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Posts tagged with: elders

We are all stubborn.

Its only good to be stubborn when you are right.  If you are stubborn and wrong, it can be dangerous.  Especially if it deals with spiritual right and wrong…as that kind of stubbornness is eternal.

Are you currently being stubborn and continually finding yourself in the middle of conflict?  If so, it is usually because of only two possibilities.

When two visions are stubbornly in conflict and one is right and one is wrong…then it should be easy to correct this problem…the one that is wrong needs to be asked to change or leave. 

The greater challenge is when two people/groups, who are both right, are being stubborn about something.  The most common way this happens is when two individuals or groups have “right” visions for the future, but they can’t get unity on just one.  Usually one of the right ways is simply not right timing anymore.  (When people say, “That’s how we’ve always done it,” they are right in how they used to do it, but it is no longer good timing to do it that ‘right way’ anymore.)  Two right ways stuck in disagreement are always a great challenge.

What do you do now?  Who gives in?

It depends who the leader is, and the vision that leader has brought to the table.  Leadership matters.  Leadership is influence.  Is the leader you are being stubborn towards higher in position than you in the hierarchy of the institution?  (Please don’t tell me that you work in a non-hierarchical atmosphere)  If you say that…you’re not only stubborn, but naive too.  The buck always stops somewhere.  If the buck stops with you, and you still aren’t moving forward, then that’s another blog about courage for another time.

Organizations / Churches / families / businesses / individuals, get stuck when, ((‘Who is the leader?’)) can’t be answered with unity.

Where does the buck stop?  (This question is a huge problem with too many people/orgs) If you are not the leader and can’t entrust the leader with the ‘buck-stops here’ and the vision…then you have to move on…get your roots out of the way…or you’ll derail the whole thing.  Why would you want to derail the direction, mission, vision of something good?  Pride, Jealousy, Greed, Arrogance, Anger, did I miss one?

Obstacles remain obstacles because of the lack of courage in the highest leader.  The whole vision will remain stuck if the leader doesn’t know how to courageously remove the tree growing in the middle of the tracks.

Be careful with stubbornness.

We stubborn people need to deliberately have our roots grow down deep.  May we, in our lifetime become towering trees with deep and healthy roots. And may we be intelligently stubborn with where we choose for those roots to grow.

Here’s where your roots should thrive…

“Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 21 Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.”  Ephesians 3:17-21

If you are encountering ‘trees’ with deep roots continually blocking your path, contact me, and we can talk through some godly strategy and wisdom about the business of tree removal.  I’ve experienced it multiple times, and each time I handle it, it gets a little bit better.  Not easier.  Better.

 


What kind of Church are you a part of?

Getting back into the Senior Leadership of a Church has been thrilling.  It is definitely my strength and sweet spot that God designed and called me to do. I love Church world. The good, the bad and the ugly. It makes for an intriguingly interesting life!

I love how The Church around the world comes in many forms and persuasions.  The only thing required to be The Church is obedience to Jesus.

My wife Kelli and I were fortunate years back to be invited into what is called the Mega-Church pastor’s annual conference, where senior leaders of about 60-100 churches all averaging above 1000 in attendance met around round tables to talk Church World stuff.  When Kelli and I attended our first one, we both confess to this day, that we had expectations of what all these Pastors would look and sound like.  We expected them all to look and sound alike.  The reality is that we couldn’t have been further from the truth. These Pastors and spouses were extreme in their differences.  We were both very excited and enlightened that God uses all kinds of people to reach all kinds of people. (duh!)  The local Church is awesome…when it is healthy.  The local Church is disastrous when it is sick.

I was thinking, that albeit the leaders in different churches are all different, the Church itself, when it comes to actual Church Health…has only a few types to choose from.  I think there are 3 typical types of Churches in the world.  By types, I mean, how they are led.  Leadership is everything!  The 3 major kinds of Churches are noted below with my incredible artistic abilities. LOL

Please know…I’m not being dogmatic about this.  I’m open to other types.  Share them with me, and I’ll express them in more fantastic art!   I agree that anomalies exist.  I hate putting God in compartmentalized boxes. (I’m not putting God in a box.  I’m pointing out Churches that are stuck in boxes)

The three diagrams below are considered very typical and are prevalent Churches in the world.  One of the mentalities below is a very healthy Church.  (Note I didn’t say, perfect.)  There is no such thing.  But in the 3 types of Churches…the Staff-Led Church (Pic 3) is by far…BY FAR…the healthiest.  The Pastor as CEO mentality (pic 2) has a lot of health, but also a lot of sickness.  The typical Elder-Led mentality(Pic 1) is overtly sick with small elements of health trying to overpower the sickness.

My point of all this today…  Hierarchies in the Church World do not work in a world that is cursed with sin.  Jesus crushes heirarchy mentalities, because He is at the top of all heirarchies and he washes the feet of his enemy and demands the last shall be first and the top shall be bottom. (I suppose the truth is that…Jesus doesn’t crush hierarchies…He just leaves them.)   So…if your Church is a hierarchy…it is extremely sick.  I suggest pic 3 below as your church of choice.  If you are in a church that is pic 1 or 2… I’m sorry.  Good luck changing it.  You might have to, instead, move to a healthy church instead of change the one you are in.  Insert something here about old dogs and tricks.  Not impossible…but nearly.   I repeat. Heirarchy Churches are sick and they need a serious long term visit from the one who is nicknamed, The Great Physician.  That’s not Dr Oz.  It’s Jesus. 🙂  I’m so grateful to be in a Staff-Led, Elder protected Church.  Boom!  It is incredible!  I freaking love it.

