News from the Annual Meeting
Feb 5, 2020

Dear Church Family,

This past Sunday we held our annual meeting to reflect on where we have seen God at work in 2019 and to talk about where God is leading us in 2020 and beyond. At the meeting, elders shared that we believe we need to do four things for us to clarify our identity and direction as a church community:

  1. We need to reframe our mission.
  2. We need to recast vision.
  3. We need to rearticulate our values.
  4. We need to change our church name.

For those of you who were not able to attend the meeting, I'd like to unpack how we prayerfully came to that decision.

Last July the elders began engaging in active listening so that we could better understand who we are and where we want to go as a church family. We listened to over 60 people to gather stories and comments. From those conversations, we generated a narrative of our current shared reality. In November we gathered with over 40 people from our community to process the narrative and get more feedback.

Since November, the elders have been working to name our deep longings as a community and to identify several high-level priorities that can help us move towards our deep longings. The deep longings we identified are as follows: to have deeper roots in the Trinitarian Christian faith, stronger bonds of connection with one another, and to actively engage in compassion and justice locally and globally. If you came to the group listening night I'm sure those three deep longings are not a surprise to you.

As we reflected on our deep longings in light of the listening process, it became evident that our primary priority must be clarifying our identity as a community. The elders believe the best way for us to do this is to reframe our mission, recast our vision, rearticulate our values, and change the name of our church.

If you recall, originally Ecclesia Clear Lake was an extension of a church called Ecclesia near downtown Houston. We shared our 501c3 status, had the same books, and Ecclesia Main helped provide executive leadership.

Early in the partnership, it became clear that we were a different body and we would thrive more if we completely separated as organizations. Within the first year or two, we formed our own 501c3 and we started keeping our own books. However, we kept the name and we kept the logo.

There have been many changes over the years. We have had several locations, we purchased a building, and we have had three lead pastors. I believe the thing that has remained constant is the heart of the church. From the very beginning, we wanted to be a church in the Bay Area that embodied the Gospel in real and tangible ways. We wanted to embody the Gospel in a way that was good news for ALL people, not just people who looked like us. In fact, this is what drew me to come and be your pastor.

Ultimately, revamping the mission, vision, values, and changing the name is an effort to better describe who we are and who we have always wanted to be as a community. We think this will help us clarify our identity, strengthen our church community, and increase our impact in our neighborhood.

At this time, the elders have not yet decided on a name. We wanted to inform you early so you could adjust and provide feedback. While I cannot give an exact timeline I do not think it will take long. Give us a few months to continue listening to you and to the Holy Spirit.

There are three things that are at the forefront of my mind as I guide the elders through the process of prayerfully determining our new name.

  1. I want the name to have a clear connection to who we are and what we believe. In other words, when people read the name I want them to have a sense of who we are and a clearer understanding of who God is.
  2. I want the name to be timeless. I don’t want it to be connected to the latest church trend.
  3. I want to make sure that the name can easily be understood in a multicultural and multilingual context. This is important as we continue to seek to learn how to best engage our diverse community.

Again, please reach out to any of the elders if you would like to talk more about this decision. The conversation is important to us.

As I shared in the annual meeting, it’s such an honor and joy to be your pastor. For many years I prayed to be a part of a church community in SE Houston with people like you. Thank you for loving me and my family so well. There is no other place we’d rather be right now than with you, learning how to embody the great commission and the great commandment as a church family.

Pastor Coby Cagle