touch·stone | noun | a piece of fine-grained dark schist or jasper formerly used for testing alloys of gold by observing the color of the mark which they made on it.
- a standard or criterion by which something is judged or recognized
- a fundamental or quintessential part or feature
In 2019, a group of people from ECC, including the pastors, directors, and ministry planning team, began a process of discernment to better define and communicate our core identity. We understood our core mission statement, “to know God, follow Jesus, and pursue God’s purposes in the world”, however, the goal was to name ways we would live out our mission.
Through this process, we identified three concepts that are core to ECC of Lafayette, three words that provide direction for everything we do. They are Welcome, Transformation, and Presence.
- WELCOME: We are a place of hospitality, grace, and community for all people. We firmly believe that we are called to be a place of welcome, to offer hospitality, grace, and community for all people. We believe this because of the examples we see in God and Jesus. (Luke 9:10-11, Galatians 6:10) Because God is hospitable and Jesus lifts hospitality up as a key virtue, we practice hospitality towards all people, wherever they may be on their journey of faith, and however and wherever they may cross our paths.
- TRANSFORMATION: We provide resources and relationships for the journey from curiosity to Christoformity (having the character of Christ formed in us). We acknowledge that transformation is important because God desires that Christ be formed in us (Galatians 4:19) and that we be “conformed to the image of Christ” (Romans 8:29). Because God desires that Christ is formed within us and Jesus teaches us a new way of life, we seek to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in helping one another follow Him on our journey toward Christoformity.
- PRESENCE: We are sent into the world as agents of change and redemption. Because God is a sending God (John 20:21), and because He has empowered us with the gift of his Holy Spirit, we seek to engage our relationships and world by being and bringing the good news of Christ Jesus wherever we are. The Apostle Paul reminds us by his example that wherever we go, we go as Christ’s ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:30). We who have been reconciled to God live out and proclaim the message of reconciliation. As we are transformed by the Spirit of God, we become agents of transformation in our church, homes, neighborhoods, schools, and places of work.
We refer to these as our ECC Touchstones. We seek to have everything we do in ministry here at ECC and in our community support and live out these values. For the next three Sundays, we will be preaching through each of the ECC Touchstones to help keep us accountable to who we are and what God has called us to be here in Lafayette, Indiana.