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Posts tagged with: Church

During my Elders Meeting today…Renner Family Transitions…

Over the last 5 years the Renner Fam has had some head spinning life transitions take place from Arizona to Florida and back to AZ again. These 5 years have given me the ability to encounter many different types of leaders, staff, church members, and leadership teams. It is astonishing to me how different each one of these experiences have been.
My most recent is my accepting the lead pastor role with CCFH = Christ’s Church of Fountain Hills. Earlier today, I sat in my 4th meeting with the CCFH Elders, and I am simply blown away at their love, camaraderie, and Kingdom mentality. As I post these thoughts, 7 hours after the meeting, I am still reeling with a heart that is full, and am so encouraged. This kind of team is what I’ve been looking for since the Parkway days.

I’m experienced enough to know it will not always be easy…but the foundation that the Founding Pastor, Don Lawrence has built over the last 32 years has created a church, a staff, and an Elder Board that is humble, hungry for Kingdom growth, and has strong spiritual, social, and emotional health. I ask for your prayers as this journey continues. If you don’t live in Fountain Hills…make the time someday to come out on a Sunday, visit CCFH, and say hello to me! If you live in FH, then it’s a no brainer, come to Church! ūüôā I’d love to see you and introduce you to an unbelievable Church called CCFH. I am grateful and will hit the hay tonight with a full heart.grateful

Leadership as a Spiritual Gift — vs — Leadership as a Verb


Leadership really seems to be a sensitive subject lately. I don’t know how it happened, but somewhere in the past decade, leadership and leaders have been under intense scrutiny. ¬†There are many characteristics that come to mind when someone says the word, leader. ¬†Is it just me, or in the past decade has something shifted in our culture that causes negative stereotypes¬†to intrude our brains the instant we¬†hear the word leader?

If you’d like to read a side post in regards to what are called the top 101 qualities of a leader, just click the picture below and enjoy

Screen Shot 2016-05-07 at 1.00.51 PM

My first sentence of this post¬†simply states that everybody leads. ¬†I think that most agree, leadership, in its truest definition, is simply influence. ¬†So, in that sense, we all lead because we all influence something or someone. ¬†With that, I want to bring about the fact that there is a difference between Leadership as a verb…which we all do, and Leadership as a Spiritual Gift, which¬†has been given to some and not to others. ¬†The Bible is clear about this in the letter to the Romans in chapter 12:3-8...

Many Gifts but One Body

3 For by the grace given to me, I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he should think. Instead, think sensibly, as God has distributed a measure of faith to each one. 4 Now as we have many parts in one body, and all the parts do not have the same function, 5 in the same way we who are many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another. 6 According to the grace given to us, we have different gifts:

If prophecy,
use it according to the standard of one’s[b] faith;
7 if service, in service;
if teaching, in teaching;
8 if exhorting, in exhortation;
giving, with generosity;
leading, with diligence; ¬†(“Whoomp, there it is!”) ūüôā¬†
showing mercy, with cheerfulness.

I’m writing¬†about this, because it has become personal to me.¬† By personal, I don’t mean in an offensive way, I mean in a way that has become personally obvious to me and has impacted me personally. ¬†Since the merge of Parkway Christian Church with Christ’s Church of the Valley in 2011, I have been trying to get back into a Lead Pastor position with a local Church, anywhere in the USA, for the past 5 years and I have encountered a tragic phenomena. ¬†I have encountered more than 30 different local churches across the country saying they are looking for their Church’s next leader/Lead Pastor to lead them into the next phases of their church life…and…as I have delved in with them, in regards to what they mean when they say LEADER, I have come to the conclusion that most¬†really don’t want a leader, but a shepherd, or a manager, or worst case scenario, a hired hand that simply does what he is told…but in its spiritual definition…they actually do not want a leader. ¬†They want a Leader as a Verb, but not a spiritually gifted leader. ¬†The first is safe, the second is risky and dangerous.

Bill Hybels spoke up recently about leadership and the Church…here is a poster of what he said…

Now, please do not misunderstand me.  I am not saying that people without the spiritual gift of leadership should not lead a church.  I am simply asking us all to consider the fact that a church lead by a Leader, gifted with the Romans 12:8 spiritual gift leadership, will be a very different church than one lead by a shepherd, Teacher, Evangelist, a manager, or any other gift mix.

It seems obvious that each gift type grows a different type of fruit, and, not always but most of the time, a different size of harvest. I think many people are afraid to talk about why some churches are smaller than others. ¬†If I could miraculously remove political correctness, insecurities, all sensitivities, and simply speak with impersonal facts…then the answer of why some churches reach mega amounts of people in a very short time, and others¬†stay under 200 for hundreds of years, are mostly simple.

