Many have asked me, “What is this thing you call ECHO?” Or they come up and say, “I hear you guys don’t talk about God, Jesus and the Bible.” Of course, we’ve already been accused of being a cult. That last one made me think a lot about who we are and what we do. If you ask my wife that is a constant in my mind.
ECHO is a very fluid and relational approach to connecting with people where they are in life. It isn’t any different than anything a church does when it comes to meeting people where they are in life. We launch ECHO from the local coffee shop (mountain mudd) and it seems to be working. As I ponder where we’ve been, where we are and where we are headed I can say it is time to squelch any thoughts or ideas of heresy.
To the claim that we “don’t talk about God, Jesus and the Bible” there is no truth to that at all, and I really don’t have to defend it. Interestingly enough many think we just sit around and talk philosophy from a worldly perspective. In essence we do talk a lot about philosophy, life and issues, but from the perspective that God’s Word is Truth and all philosophy must be tested according to the standard of God’s Truth. I’m not sure why, but some Christian leaders seem to shy away from the idea of talking philosophically. It is healthy for the soul and mind, and fuel for spiritual conversation. There is this mentality that we need to speak to people’s sin directly instead of approaching the person where he/she is and understanding their situation. We need to make sure we have the right to deal with their sin, and that is done through trust.
At ECHO we view things glocally (globally and locally) and we understand that our little worlds (myspace, facebook, wordpress, etc.) are connected globally through the Internet. There are a ton of philosophical and religious streams of thought that can be tapped in an instant through the Web. As believers we have to do our part and stay educated so we might understand the worldview of religion and Christ, to include the diverse perspectives of faith and truth. The leaders of ECHO have made sure that we are always accountable to God, the Word and each other. I am personally accountable to my wife, ECHO leaders, close friends and my pastor…and let’s not forget God. Keep in mind, philosophy is not a bad thing. The greatest philosophers have come from Christian origins…Christ, King Solomon, King David, the Apostle Paul, Blaise Pascal, Søren Kierkegaard, Francis Schaffer, Martin Luther King, Jr., Bono and so on.
As far as ECHO being a cult. Hmmm… If that were true we would meet in secret places and exclusively coerce people to join us by offering them some false hope for the future that would come through their complete submission to a leader’s deceptive authority. Then again the First Church was said to have been a cult movement that to this day has turned the world on its ear. We are not a cult. Actually, we are a very unorthodox church plant of Alsbury Baptist Church…a seedling still trying to emerge through the shell of doubt, fear and religion. The cult of ECHO is the “culture” we are connecting with on a daily basis at the coffee shop, dry cleaners, laundry mat, gas station, grocery store, church, work, or sporting event. ECHO is not about a structure, but more so about an organic, missional and relational life connected through the idea that there is more to life than “going to church.” Like many authentic church bodies, we want to be a vital part of our communities. We do this as a result of our desire to connect with those who have been rejected, broken hearted, marginalized and burned by religious and societal thought, and action.
So, what is ECHO? It is what you need it to be for the situation you are in, or the issue you are facing, but do know that we will always guide you to the Truth…that truth being Jesus Christ. He knows our situations, issues and pains to the nth degree. I don’t know of anyone else who could help like he can and will.
More stuff to come later about the foreign exchange students impacted by ECHO.
belong. believe. become.