By Dana Allin, the ECO blog.
At ECO’s national gathering in Newport Beach this past January, I led a breakout session called, “In ECO, Now What?” This question often gets asked in a variety of different ways. I will get phone calls or e-mails stating that a congregation has been in ECO (usually for 6 months to a year) and the leaders want their congregation to live more fully into the values and vision that have been articulated. When I am asked these “now what?” questions, I tell congregations that they can do three things if they have not already been done.
Articulate the Vision
First, articulate the vision that God has for your congregation. I think a clear and concrete visual picture of where God is calling your congregation in the future is extremely helpful and provides synergy and focus for the rest of the ministry. However, even if your congregation has not created or formalized this type of vision, perhaps there are at least 1-2 general things that the leadership of the congregation knows they need to improve. Perhaps they want to take steps in a missional direction, be more intergenerational, or move toward church planting. Whatever it is, the congregation needs to be clear in their understanding of the general direction in which they are headed.
Second, the congregation and leadership needs to assess where they are in relation to the articulated vision. Where is the gap between where they are and where they are called to be? A congregation might indicate that they want to be more intergenerational, then evaluate their ministries and approach and realize that their energy is counterproductive toward that future.
Determine Next Steps
Third, a congregation and it’s leadership need to understand what are the appropriate next steps to help them achieve the vision to which God has called them.