Richard Alexander, Jr, where she formerly served as the Executive Minister. 
 
Dr. Martin is a gifted writer and author of the book, Made to Lead: Empowering Women for Ministry. She has been inducted into the prestigious Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Board of Preachers at Morehouse College. She is a columnist for the Faith and Values section of The Charlotte Observer, a contributor for Christianity Today, and was also named one of the "Top Seven to Watch in 2011" by The Charlotte Observer. Most recently, she was named one of the "Top 40 Under 40 for 2017" by the Charlotte Business Journal.

Dr. Martin has been selected to participate in ministries locally and globally, including the Lausanne Younger Leaders Conference in Indonesia, the Evangelical thought leaders gathering in Israel and being appointed by the Mayor to serve as the faith-based representative on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing Advisory Board. Dr. Martin is also the founder of The Clergywomen of Charlotte and Executive Director of SoulFire International Ministries, which focuses on empowering others to reach their fullest potential in Christ.

Dr. Martin is married to her best friend, Minister Mark Martin, and they have two beautiful daughters, Addison and Josephine. Above all, she has a passion for God, a contagious excitement for the Gospel, and an insatiable desire that God be glorified in her life and in the world.

Calling all ECO Authors!

Do you have a published book or books that you want the wider ECO body to know about and that would edify the church? At this year's National Gathering we will have a table with an opportunity for you to provide a display copy and marketing material for your book or books. While we can't provide a way to sell books this time, we want to provide a way for our authors to get some recognition. Participation is restricted to ECO pastors, officers, and covenant partners.
For more information and details on how to participate, please email ECO's Theology Coordinator, Greg Wagenfuhr at greg@eco-pres.org and include the title(s) of the book(s) you would like to bring.
ECO Resources and Opportunities
Interested in Joining an ECO Theology Team?

ECO is now recruiting for two teams for the creation of a New Theology Document (TTF-NTD). :  
  • the Standing Theological Council (STC) and 
  • the Theological Task Force 
We are looking for pastors, officers, and covenant partners who have thriving ministries, formal theological training, a strong ability to work in a group, and a desire to contribute to the theological direction of ECO. 


Please email ECO's Theology Coordinator, Greg Wagenfuhr at 
greg@eco-pres.org  for more information and an application packet.



A PURPOSEFUL PARTNERSHIP: 
Overcoming the Empty Offering Plate

This exciting ECO and TPF Webinar is now available to you at your convenience!
Don't miss out! 

CLICK HERE to view this webinar and find out what everyone is talking about. You'll hear John Terech, ECO'sExecutive Director of Operations, and The Rev. Dr. Rick Young, TPF's President & CEO, lead a rousing conversation centered on encouraging generosity and inspiring stewardship. They discuss new ideas, identify the latest trends, and provide you with tools you can actually use now. Even on demand, this event is still interactive. We continue to take and answer questions, and we encourage you to interact with all elements of the webinar.

Specifically, after this session you will be able to:
  • Describe the ways in which ECO and TPF can help you power generosity
  • Discuss how stewardship is changing for your congregation
  • Review and access key resources designed to nurture stewardship and generosity in your churches


Click Here to watch this informative and exciting event!



Give your MAG an ECO BOOST!

It's been great to work with a number of our ECO presbyteries who are incorporating MAG experiences into their presbytery gatherings.  I've been asked by a couple of folks how to keep the momentum going, so I wanted to share a few steps.  


These don't have to be done in order (except I always think prayer is  the best place to start).   

1. PRAY .  Mission Affinity Groups aren't just another thing we HAVE to do in ECO, but they are a way we engage in the covenantal accountability of our life together.  If it seems daunting or you need direction or things aren't happening the way you want, then I would encourage you to pray about it. Seek the Lord's guidance and wisdom.  You know, He never lets us down!

2. GET A GROUP .   During presbytery meetings, I've seen some great relationships develop which has jump started a MAG.  Take, for example, the group that came together at the recent Presbytery of the South gathering. Churches from Alabama and Mississippi set a date in February 2019 for a meet up and even named their group the "Ala-ssippi" MAG.  If you still haven't gotten connected in a MAG, I would encourage you to talk to the chair of your presbytery's MPT and ask for guidance.


Global Engagement
Connecting with the Iranian Christian Movement
By Jen Haddox, ECO's Global Engagement Director

Arguably the fastest growing church in the world today is in Iran. On the one hand, it's surprising that under persecution the church would be growing there. But on the other hand, isn't the grace of Jesus found most visibly expressed among those who demonstrate Jesus as the Way, the Truth, and the Life by their sacrificial witness? 

A fast growing-church needs leaders that can support, sustain, and grow this movement.  God has granted Pars Theological Centre the vision and ministry of equipping leaders for this fast-growing gospel movement in Iran. They are training hundreds of house church leaders in bible and theology, in Christian formation, and in service to their communities. This ministry of equipping leaders for ministry in difficult circumstances is inspiring and invites us to partner in support and prayer.

During the months of September and October, 11 ECO churches and 4 ECO presbyteries have hosted our friends from Pars Theological Centre to hear the story of this gospel movement first-hand.  

Shadi Fatehi, Director of Programs at Pars, has found a warm welcome and eager hearts to learn about this good news in the Middle East. As she travels from coast to coast speaking with ECO churches and ECO leaders, we see the Spirit of God at work connecting us to this movement of God in Iran.

An Update on Hurricane Michael
An Update on Hurricane Michael from Barbara Brice, Moderator, Presbytery of Florida

Dear Friends, 
Here is what we know about our two panhandle churches (Agape and Sunny Hills):  

At Sunny Hills the sanctuary is fine and
there is slight damage to the outbuildings. Power outages continue but they intend to hold worship as usual on Sunday.

At  Agape, they are thinking the building is a  total loss. The garage roof caved in on 80% of the second building. The chapel is missing parts of the roof and rain  damaged all parts of the sanctuary and fellowship hall.   We do not have reports re covenant partners and their individual needs for either congregation. Communication is still hard.















At this time we are collecting financial donations.  
They may be sent to:

Emil Albertini
Treasurer, Presbytery of Florida
c/o First Presbyterian Church
118 East Monroe
Jacksonville, FL 32202

No information on work crew possibilities.  Both of our panhandle churches are very small and so that effort may come from others. We will keep you all informed about those possibilities as we hear about them.

For now, let's keep folks in our prayers as they continue to assess and get the basics of life back in place.

Thank you all!

Blessings,
Rev. Dr. Barbara F. Brice
Moderator Presbytery of Florida

Welcome New ECO Churches!

Neelsville Presbyterian Church, Germantown, MD

"We are overwhelmed by God's faithfulness upholding us in our efforts to join the Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians (ECO).  While our transition to ECO is recent, it is directly reflective of the history and tradition established at Neelsville Presbyterian Church (NPC) one hundred and seventy-three years ago as a Christ-centered, Bible-believing church.  At NPC, our mission to glorify God by being and making disciples of Jesus Christ is directly aligned with that of ECO and we look forward to capitalizing on that alignment as we Worship Christ, Grow in our Faith and Go into the world to spread the good news.  Please keep our church and our congregation in your prayers as we seek His guidance to do a good work for His Kingdom."


El Montecito Presbyterian Church, Santa Barbara, CA

"The congregation of El Montecito Presbyterian Church is absolutely delighted to join ECO where we can serve Jesus Christ together and be encouraged in our faith by our fellow believers!"


ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyerians