By Joel Hartman, ECC Council Chair
Would you ever imagine that more than three million vehicles pass through the intersection of Veteran’s Memorial Parkway and 9th Street every year! Did you know Kate Cogswell, Director of Women’s Ministry & Spiritual Formation, created a webpage to aid in our spiritual transformation to Christoformity named Soul-Training? You can find it at ecclife.net, connect tab, soul-training tab…in case you too want to check out this amazing resource! These are only two of the incredible nuggets your church council has uncovered in the past few months.
ECC is on a pathway towards transformation and pursuit of God’s direction for our future. This has been a continuous discerning process started with the Vision Input Gathering, then the Vitality Pathway, followed by the Ministry Planning Team, and now council-lead ministry reviews. This latest effort began last fall by asking our staff and ministry directors to share their needs and dreams with us related to capital requests. This allowed us to approve $30K from the strategic ministry fund to address immediate needs to improve ministry functions and environment. We look forward to unveiling the facelift to the LCA auditorium once back in the building, which was part of this effort. Additionally, installing bottle fill fountains seems like divine providence now, based on current changes due to the pandemic.
This spring, we were amid capital visioning for a campus renovation and outreach needs when COVID-19 interrupted everything. Knowing that coming out of this time, how we deliver ministries and outreach along with facility utilization will be different. So, we pressed paused on renovation plans and shifted focus.
Council began a comprehensive ministry review process asking each ministry director and pastor to collaborate with us. This involved a ministry summary, SWOT analysis, and recommendations / dreams report. Council then met individually (on Zoom) with each staff member for about two and a half hours- walking through their report. Council was amazed, humbled, and proud of the tremendous work our staff is doing, some of which we did not even know was happening within our community. We completed these reviews at the end of June. Since then, we have been meeting weekly to pray, discerning and developing coming actions that we believe are God’s direction for how we minister in our church and community.
During this work, we were also pivoting because of the pandemic changes. The most pressing need was the purchase and installation of camera’s and production equipment needed for streaming services held within the sanctuary on the internet. We applied and received a grant from the Center for Congregations to assist with the costs associated with this install.
Another recently approved project is a new digital church sign. Through applying the SWOT analysis to the general church (Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) we realized our location is a very large strength we have. We also learned we were not making the most of that strength. After doing some research and talking to some experts, this new sign was proposed. The new sign will allow us to share with the larger community the transformative work our church is doing, how they can be involved, and welcome them to join us.
These tools and equipment allow us to reach our community and share the gospel. Please join us in prayer as more decisions and action steps develop this fall. We are utilizing the information compiled over the multi-year pathway we have been on to aid us as we look at ministries, staffing, capital needs, and visioning for where God is positioning us to serve his kingdom. This year we are reminded of God’s steadfast love and provision for ECC as 2020 is our sesquicentennial. What a year to celebrate 150 years!
The continued engagement of the church body is vital to our next 150 years, so please consider how to use your spiritual gifts, tithes & offerings, and time to make ECC the healthy-missional body of Christ needed for this time.