One Measure of a Flourishing Church: Expects Disciple-Making

By Rev. Dr. Dana Allin
ECO Synod Executive
When I talk to pastors or sessions and I hear about the challenges they face, I often hear things like, “our giving is down” or “we don’t have enough volunteers” or “we are getting pushback to our worship change”. It’s partly my personality and partly my training to want to dig beneath the surface of a presenting challenge. I have learned to ask the “why” question. “Why are people giving you so much pushback to worship change?”

The answer might be, “because the congregation doesn’t like the new music...or order of service,” or some other element. Then I probe deeper. “Why is that concern a driving force?” It doesn’t take too many probing questions to get to the point that the fundamental issue is a lack of discipleship. That lack of true discipleship can manifest in a consumer-driven attitude that church is here to serve my needs and desires instead of, for example, giving the work of the Lord financial priority, or any number of other challenges.
Discipleship is Vitally Theological

By Rev. Dr. Greg Wagenfuhr
ECO Theology Coordinator and Church Planter
What would Jesus do? I was a teenager in youth group when those WWJD bracelets were popular. But I always thought it was a funny question. After all, when considering whether and whom to marry or even date, the question is totally useless. Jesus was intentionally single and celibate. WWJD is a question of discipleship. But what really does “following Jesus” mean? See, theology is vital! To understand what Jesus’ call to follow him meant, we have to understand his world a little bit. In those days people did not distinguish questions of morality from politics, economics, religion, or anything else. Ancient lives were integrated or embedded as scholars say, not compartmentalized as we have it.

Jesus came proclaiming that the kingdom of God was here, and that he himself is its king. These claims were not first and foremost about worship practices, or moral behavior. Jesus’ claims of the kingdom were fully integrated and demanded full allegiance. Entering into the kingdom of God was understood, by Jesus, as a kind of exodus.
2020 National Gathering
Registration is now open!
Register at before early bird pricing expires Oct 31st!
Get to know one of our our 2020 National Gathering speakers!

Eugene Cho
“As a pastor and leader, it’s also been an incredible privilege to encourage other leaders and challenge the wider Church to more faithfully and deeply embody God’s heart for compassion, mercy, and justice.” - Eugene Cho

We are incredibly grateful to hear from Eugene Cho in Dallas! Eugene is one of the leading voices in the church today. Read more about him on his website:
World Renew Relief Efforts - Hurricane Dorian
World Renew is organizing efforts and accepting donations for relief in the Bahamas and communities on the East Coast following the devastation of Dorian (and preparing for any other fall hurricanes in 2019).
IMPACT at the 2020 National Gathering
ECO is excited to collaborate with Axis and the Fuller Youth Institute to offer a high school/college-aged young adults pathway at the 2020 National Gathering. Each ECO Congregation and Church Plant is invited to identify students in your congregations and communities that you can bring with you to the National Gathering so that they can be part of IMPACT: Equipping the Next Generation.
Youth culture is changing at a rapid pace. According to the PINETOPS Foundation and their research, “Over one million youth at least nominally in the church today will choose to leave each year for the next three decades. 35 million youth raised in families that call themselves Christians will say they are not by 2050.”  ECO believes it is crucial to come alongside individual congregations, covenant partners, and students to help expand our understanding of the intersection of culture and faith. Since the National Gathering is the premier training grounds for ECO congregations, we desire to equip, nurture, invest in, and build meaningful connections with ECO's high school and college-aged young adults as they prepare for a future in ministry - as a vocation or as a life-long leader in the church as well as to prepare and equip church leaders to meet this challenge.  
Young adults (ages 15 – 22) will fully participate in the IMPACT pre-conference (Monday, February 3, 2020 from 1-7pm) as well as the 2020 National Gathering conference (February 4th - 6th) in Grapevine, TX. In addition to fully participating in the National Gathering, IMPACT participants will have special sessions and fun activities planned just for them.

Impact 2020 is Co-Sponsored by: 
To apply and register for IMPACT, visit
If you have any additional questions about IMPACT, OR if your youth pastors/directors did not receive the email that was sent containing more information about IMPACT, please contact us at Space is limited, so we invite you to sign up soon!
ECO is now offering Axis as a resource for free to all ECO Churches!
If you are Pastor Head of Staff of Clerk of Session at an ECO Church, you should have received an email this past week regarding Axis. 

What is Axis? 
Axis is a Christian ministry that provides resources and materials for the goal of building lifelong faith in today's youth. The Axis materials give youth leaders, pastors, church leadership, parents, grandparents, or anyone else in your church, the power to translate faith and culture with their teenagers one conversation at a time.

