This week’s eNewsletter Feature
was written by Rev. Amanda Golbek,
FPCE minister of children & youth.

Dear friends –

Every era of culture has had certain buzzwords develop as a framework for the important cultural trends of the times. These words and phrases start out by popping up in a variety of niche areas until little by little they become part of common speech. Typically, they eventually disappear from usage as a new set of words and phrases make their way into the forefront of the cultural lexicon.

These “buzzwords” often appear because of the culture having experienced a new frontier socially or technologically. Think about how words like “Zoom”, “stream”, and “Influencer” have risen to the top of everyday conversation since the onset of the COVID pandemic and its impact on online meetings and events. Or consider the impact of social media providers–like Instagram, Facebook, or TikTok–on consumerism and advertising. We have seen the business world develop overused terms like “quiet quitting” and the “great resignation”.

The church world is not exempt from turning to buzzwords to orient and articulate itself in the context of changing times. The term “siloed” ministry has become popular (even for us here at FPCE) as it addresses the compartmentalized method of organizing and managing ministry that was widely popular over the last few decades. Recently, as I have been talking with colleagues and completing coursework for my Doctor of Ministry through Fuller Seminary, the word that has made its way into the common parlance of ministry is “ecosystem”.

Personally, I am not a huge fan of buzzwords as they seem heavily attached to passing fads. However, reflecting on ministry through the model of an ecosystem helps us to understand the work we are called into in these times, both individually and as the Body of Christ.

An ecosystem is a living network of various subsystems that can be greatly impacted by a shift in any one area of the network. Think, for example, about an ecosystem where the predator/prey relationship becomes imbalanced. If that imbalance is great enough, this can lead to the extinction of a particular species.

In the church, similar relationships exist among all the ministries. Each ministry can be thought of as its own subsystem. These ministries are not in competition with one another; they are interdependent and benefit from one another as they coexist. They change and adapt over time and reflect the spiritual gifts God has distributed through the church. To build the Kingdom of God in a healthy manner through the power of the Holy Spirit, we need to maintain a balance and value the different gifts of one another. Often, we can be so focused on the area of ministry that interests us or we are connected to most directly that we can ignore the significance of and need for the other areas of ministry making up the ecosystem of the church.

As you continue connecting with the ministries of FPCE, take time to consider how God is calling you (and all of us) to find balance and health in all areas of ministry.

I hope you will join us this Sunday as your individual presence is an integral part of the ecosystem of the ministry of First Pres. We will welcome back Rev. Mike Miller as guest preacher, as he shares a message on Isaiah 40 titled “Power in Waiting”.

If you think of it, say a prayer for those of us who will be attending Family Camp this weekend and for those taking part in Pilgrimage Renewal Weekend.

Praising God for his many good gifts,

Rev. Amanda Golbek
FPCE Minister of Children & Youth