I am very excited about Sunday at Echo Church. "Very," I say.
After more than five years of Echo ministering in our community, we will be officially ordaining spiritual leaders for our church. As a congregation of the Independent Christian Church tradition, we're dedicated to autonomous church rule under the authority of elders (that's technical talk, meaning that we have no denominational structure to which we respond; our church governs our own church). Even though we started Echo without elders, we made sure to keep multiple levels of accountability in place to ensure that the church functioned well. On a personal level, I have a group of ministers with whom I meet monthly that keep me in check. And as a church, we've maintained a leadership team who oversee the important aspects of congregational life.
A couple of years ago, we restructured our leadership team to prepare to install an eldership. We looked carefully at the New Testaments texts concerning elders (specifically 1 Timothy and Titus 1) and were able to identify men who could fulfill this role at Echo. Over the past 18 months we studied theology and talked philosophy of ministry to make sure we were on the same page. And after all this time in meeting and studying, we will finally set apart these men on Sunday as our new elders.
There are numerous reasons why I'm thrilled about this. First, I'm excited that our church is continuing to grow up. Even though we're still a relatively young congregation, we've made it five years now. Even though a numerical growth hasn't been dynamic, I see how our people are growing/serving/connecting and I know we're moving forward. And with a more solid leadership structure, it'll display that we're not a fly by night operation.
Second, I'm excited for these guys. I've known Aaron and Larry for awhile, and David and Josh more recently. But during the past couple of years I've gotten to know all of them closely. We all have different personalities that all mesh together to bring a distinctive flavor. I wholeheartedly believe that the Lord brought them to Echo so that we will be a better church. It's crazy to think that over the next decade(s), we'll have the opportunity to lead this Echo for the glory of God. It's a re-beginning for our continued journey.
Third, I'm excited for the people in our church. Each of these men are amazing people with diverse giftedness. As charming as I am, I can't be all things to all people. So if someone in the church is struggling, and they don't feel like engaging me, there are other people with whom they can relate. As a church, we're spending the 24 hours before the ordination in prayer and fasting for what God is going to do through us in our city. It's the passion of the people at Echo that continues to make it a beacon in a dark world.
Finally, I'm excited for me. Yes, I'm self-centered, but this makes my life even better. As much as I love Echo, I'm always fearful that, as the main voice, people associate the church with my personality. Even though I'm always upfront, there are many valuable people that drive our church. And with the ordination of these leaders, it will become even more evident that this is a team effort. I'm so blessed to be a part of this church. And I'm even more blessed to be surrounded by people who love it as much as I do.
Hence, I am so very excited about Sunday.
If you're available, I'd love to invite you to our Ordination Service. It's this Sunday night (March 13th) at 6pm at the Walnut Hills Christian Church. There'll be a reception after the worship gathering.
Join us as we continue to grow up.