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Posts tagged with: Jesus

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


PERKS OF AGING…answering mom’s challenge…

Yesterday was my birthday. 46.

Facebook proved to be an amazing tool on my birthday.  I posted today that I received “Happy Birthday!” wishes from Indonesia, Peru, Uganda, Liberia, New Zealand, Israel, Canada, Florida, California, Kansas, Texas, Alabama, New Mexico, and good ol AZ…someone commented quickly and said, “and now from Idaho too!”  The world has definitely gotten smaller…its pretty easy to contact people all over the world!

I ended my Facebook post today with,… “BTW, getting older has its perks!”… My mom responded with,

“What perks does getting older have? List them for all of us.“– Mom

Alright mom…here are many…but not all.

A perk to getting older…agingwine

…is it becomes clearer each day that Heaven is real, the Bible is true and God loves us more than we’ll ever know.

…is we appreciate the laughter of child a bit more than when we were young.

…is we have a deeper appreciation for when somebody experiences positive life change.

…is we now understand that life isn’t going to serve us like we wish it would. In fact we realize that life doesn’t think about us, fulfill us, or give us success…it must be earned and is never guaranteed.

…is we have a better understanding that if we do earn success, it can be gone tomorrow, so we appreciate success a little deeper. A side perk of getting older…we have learned that success doesn’t guarantee happiness.

…is that we realize happiness is never an entitlement.

…is we know for a fact that stuff will never make us happy, but we understand that we will be tempted to think so.

…is, Every year we live, we realize it will go by faster.  The perk…is we are better at slowing down and enjoying each moment a little longer.

…is we know we will never be free from temptation and we have learned to not pray for protection as much as for strength to resist it.

…is we have learned the hard truth that most people in our life will hurt us, but we know we don’t have to hurt back…and no matter what happens, we have learned that bitterness and un-forgiveness are actually worse for us than what the people did to us.

…is the knowledge that forgiveness is mostly for my personal benefit.

…is we have learned that it’s good to care about what people think, but we know better than to allow it to influence our self esteem.

cheese-shelf4…is we have learned that God uses pain to refine us. If we don’t like that fact, we have learned that it won’t do any good to get mad at God about it.

 

…is we have learned that we are going to hurt people. But we don’t ever want to do it on purpose, ever.

 

 

…is we have learned that“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”… is true, they really are just words.

…is we have learned that Hurt people….hurt people. So…when someone hurts us, we have learned to think about what has hurt them that causes them to now hurt us, and it helps us have more compassion and ability to forgive.

…is we have learned that promoting the progress and purpose of others…is truly the good life.

…is we have learned that a majority of people will never win the lottery, or have 15 minutes of fame…and we know for a fact that anything worth having, never come easy.

…is we have learned that If something is worth doing, it is worth doing…even poorly.

…is we know our spouse knows us better than everybody, except God. Listen to them unless they tell us something different than God tells us.

…is we have learned that a secret is the beginning of sin taking over our lives.cropped-happy-old-people

…is we know it is good to Speak the truth even if it makes our voice shake.

…is we know that we will never feel like forgiving someone who hurt us, but we should forgive anyway and often if necessary.

…is we have learned that it is a mental health requirement to have a sense of humor about ourselves because the more we laugh at ourselves, the lighter life can be.

…is we have learned that we all are idiots, just in different areas, se we are getting better at not pointing fingers.

…is we know with confidence that we can’t control anything.

…is our knees/ankles/hips/whole body….hurts because we have lived a full and adventurous life that has worn us down.

…is we know…there’s not much we’d change if we could do it all over again…but the things we would change…would make all the difference!

…is we fully understand that just because someone has aged, it doesn’t mean they have these perks.

…is we fully agree that youth is wasted on the young. 🙂

There are so many more…go ahead, add some in the comments section.

I love growing older and I pray that I am fortunate enough that I will have lived my life to a ripe old age, in such a way, that people will want to care for me when I can’t care for myself.

5-myths-of-hospice-care_0


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! 🙂 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

EVERYBODY LEADS…

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

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. Now as we have many parts in one body, and all the parts do not have the same function, in the same way we who are many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another. According to the grace given to us, we have different gifts:

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

“Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest.”  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.


A Warning To My Enemies…

To those who have been in my way for so long…you are my enemy!  You have tried to block me, stop me, haunt me, taunt me, belittle me, embarrass me, and forget about me.

It is not working.  It will not work.  May the lyrics of the song “I Want It” by my fav band, Blue October, teach you why you have failed…and any further attempts from you, my enemy, will never succeed!

To all of you in the way
I push you aside
Flames burn down together
I refuse to ignite
I won’t walk away (that is not in me)
I’m here to stay

So I raise my hand in grace
Pray for the ones I wish I could erase
Cause we are who we are and we’ll be who we’ll be
Live for the moment and the mystery of everybody owns a scar
To show us how we got this far
Cause we are who we are and we’ll be who we’ll be
Don’t ever think you’ll take away the fight in me

I want it…
I want it more then you ever did…

Here’s to starting over
I heard you’re shutting down shop
Boy I’m taking it over
I’m never gonna stop
Here’s to the ones who said that you couldn’t win
Here’s to the crazies getting under your skin
They’re always gonna talk
But I’m never gonna stop
I won’t walk away
(I want it, crave it, bottle up and save it)
I’m here to stay
(I want it, crave it, I won’t behave I’ll turn it up more)

So I raise my hand in grace
Pray for the ones I wish I could erase
Cause we are who we are and we’ll be who we’ll be
Live for the moment and the mystery of everybody owns a scar
To show us how we got this far
Cause we are who we are and we’ll be who we’ll be
Don’t ever think you’ll take away the fight in me

I want it…
I want it more then you ever did…

In case you are wondering who my enemy is…let the Holy Word of God make it clear…know-your-enemy3

12 “For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.”  Ephesians 6:12

To the reader of this short blog.  Your enemies are not people! There is one thing I am positive about.  Every one of us are fighting a battle. Please make sure you are not confused as to who the real enemy is.  Kick your enemy’s butt, by wanting “it” more. Jesus is THE ultimate “IT” factor!! The devil is defeated by the power and blood of the Lord and Savior Jesus, the Christ!  If Jesus lives in you…then welcome the scars…He has them too.  They make us better.  They create the story that inspires the life change in others.  Fight the good fight…never give up.

If you need to go further and read more from the Word of God, then click these passages below for further battle prep…

Ephesians 6:10-17

Romans 8:31-39

Philippians 3:12-21

Philippians 1:21

If you have other Bible passages that encourage you and strengthen you, then please add them to the comments section so that others may benefit from them too.


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