|This year, we made the decision to move our time together out of the Mid-Atlantic and into the balmy January temperatures of Florida. For us, this represents the steady growth of Ecclesia over the last 13 years. Once upon a time, every church in Ecclesia could have arrived at a common meeting point without driving more than 3 or 4 hours. Today, the journey to a common meeting point would take days. As we start 2020, I am easily reminded of the tumultuous times that we find ourselves in as a culture. Even among some of the most innovative people I know, they are even surprised by the pace and degree of rapid change that is striking just about every fabric of our society.|
In discerning our theme this year we felt compelled to focus on the core task of the church and her leaders – cultivating a people who manifest the person, work, and power of Jesus Christ. Many, many things have changed throughout the centuries, but this core calling has not. Even more, it is a dedication to this core calling and a faithfulness to the Orthodoxy that accompanies it that has stood the test of time. It is also what is bearing fruit today, in spite of a culture (and sometimes a church) that is no longer easily aligned with this value.
“It was a time of encouragement and affirmation from like-minded pastors and leaders who love the church and are not interested in brand building but disciple making.”
– Eric Schwartz
Working with church leaders to develop new expressions of Christian community and connecting those congregations together is the passion of Chris’s life. He has served as National Director of Ecclesia since it’s beginning and has been part of several congregations within the network both in Virginia and Maryland. In addition to his role with Ecclesia, he also helps spearhead Fresh Expressions US and Missio Alliance.
Chris holds a D.Min. in Missional Church Leadership from Fuller Theological Seminary where his focus was on the importance of church networks for the future of mission in North America. He currently lives just north of Harrisburg, PA with his wife Rachel, daughter Elliana and son Jase.