Every ECO Church will receive one account for the All Axis Pass for free. If your church needs any additional accounts, you may buy them separately for $100/account/year. We encourage you to start a conversation with your youth directors/pastors on how to use and implement this resource. 
How to get Axis:

ECO Churches: USE YOUR ECO Church ID# as the COUPON CODE !
Don’t Know your Church ID#?

last week, an email was sent to Pastors/Heads of Staff and Clerks of Sessions and contained your church’s ID #. Email us at if you need this information.
For more details about AXIS, visit:
Upcoming Transitional Pastor Trainings
ECO's goal is to equip pastoral leaders so they can help churches navigate pastoral transitions and prepare them for their Flourishing Next Step.
Upcoming Trainings:
Transitional Leadership: Sept 25, 2019 at McDonald Presbyterian Church, PA
Foundations: Sept 24-26 at McDonald Presbyterian Church,PA
Outreach and Equipping: Oct 15-17, 2019 at White Clay Creek, Newark, DE
Structural Health: February 6, 2020 at the Gaylord Conference Center, Grapevine, TX (following NG20)

For details and registration, visit:
Flourish & Gordon-Conwell Seminary Courses are almost underway!
We are so excited to have these students enroll in the Fall 2019 semester!
Introduction to Pastoral Counseling
Kristopher Hogue
Elizabeth Swinney
Peggy Hughes
Nate Miller
Sue Black
Crystal Badgley
Evangelism in the Local Church
Alan Poling
Antonio Oliveira
Lisa Madison
Kenneth Hutchinson
Will Cameron
Dan Aikins
Susan Casavant
Jason Drury
Lisa Wilson
Kyra Thomas
Theology Survey 1
Alan Poling
Shane Williams
Patti Ridenhour
Mitch Kirsch
Antonio Oliveira
Darryll Davis
Stephen Ellison
Lindsay Selli
Susan Casavant
Laura Metzger
Sue Black
Jack McClelland
Rockwood Ludes
Barry Henderson
Audrey Roach
Tiana Smith
Jackie Huber
Loren Kolam
Kyra Thomas
Paul Lee
Spiritual Formation for Ministry
Alan Poling
Bruno Zecchin
Patti Ridenhour
Kristopher Hogue
Joel Dunn
Jean Risley
Antonio Oliveira
Lynne Trice
Miguel Aguillon
Lindsay Selli
Nate Miller
Charles Bivens
Laura Metzger
Melissa Lemon
Audrey Roach
Darryll Davis
Bretty Hardy
Jacob McKinnon
Jason Drury
Peggy Hughes
Kyra Thomas
Join the Conversation with other Mission Leaders!
There are 3 opportunities coming this Fall to connect in "Live" conversation with ECO mission leaders.

Global Engagement Live is an opportunity to hear a brief presentation, and then be added to a live chat room with 3-5 other mission leaders. You can connect by telephone, or even better with a video connection from your laptop, tablet, or smart phone using the Zoom app. Register for just one or each of them, and be sure to add it to your calendar now so you don't miss the opportunity to connect.

Sharpening Focus: Lessons on Discerning Direction in Mission
Mike Robison, retired Associate Director, Frontier Fellowship
September 17th at 12 pm (Central) 

Catalyzing Gospel Movement: Church Engagement that Makes a Difference on the Field
Amy Delgado, Outreach Director at Memorial Drive in Houston, TX
October 23rd at 12 pm (Central)

Catching Fire: Lessons Learned from Starting and Spreading a New Mission Partnership
Tim Norton, Mission Pastor at FPC Winston-Salem, NC
November 21st at 12 pm (Central)
Church Mutual
ECO proudly partners with Church Mutual for your insurance needs. They have set up a dedicated page for ECO churches. In addition to insurance they provide many other resources regarding policies and procedures for the church. Check them out and have a look at the video!  
Join us for Coach Training!
Flourish will offer a Coach Training certification process through Coach Net International because of our commitment to equip leaders and provide resources that nurture flourishing
ministry within ECO.

Having a coach can be a powerful asset in ministry and discipleship. More and more, pastors and ministers 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.

Session 1: Thursday, Feb 6, 2020 from 1:00PM to 6:00PM
Session 2: Friday, Feb 7, 2020 from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM

The first session will start directly following the 2020 National Gathering. Please extend your hotel stay for one/ or two additional nights after the gathering.    
Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center (1501 Gaylord Trail, Grapevine, TX )
Welcome New ECO Churches!
Harlansburg Presbyterian Church
New Castle, PA
First Presbyterian Church of Finleyville, Finleyville, PA
Three Taverns Community Church (Plant) St. Louis, MO
5638 Hollister Ave Ste 210
Goleta, CA 93117
© 2019 ECO A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians All rights reserved.