I could break these down and make an entire book out of them.  But…this is all you get today.  Pick which Church you are in.  Decide what you are going to do about it.  Contribute to these thoughts in the comments section.  I’m sure there are a few other styles, but they are very rare.  Below is that fabulous art I promised above…The 3 most typical types of Churches are….

Pic 1 

Pic 2

Pic 3


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.
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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! 🙂 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


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.


A New Renner Life Change is about to Release!!

2011 will forever be an unforgettable year for the Renner family.  Parkway Christian Church had just gone through a merge with Christ’s Church of the Valley and for the first time, the two churches became one Church with 2 locations.

My intent here is not to aggravate old scars, but the merge didn’t go so well.  Its doing fine now. Life moves on.  After 8 months into the merge, it became clear that I had to do something drastic.  It didn’t make sense then, but knowing what I know now…almost 5 years later…it was very necessary for layers of reasons.  (Someday I will write about the necessary reasons…it’ll make a great book, but I think it will have to wait for 20 years or so before it’s written.  Many details and reasons are still unfolding…If I had to write it now, I’d title it, “The God of Founders, Hoarders, and Shepherds”. (Please purchase this book in 2036-ish 🙂 LOL

So back to the date…On August 12, 2011…I was challenged by Bill Hybels, the keynote speaker at the Willow Creek Leadership Summit, to write whatever I wanted on a broken shard of clay pot I had chosen from a pile in the auditorium.  The pics below will show the shard, including the infamous date and what I wrote.  As I wrote it, I cried.  I meant what I wrote, and God held me to it.  The pics below show both sides of the clay pot shard…

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“WHATEVER YOU WANT. I WILL NOT BACK OFF.  I WILL NOT HOLD ANYTHING BACK FROM YOU.”

Knowing what I know now…those are very dangerous words in the hands of a God who is more interested in our character than He is our comfort.  I warn you to be careful about what pledges you lay down at the feet of the one who created the Sun, Moon, and Stars.

And so it began.  A move to Florida.  Another move within Florida.  A move back to AZ.  A move within AZ…twice.  Someday I will share the intriguing details of encountering founders, hoarders and shepherds, but for now…the story is just about at its climax and the dramatic ending is about to unfold!

This blog isn’t intended to retell the current motion picture that is about to conclude, but is more like a rough draft of the opening scene of the sequel!

Its about to happen.  I don’t know the timeline…but the Lord does.

So much has happened in the past nearly 5 years, and so many people got stuck in asking why it all happened.  Too many people drown in the question of, “why?”  I’ve taught for 25 years, that asking WHY is the wrong question.  Asking WHAT NOW is the right question.   I’m shocked at how some think that my not being in a leadership position within a church for a couple years is very odd.  Its not odd if you look to the Word of God for similar examples.  The following are four.  There are others too.

King David…after being anointed King of Israel, didn’t positionally lead until about 15 years later.

Joshua… When he was 17,  was sold into slavery by his own brothers, and it wasn’t until 13 years later that he finally got his “stride” back.

The Apostle Paul, according to what he wrote in 1 Thessalonians 2:18, was blocked by Satan from being able to continue the work of Jesus for a time.

Jesus… had a pretty good position from Heaven, and then was commanded by His father to leave His comfort zone to take a 33 year detour that left Him for dead.  The story ended well, but we only know that from 20/20 hindsight.

So…the Renner Family 5 year saga…has purpose that is still unfolding.  I’m just writing now to ask you, my friend, to pray for me and my family.

A new beginning is about to happen.  The sequel to this current movie!   I’m so convinced of this that I just purchased a brand new leather journal. (See Pic Below)  It has gold edged pages…it’s new…it’s fresh…it’s excitement yet to be written.   The sequel is about to begin!

Renner Journals

I still have my old journal, the one I’ve been using to write this current feature film…  It’s falling apart and loaded with incredible story, timelines, learnings, founders, hoarders, shepherds, lions-tigers-and-bears…Oh My!  I will continue to write in the old one until it becomes clear the current movie has ended.

I can’t wait to break open the new Journal and begin writing on the crisp pages that thirst for pencil and ink.

The trailer of the new sequel is this.

I am going to be a Lead Pastor again. The where is being wrestled with right now.  If it can’t be in a current Church that is prepared to let go of control and move forward to do whatever is necessary to reach people far from God, then I’ll plant another brand new, fresh, and flexible one. This trailer teases of  a story with incredible life change, spiritual influence, church growth, and… if God wills, a movie about the next 20 years of the Renner Family’s life.  The main characters don’t change.  They are a wonderful trio…The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  We Renner’s just have supporting roles in this movie, and with that we hope to win some rewards that make the Oscars seem so temporal.

Stay tuned…


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