Some answers are as simple as the population of the city the church is geographically located in. ¬†Other answers are found in a lack of strategy. ¬†Most answers, in my opinion, are simply found in the Leadership and how¬†he/she is spiritually gifted. ¬†(In this setting, it would be very easy to use the parable of the talents that Jesus teaches. ¬†Have we considered whether or not that¬†parable could have been titled, The parable of the spiritually gifted?” ¬† If you have time¬†for more reading…then read the¬†parable here and transpose¬†the word ‘talents‘ with ‘spiritual gifts‘ and see if it makes sense. (In fact…depending on the translation, some translations use¬†the word servants¬†instead of¬†the word talents.) ¬†Here is the passage… Matthew 25:14-30

A church that is lead by a group of Elders will have a certain kind and amount of results/harvest.

A church that is lead by a shepherding gifted leader is typically going to have a smaller, very loving, intimate result/harvest.

A church that is lead by a manager-type gifted pastor will have a unique, often corporate result/harvest.

A church that is lead by a group of 5-10 high financially giving members holding the power will have a specific end-result/harvest.

A church that is lead by a teaching-gifted pastor is going to have a specific result/harvest.

They are all different. ¬†Better or worse? ¬†That’s for the eye of the beholder and ultimately for God to decide.

One thing that is very clear…a Church that is lead by a Leader who has the Romans 12:8 gift of Leadership¬†is very obvious. Like it, love it, or hate it, that fact cannot be denied.

I think the passage below from Proverbs sums it up pretty well…think about it.

‚ÄúWithout oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest.‚ÄĚ ¬†Proverbs 14:4

Our culture, for some safety reason, is afraid of strong leadership. ¬†No doubt a strong leader will stir it up, break power controls, push us out of our comfort zones, and even sometimes make messes…but the fruit produced is tremendous.

Perry Noble said, “The size of the dream you have, is directly correlated with the amount of pain and suffering you are willing to endure.” ¬†Solomon was right…the stable might get dirty, but wow…what a reward.

I know that we can agree that the Church is living in interesting times and facing difficult circumstances.  If Bill Hybels is right in his statement above, then there are some serious decisions that need to be made in The Church. If you are currently looking for a Lead Pastor, does your church have the courage to allow a leader, with the spiritual gift of leadership, lead you?  If so, get ready to begin an unforgettable adventure with a huge harvest of fruit on the way.

March Madness! 7 Ways Basketball is like Life…

elite basketball

I love March Madness! ¬†I love the game of basketball, but you’ll rarely see me taking the time to watch any games unless it’s my kid’s games or it’s officially March Madness! ¬†March Madness is when the phrase “Game On!” truly incarnates into the 10 young men that step on the NCAA basketball floors all over the USA. ¬†It is the time of year when the Elite players gather in 5’s and live out other vital phrases such as, “Give it your all!” ‚ÄĒ “No Regrets!” ‚ÄĒ “No Retreat!” ‚ÄĒ “Bring it!” ‚ÄĒ “No do-overs!” ‚ÄĒ “Go Big or Go Home!” ‚ÄĒ “Do or Die!”.

With that…it seems Basketball and life have a lot of parallels. ¬†Here are 7. ¬†I’m sure there are more. ¬†If you have another one, write it in the comments section!

Here you go…7 things about March Madness Basketball that relate to real life…

1.  I play better relaxed. 

In life, when I’m frustrated, I live horribly. When relaxed I focus on wise and pro-active choices. When frustrated I tend to argue and fight and that just rarely ends in productivity.

2.  The measure between in-bounds and out-of-bounds is the difference between ASSERTIVE and AGGRESSIVE.

Assertive actions are focused on what is necessary towards what you want. Aggression clouds my focus and causes fouls from a heavy hand. Assertive behavior leads to goals achieved. Aggressive behavior causes pain and harm.

3.  Practice does = Permanent.

Work hard and smart because we all know it will be worth it. ¬†Find what works and repeat until it doesn’t work anymore. ¬†Practice…a lot.

4.  Good Self Esteem = Good Performance.  Performance does NOT = Self Esteem. 

5. ¬†It’s a TEAM game.¬†

You can’t win basketball or life on your own. ¬†Many Christians mistake the passage of Philippians 4:13 as a passage that means you can do everything on your own. ¬†“I can do all things through Christ who strengthen me.” ¬†Most people stop with that verse…but verse 14 says, “yet it was good of you to help me.” ¬†

There’s a lot of arguing going on about this in our culture from prominent people such as Barack Obama, Michael Jordan and others. ¬†Somebody told Michael Jordan that there is no “I” in team…His reply was, “But there is in “Win.” ¬†ūüôā ¬†Makes me smile, but it’s just not true. ¬†Some have discovered that there is actually an “i” found in the word “team.” ¬†See pic below to figure it out yourself.


