So says well-known consultant and author Gil Rendle who sees many congregations suffer because they put relationships over purpose.
As we all know, the main reason for the church’s existence is God’s mission – a conviction many congregations need to recover. In this interview Gil says the work is hard, but there’s hope.
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State churches never have to worry about identity and purpose. And while the U.S. has never had a formal established church, Mainline Protestantism was the de facto. So what happens when the established church is no longer the established church? A lot of catch up, and a lot of inovation. In fact, Gil Rendle says he’s never seen more energy in the Church than he does today. Here are my notes:
Talk About Purpose
We’re much more apt to talk about our resources – mowing the lawn, caring for the stained glass – than we are about our purpose: what are we doing here? Maybe we assume everyone knows, but they don’t.
Gil says leaders today need to take the brave steps of asking and sitting with the hard questions. Admitting that there are no easy answers, and perhaps no answers at all, is truly difficult. We will make mistakes, but even when we’re stumbling we’re still moving forward.
Appropriate and Collaborative
These are the two general themes of leadership today – figuring out what is appropriate in one’s context and how the work is shared. Study your context and share the load.
About Gil Rendle
Gil Rendle serves as Senior Consultant with The Institute for Clergy and Congregational Excellence of The Texas Methodist Foundation in Austin, Texas and as an independent consultant working with issues of change and leadership in denominations and large churches. Prior to this position he served the Alban Institute as an author, seminar leader and senior consultant for twelve years. An ordained United Methodist minister, Gil served as senior pastor of two urban congregations in Pennsylvania for sixteen years and as a denominational consultant for The United Methodist Church for nine years. Gil graduated from Franklin and Marshall College in Pennsylvania, did his seminary training at Boston University School of Theology and earned a Ph.D. in Psychoeducational Processes from Temple University in Philadelphia. Gil has led numerous large and small groups in practical learning that directly impact participants’ decisions and practice in their leadership roles. He is the author of five books, a contributor to four books, and the author of numerous articles and monographs. He is a resident of Pennsylvania where he lives with his wife, Lynne.