High Trust, Low Control
I hope you apprecated learning more about the ECO National Gathering from members of our staff these past few weeks. If you missed any of their posts, click on any of the following names to read feedback from this great event: Paul White, Dee Abell, Josh Higgins, Carol Jaeger, Thea Walker, and Michelle Heath.
If you're interested in learning more, just this week videos of each of the keynote talks were posted on the ECO website. I recommend each of them highly!
One of the hallmarks of ECO that you may not hear explicitly in those videos, but is important nonetheless, is "high trust, low control." It is the conviction of the founders and leaders of ECO that because we adhere to Essential Tenets, we must to trust one another in mission and ministry. While there are many reasons to distrust one another in our world today, ECO is seeking to chart a new trajectory, where we - as the church of Jesus Christ - can work to trust one another. Because of shared theological convictions, we can do just that.
The ECO website states, "One of the founding principles of ECO was uniting pastors and congregations around a common theological core. The goal is not to be same-minded, but like-minded. We affirm that theological consensus around certain essentials is foundational for a healthy denomination. As a covenant community, our unity derives from a clearly-articulated theology that is Christ-centered, Reformed, and evangelical."
As an ECO church, each of our leaders is bound by these Essential Tenets, as well. As such, it is incumbent upon us to work toward "high trust, low control." If you attended our Annual Congregational Meeting, you may recall my saying that this is one of my goals for our family of faith this year, that we might regain trust in one another - congregation, staff, elders and deacons. One of the ways we are seeking to do so is increased communication and transparency, including posting Session-approved Action Items following each month's meeting (click here for those approved Tuesday, February 23rd!).
What's more, one of the key passages we have discussed at monthly Session meetings with Elders and staff, is Matthew 18.15-20. In these verses, Jesus lays out how His followers should interact with one another after one of them sins. I believe, in addition, that these instructions can also be utilized when trust is broken or disagreement takes place.
In Matthew 18, Jesus makes it very clear: When problems arise, the two parties are to first discuss the matter between just the two of them. If the other party doesn't listen, only then do we include someone else. And only after that do we include the whole church!
If you're at all like me, the temptation is to invert Jesus' process: First, tell everybody (except the person in question). Then, gather around our closest friends (so we know they're on our side). After that, when we know everyone is with us, engage the person at fault.
Have you ever been the victim to this kind of treatment? If so, you know, it rarely solves the problem. Usually, it makes things much worse.
On the other hand, when we follow Jesus' instructions, we often find understanding and healing. We find that we're able to process things together, and move forward united in Christ.
Join me in this difficult work, of engaging one another personally when sin occurs or trust is broken. Let’s live into “high trust, low control.”