The EFCA’s Eastern District Conference for 2017

Brief description of the Eastern District conference which took place at Faith Church in Allentown, Pennsylvania on October 10 and 11, 2017. This post is followed up with a couple of posts that does analysis of a couple of talks. 

“The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born-that there is a genetic factor to leadership. That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born. “

Warren Bennis 

God has now revealed to us his mysterious will regarding Christ—which is to fulfill his own good plan. 10 And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth.

Ephesians 1:9-10 NLT

From the Eastern District conference of 2015. 

One of the goals I have here at The Wondering Eagle is that since this blog researches and writes about the EFCA, it is my plan to review District Conferences as they happen. From Bob Rowley’s Texas and Oklahoma District to Neal Brower’s Western District. I believe the EFCA District Conferences can capture many of the issues in the denomination and also point to where its headed. Last year I had a conversation with an EFCA pastor out west who expressed his concerns about what he was seeing pop up into the local district conference. I still recall that talk and that is one of the reasons why I have decided to add this to the long term goal. Will I be able to do all 17 each and every year? No, I don’t have the manpower to do so. However there is a rich amount of material to look at and contemplate and write about. Its with that being said that I would like to start with the Eastern District conference which was just held at Faith Church in Allentown, Pennsylvania this past October 10 and 11, 2017. 


The Eastern District Promo Video with the invite from Eastern District Superintendent Eddie Cole 

This is going to be a brief post that is more of a summary of what took place at the Eastern District conference. On October 10, 2017 the afternoon session kicked off and was titled “We are Leaders.” The opening talk was by the Senior Pastor of Faith Church which was hosting the conference. Joe Henseler gave a talk about how leaders need leaders, and how pastors need to stay connected with other pastors. The next talk was by Josh Ott who is the lead pastor of Grace Free Church in Cressona, Pennsylvania. Josh spoke about connecting generations and about reaching across generational lines. After that talk concluded there was a breakout session that started a little later for EFCA pastors and personal to attend. Here is what was available. 

  • Clear, Caring, and Courageous Leadership – Joe Henseler (Senior Pastor, Faith Church): Effective tools to lead the church in an ever-changing world.
  • Effectively Leading Children’s Ministry – Faith Church Team: Ministry objectives, best practices and up-to-date resources for providing life-changing kids ministry.
  • Spanish Ministry Leadership – Carlos Belza (Director of EDA Hispanic Ministries): How to minister Gospel truth to the Spanish speaking neighbors God is sending our way.
  • The Evolving Role and Needs of Women in Ministry – A panel discussion with Becky Kompelien and EDA Ministry Leaders (both men and women) based on scriptural truth, a changing culture and the deep conviction that we can grow in how we minister to and with the women of the EFC.
  • EFCA Finance & Business Help (There’s more than you think!) – Paul Anderson (President of Christian Investors Foundation): Our EFCA ministry partners (CIF and FCMM) are here to help with some important foundational concerns, such as building campaigns or guiding financial principles, or with more routine needs like payroll, bookkeeping and retirement.
  • Student Ministry / Next Generation Leaders – David Boerema (EFCA / Apex Missionary): Come see how our EFCA leaders are constantly at work to help local church student ministries thrive in reaching and ministering to today’s youth.
  • Life on Mission – Mike Jarrel (Creo East Director/Pastor of Narrow Road Communities): Learn more about how to empower and equip your entire community to live on the mission of Jesus.

There was  a break to allow people to check into a hotel and then there was dinner at Faith Church in the evening. The evening session opened up by the Eastern District Superintendent Eddie Cole. The theme of the session is “We are Partners.” Eddie then gave a talk about the most effective way to lead people is through experience. The closing talk for the evening was by Michael Martin who led Oceanside Christian Fellowship in El Segundo, California. If you want to see a breakdown of EFCA West you can do so in this post that I did last year here. In listening to the talks it sounds as if Michael Martin has moved to Baltimore, Maryland. Michael Martin spoke about how while many do not believe they should see the Gospel’s impact in a pastor’s lives. It should also be pointed out that Greg Strand was one busy individual from credentialing to participating on the women’s panel. 

The following day October 11, 2017 the district conference kicked off in the morning. The theme for the talk is “We are United.” It started by Jessica Cole speaking about the church’s attitude toward women. Jessica Cole is the wife of the Eastern District Superintendent Eddie Cole. Jessica gave a talk about women in ministry and what women and do and how vital they are to the church.  EFCA President Kevin Kompelien spoke about the future of the EFCA and the vision that he has for the denomination. There was an EFCA panel discussion between national and district leaders. The breakout sessions we the same as the previous day with the exception of the women discussion which is called What Women Want.” 

  • What Women Want which will address topics such as:
    • How can we add the mission of building relationships with unchurched women to our busy schedules?   
    • How do we not ignore one generation while trying hard to reach the other? 
    • How can we encourage and strengthen one another?
    • What does the local church women’s ministry need that the district or national office could help with?