My spiritual gift of immaturity causes me to laugh and shake my head at that pictorial proof that there is on occasion “i” in team.

6.  You have to score to win.

Basketball is like life because it is vital to set goals and be assertive in pursuing them. ¬†It is important to understand that great goal achievement in basketball is at between the 50% – 60% success rate. ¬†And…basketball is like life in the fact…The tougher the shot/goal the more satisfaction there is in attempting it and scoring it! Man…some goals can just make the crowd go crazy!!

7. ¬†You cannot hold on to your mistakes for long…

So…you gave the ball away. ¬†You missed a crucial shot. ¬†You tripped and looked silly in the moment. ¬†LET IT GO! ¬†The game of basketball and life is fast. ¬†It moves on with or without you. ¬†Dropping our heads to pout will only be another error. ¬†The best players in the world miss 50% of their 2 pointers and nearly 70% of their 3 pointers.

Philippians 3:13 says, “But one thing I do…forget (let it go) the past and strain (assertive) to what lies ahead.” ¬†


Basketball and Life do have a lot of similarities. ¬†There are others…I’ll leave it up to you to add them to the comments section if you’d like. ¬†We could brainstorm many other parallels with basketball and life… Boundaries. Refs. Coaches. Racing the Clock. Strategic plays. Momentum. There’s always a crowd watching. Retaliators get called for the foul. Locker Room talk. Having the right shoes. Dunking! Having the right players on the team. ¬†Making the Cut. Rest and Recovery. Shirts and Skins…etc. etc.

Let’s get our game on!


In search of a Church where i can best use my strengths…my wish list…

I am in search of a Church that will allow me to lead them in honoring God’s will.

I have a Wish List…If the Church isn’t committed to the point of writing this wish list as its upmost importance, then I must decline leadership in it. ¬†I do not want to just LEAD¬†in it…I want to incarnate it and vice versa.

The Wish List…wishlist

I want my family to be a part of a Church Body that...

1. ¬†…is fully committed to the acknowledgment that there is no difference in our spiritual and secular lives 7 days a week.

2. ¬†…doesn’t rely on a church building, me, or the people up front to be the primary source of growth.

3. ¬†…will disagree well, because our common enemy is the devil, not each other.

4. ¬†…is devoted¬†to the restoration of people who are hungry, thirsty, lonely, or have shattered lives.

5. ¬†…will agree that the Lord is worthy of excellence¬†and only the excellent¬†will be used in public¬†worship gatherings.

6. ¬†…has an aggressive pursuit of Health, Growth, and Love, founded in the Teachings and Commandments of Jesus Christ.

Bonus items…

Will no longer have the Lord’s Supper be a short pause with a little cracker and cup of juice during a worship service, but will meet once a week in homes¬†and have a full supper together. ¬†The Supper is a focused¬†appreciation of¬†common fellowship, Bible Application, prayer, and focus on¬†the Lord’s body and blood.

Every member will be committed to baptizing at least one person a year with whom they have built a trusting and loving relationship with.

Every member will meet regularly with 2 other friends for accountability and prayer.

There is a Church that exists with this focus¬†out there, and they are looking for a leader like me to join¬†them…I just know it. ¬†If not…I’m going to start a brand new one.

Truth and Nonfiction versions of the Church…

The title seems redundant. It is not.

Truth is purely what Jesus says. Non-fiction simply means facts of a reality. nonfiction

My intention here is to simply describe the Church from Truth’s design, and pray that we all measure our reality, and reset our targets accordingly.

Here goes…

It doesn’t matter if you are The Lord Jesus, the Lead Pastor, an Elder, a Nursery Care Volunteer, or the Wednesday Night Janitor, your¬†mindset in the Church is the same because everyone knows they must rely on one another. ¬†This united mindset is that the whole body of Christ experiences operational excellence and consistent holiness effort with minimal error. Whether it’s preparing a message to preach, a song-set to be led, a¬†business CEO strategically planning around the staff meeting table, a¬†man sitting in his living room at home by himself with his computer, or the three ladies meeting for tea and coffee to talk…they all, always,¬†strive for holiness and excellence, and rely on the entire body to do the same. ¬†It is in every tribe, every nation, every tongue, and every household. ¬†You do right for yourself, but more importantly, you do right for your fellow body members, and most importantly for The Lord and Savior. ¬†It is in our blood and in our brains, and it takes all our brawn to live it minute by minute, day after day, until Jesus arrives to gather this united group¬†and restore us all¬†on a fully remade¬†Heaven and Earth…simply called Heaven.

Thy Kingdom come on earth…as it is in Heaven.