“So what’s different now that we have been in the ECO for over a year and have spent $1.5 million to get there?” I expect many of you are quietly kicking this question around because as far as you can tell, things seem fairly much the same as in PCUSA days. And on the surface, that is largely true.
But while the average member may find their Crestwood experience relatively unaltered, at the leadership level we can testify to unprecedented cultural shifts underground that we know will make for a healthier disciple making church. Just as in your own backyard it takes time for fertilizer and better soil to impact a plant’s overall system, please be patient in allowing the ECO culture to permeate our congregational life from the ground up.
Elders on Session will tell you that they are experiencing a new leadership climate with exercises that truly are moving us “from the board room to the upper room.” Our elders are looking to give less priority to administrative leadership and more priority to spiritual leadership. As we grow into this change, it will improve our health and shift our culture at Crestwood.
As staff and members participate in ECO presbytery meetings and annual gatherings, we are being peppered with fresh ideas and life-giving ministry stories that are inspiring us and stirring our own creativity. It simply takes time for transformation to occur in our individual thinking and then manifest itself in our congregational culture.
The leading edge, Christ-focused speakers at events and the quality of programming offered to us in the ECO serves us far better than nearly anything offered to us previously. ECO leadership has developed outstanding discipleship initiatives that emphasize a growing relationship with Jesus, planting new churches and reaching our communities for Christ. We are being poked over and over in the best possible ways to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ – which is new and wonderful.
Our church culture will not change any more quickly than we change individually, and probably even slower, but we have begun that journey amongst our leadership. There is much to love now about Crestwood Church; there will be even more to love in the future as the rich soil and stimulating fertilizer of the ECO gets more and more into our system. A bright new season is taking shape. Had we not been transplanted, I would not be able to offer you the same optimism. I praise God that I can do that today!