By Ronda Ooms
It’s October! Can you believe it? The leaves are beginning to change colors, and the weather is turning a bit cooler! I love this time of year and the changes that it brings - God’s handiwork at its best!
Fall has many fun traditions, and one of them here at ECC is Trunk or Treat. This year on Wednesday, October 30, our campus will be filled with the sound of laughter, children dressed up in awesome costumes and lots of activity! Families from ECC and around the community will come to enjoy some great food and fellowship and a time for their children to trick or treat.
This event is a great way for you to invite family and friends that may not feel comfortable in the church environment on a Sunday morning. What a fun, nonthreatening way to introduce someone to ECC! Meet them here and help them feel welcome. Knowing that there’s a least one friendly face that they will recognize will be comforting to your guest.
Each year, we invite our Afterschool JAM families to this event, and they have such a fun time! They have already been asking about it, because this event is one of the highlights of the year for them! Over the past couple of years, when we have invited our Afterschool JAM children there have been multiple children that have not had costumes. I have felt so bad when a parent has said to me, “I don’t get paid until after Trunk or Treat, and my child doesn’t have a costume. Are they still able to come?” We want every child to have the opportunity to be a part of Trunk or Treat and to feel comfortable. Most children want to be able to dress up and have fun! Do you have costumes your child has outgrown? Maybe you’d even pray about going to Walmart and purchasing one to donate. Either way, I know that the parents would be SO grateful for the help. Simply bring the costume(s) to the church office and we’ll be sure they are made available to children who may need them.
This event has brought over 800 people to our campus over the past few years. We could use your help in a couple of additional ways to help this year’s Trunk or Treat be even better than years past. Please consider decorating a car. It doesn't matter if it is elaborate or simple. Or simply commit to have your car in our parking lot and hand out candy if you aren’t up to decorating it. Our goal is to have between 25 and 40 cars. We can also use donations of candy for the people to pass out. The last couple of years we have run out of candy so we need LOTS of donations! If you are unable to purchase candy yourself, we welcome financial donations and someone else will be happy to buy it for you.
Whether you can attend the night of Trunk or Treat or not, you can be a part of this outreach event. Costumes, trunks or candy - which area(s) can you help us with? Sign up here and be a part of the fun! You will be blessed as you are a blessing! Please call the church office at 765-474-4842 with any questions.
By Pastor Stacey
On Sunday we began week five of our 10-week exploration of three Touchstones that will shape the future of our mission and vision at ECC. As a reminder, a touchstone was a piece of flint-like, black stone used to determine the quality of gold and other precious metals by examining the color of the mark left when the metal was scratched against it. Since then, its meaning has evolved to refer to a criterion by which we measure the genuineness of something, or, probably most helpful for our purposes, a touchstone is “a fundamental or quintessential part or feature” of something. Our three ECC Touchstones are Welcome, Transformation, and Presence. This week, we begin to look at Transformation.
In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, he teaches us that outward acts of piety are not enough. We must become the kind of people whose righteousness goes beyond that of the religious elite (Matthew 5.20). In doing so, we “yoke” ourselves with Jesus and discover that being conformed to the image and character of Christ is not a burden, but is “easy” and “light” (Matthew 11.28-30). We submit to the yoke of Christ and the Spirit of God, and we are transformed.
We acknowledge that Transformation is important because God desires that Christ be formed in us (Galatians 4.19) and that we be “conformed to the image of Christ” (Romans 8.29). As the Apostle Paul puts it in elsewhere, “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory…” (2 Corinthians 3.18). Likewise, our destiny as followers of Christ is to become “like him,” for one day “we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3.2). This is where God in Christ is taking all things. Christoformity – having the character of Christ formed in us – is the goal of our transformation.
I have taken the word “Christoformity” from scholar Scot McKnight of Northern Baptist Theological Seminary (formerly of North Park University in Chicago). He, in turn, borrowed it from one of his professors when he was doing his PhD work in England. Other words that overlap this concept of Christoformity are: transformation, Christlikeness, and discipleship. But I like Christoformity because of its strangeness – we have to stop and consider what it means; we can’t just read right past it. To become a Christoform person is to become a person who is shaped, formed, and filled with the character and nature of Christ Jesus. It is to become the “little Christs” CS Lewis speaks of when he says, “Every Christian is to become a little Christ. The whole purpose of becoming a Christian is simply nothing else.” In my understanding, it is the primary responsibility of a pastor to nurture a culture that nourishes his or her people in the direction of Christoformity.
Because God desires that Christ is formed within us, and Jesus teaches us a new way of life, we seek to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in helping one another follow him in our journey toward Christoformity. What we do in worship each Sunday, and in our classrooms and ministry with children, youth, and adults, is all aimed at spiritual formation. It is the goal of our retreats and special events, our Bible studies and our Community Gathering options for Christian formation, to list a few.
Our commitment to transformation is found in our intent to engage spiritual formation practices as a community and as individuals. We desire to provide resources and relationships for the journey from curiosity to Christoformity.