Below is an email I sent to Pastor Dave in response to his question about our 7th Year Anniversary Service. Perhaps it may assist you in imagining where we are headed as a tribe. Thanks for taking the time to read it. Love you, respect you, wouldn't want to do this without you. - Bryan
From Pastor Dave:
Hey B, looking forward to being with you and the ekko family! I was wondering if there was something in particular you wanted me to address? I want to make sure I support what you feel God is doing in your church family. Can't wait to be with you. Had a great time with Steve and Karen.
Dear Pastor Dave,
Thanks for the message requesting my input. We are all so excited for you to join us for our 7th year anniversary. God has been faithful and we are hopeful for what’s ahead.
Allow me to paint a quick picture of what’s been going on here at Ekko, hopefully using some of your language (from your book) that may assist you as you prepare to minister to our tribe.
“The cloud is both a Home and an Academy.” - Dave Gibbons
We have been busy creating a “home” and an “academy” the last 7 years. There was a strong emphasis on covenant-community building due to the lack of commitment we saw in people fearing doing life together, unable and unwilling to share their “stories”, and people’s constant battle with “anger” (and fear of intimacy). We found that transformation starts at “home”, a place called “home”. So we worked hard creating a place where people feel safe, understood, healed, etc. We’ve also worked hard creating an “academy” - from our version of discipleship (although we don’t call it discipleship, we call it “Orthopraxis, Ekko’s introduction to discipleship” - focusing heavily on the fact that this is a way of life that needs to be practiced and we stress that this is an introduction to discipleship, for we believe discipleship can only be had in real life with the Holy Spirit and his Church in the World). We are now introducing things like “Advances” - a cohort based, 6 some weeks, training journey on things like; “How to move in the Spirit and Use Spirit-Empowered Gifts”, “Marriage 101”, “Friendship Development”, “Finance and Stewardship”, Influencing Your World through Your Vocation”, etc.
As you can see, we’re good at ascending and gathering for the sake of forming a cloud. But as you said, “The cloud cycle teaches us about a process of ongoing transformation, a rhythm of moving in and out of assembly and blessing. Turns out, you can’t have one without the other.” I find that our people were so lonely, so isolated, so fearful of missing out, that when they found a place to call “home” they latched on and (some) are showing signs of fear of re-entry into the world with bold love and blessing. I’d love for our folks to consider their world as their parish, their world as the place to descend and pour out God’s blessing (rain). At Ekko, we’ve created training grounds for descending, such as giving to families with disabilities, adoption and foster care support and initiatives, we are also engaging in mental health issues, etc. I am proud of our church but if this was the church in Acts, I fear that we are quickly settling for “Jerusalem and Samaria” and often forgetting the “Outer Most Parts of the World”… the world often being our places of work, friends, city, etc.
In any case, I think it’s time for more activation of boldness, love, and faith (risking generosity).
I really wanted you to impart that faith, that courage… what would you say to Newsong if you could speak to it at its 7th year? Your balance in ancient/future and love for ascending/descending is really why I wanted you to come. At the end of the day, we just want you - be the sage that you are and take us to another level!
Looking forward to seeing you.
“I look upon all the world as my parish; thus far I mean, that, in whatever part of it I am, I judge it meet, right, and my bounden duty to declare unto all that are willing to hear, the glad tidings of salvation. This is the work which I know God has called me to; and sure I am that His blessing attends it. Great encouragement have I, therefore, to be faithful in fulfilling the work He hath given me to do. His servant I am, and, as such, am employed according to the plain direction of His Word, ‘As I have opportunity, doing good unto all men’; and His providence clearly concurs with his Word; which has disengaged me from all things else, that I might singly attend on this very thing, ‘and go about doing good.’”
- John Wesley, The Journal of John Wesley, May 28, 1739.