Stories of Church Transformation!

One of the highlights of this year for me has been to continue to be a part of the Church Transformation Cohort pilot project in western Pennsylvania. If you were at last year's national gathering, during my talk you heard from Linda Synder and Jason Schepp about what God is doing in their congregations.  

I want to introduce you to two other pastors whose churches have been a part of the cohort.  Henry Yoder, pastor of Church at the Rock and Justin Amsler, pastor of McDonald Presbyterian Church.  These two were the first churches in the cohort to have their onsite consultation, which is part of the transformation process.  At our May meeting of the cohort, Justin and Henry gave their update of what has been happening at their churches a year into the process.  I was so amazed at what our great God is doing in their churches that I asked them to make a brief two minute video to share with our tribe.  

   National Gathering:

   New Resource! Leadership Training Series

Wh at is a Commissioned Lay Pastor anyway?
Could Commissioned Lay Pastor Training be right for me?

Last spring when I was asked by Dana and Nate to create training for CLPs, I said, "What is a CLP?" When they told me the answer, I was vaguely familiar with the term, but needed MUCH more explanation before I really understood how a Commissioned Lay Pastor functions in ECO. So, if you are confused by the term CLP, you are not alone.

It also occured to me that there are many lay people who hear the word "pastor" and automatically think "that's not me".  This is not your fault. Our Presbyterian system has, for a very long time, had a very steep divide between clergy and lay people so that it has caused lay people to see clergy as a whole different "species" of God's people with whom they cannot really identify.  ECO deeply desires to change those ideas and for all covenant members to see a "pastor" in themselves and themselves in their pastor. Our ecclesiology is such that we need each covenant member to find his or her sweet spot within the walls of the church (or outside of it) in order to effectively share the good news of the Kingdom. All of this to say, don't let the word "Pastor" in "Commissioned Lay Pastor" deter you!


Our polity allows for CLPs because we so deeply value the "priesthood of all believers" and we want to equip more people for ministry without requiring them to go the traditional route of a seminary education.  This non-traditional approach allows the student to stay in his or her current context while receiving further training for ministry.

ECO polity allows for two different types of CLPs.


Our ECO polity (2.0502) provides for lay leaders who feel called and gifted to administer the sacraments as they step into the role of a lay pastor serving under the pastor of their church.  ECO deeply desires to unleash the laity to do God's kingdom work in the places where they are. CLP1's are lay leaders who are serving their churches in micro-expressions of church (small groups, youth groups, missional communities,etc.) and who wish for a deeper level of ministry training.

Our ECO polity (2.0503) and missional ecclesiology also allows for lay leaders who are properly gifted and trained to serve as pastors of local churches without getting a traditional seminary degree and being ordained.  This makes pastoring a church more accessible to a wider array of people and allows God to use gifted and trained leaders in His mission. This course is a 2-3 year process which involves all of the training described for officers and CLP1s, plus additional classes.  These classes include but are not limited to: New Testament, Old Testament, Theology, Preaching, Basic Exegesis, Leading Change, Church Management, and additional spiritual formation opportunities. This CLP2 certification is meant to equip a lay leader with the basic skills needed to pastor a church.

Registration for both types of CLPs will begin in September.   

 Classes begin in 2019.

For more details contact Lisa Johnson at 
or Kim Davis at 

Save the Date: Informational Webinar Everything you need to know about this CLP Training Resource

September 11th @ 4pm PST  

   Transitional Pastors:

Transitional Pastor Training Event! Sign up now!
To get more info or to sign up,  click here.

   New Resource! Global Engagement



Best Practices for Mission Teams: 

A video-based small group study to help your church's mission team/committee to explore best practices for leading your church in mission is coming soon!
Designed to strengthen the mission leadership in your church, the resource explores topics like: Belonging to a Global Body, Discerning Local and Global Engagement, Investing in Mission Relationships, Short-term Mission, Engaging your Church in Mission, and Discovering your Flourishing Next Step in Mission.  
Flourishing Global Engagement: Best Practices for Mission Teams was created by a team of experienced mission leaders from various church contexts as a way to offer an outside perspective, initiate fruitful conversations, and help you discern the flourishing next step in your church's mission engagement. 

Here's what the pilot test group experienced this summer:

Be sure to watch for the release date or request to be notified email   For more information click here.

   Mission Affinity Groups

    The Blessing of Being a Connectional Church 
    - an Update from United Church of Cohoes, NY

This July, a group of 12 adults came from Grace Ridge Church in Honesdale, PA to United Church of Cohoes, NY (one of the churches in our second Church Transformation Cohort) to partner with us and help us accomplish some projects!

They demoed and rebuilt the wash room in our kitchen where we prepare our weekly community meals and after school kids meals. The new floors, sinks, and shelving will make it so much easier to get all of the dishes washed after meals! They also cleaned out and painted our new classrooms as we try to make a dedicated space in the church for children and youth!

We are so grateful that they came to us and helped us finish projects that we have been trying to accomplish for a while now! The ECO denomination is one that cares deeply about the larger community of churches and we cannot wait to pay it forward to another church in need!

   Welcome New ECO Churches!

Christ Community Church of Barnwell, SC  

"Ours has been a process of redemption and reaffirmation.  We were a splant, a group who left the Barnwell Presbyterian Church USA to form the Christ Community Church.  Along the way we were joined by the congregation of the historic Boiling Springs Presbyterian Church, giving us a rural campus for Sunday night worship and community activities. For two years we have been blessed to meet in the YMCA on Sunday mornings , but now it is time to move forward.  We have just purchased a building in downtown Barnwell which we are in the process of renovating. The timing is of God's hand, we are moving to full church status in the ECO and moving into a church building that will allow us to do more to reach out to our community. We have been blessed and thank our Lord Jesus for our growth on the journey."  - David Wayne Turner, Pastor 

First Presbyterian Church, Dublin, VA

"The First Dublin Presbyterian Church is so happy to be a new member of the ECO family. After 145 years of Christian service, we look forward to this new chapter."  - Olin Whitener, Pastor

Presbyterian Church of the Covenant, Hurricane, WV

"Why are we excited about being in ECO?! We had to face the heard reality that through we were evangelical in theology, we weren't in practice. We needed and wanted the challenge and focus and encouragement of being a part of the mission to "build flourishing churches that make disciples of Jesus Christ."    - Rob Laukoter, Pastor

Narberth Presbyterian Church, Narberth, PA 

"In Ecclesiastes 7:8, it says, "The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride."  Through the long journey of Narberth Presbyterian's denominational transition, we realize that God's timing has been perfect.  We praise God for bringing our vibrantly, diverse congregation to substantial, even overwhelming unity. The process has not been easy, but it has shaped us to be more like Christ, and taught us more deeply what it means to be the body of Christ.  We are delighted with our new home in ECO, and the newfound freedom to pursue the great commission of Jesus Christ with energy, intelligence, imagination and love. In ECO, we believe we have both roots and wings: the roots of biblical, orthodox Christian faith, and the wings of sharing the gospel with creativity and freshness in the Holy Spirit."
Rev. Steve Weed, Pastor  View Website

Centreville Presbyterian Church, Centreville, VA

"At last, after a journey through some deep valleys and significant twists, the Lord has cleared the way for us to enter ECO! We have already been embraced by many and we're enthusiastic to be a part of this amazing movement birthed by the Holy Spirit to build thriving churches that make disciples of Jesus."
- Rob Bromhead, Pastor 
                                       View Website

ECO | A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians | 855.326.3268 |