Leadership Insight from Gil Rendle

5/28/2015

The United Methodist Church is in the process of being reshaped, which gives clergy and lay leaders an extraordinary opportunity to take the denomination to a new level.
 
When Gil Rendle, Senior Vice President with the Texas Methodist Foundation in Austin, speaks…delegates and attendees at the 2015 Annual Conference in Houston listen. Gil, who previously served as a senior consultant with the Alban Institute, and as senior pastor of two urban congregations in Pennsylvania, knows a great deal about church revitalization and he’s more than willing to share it.
 
He obtained a B.A. from Franklin & Marshall College, Th.M. from Boston University School of Theology and Ph.D. from Temple University School of Education. Gil has authored a dozen books and many articles and blogs. He was ordained as an elder in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference in 1973.
 
As this year’s keynote speaker, Gil shared thoughts and insight from several of his books including, Journey in the Wilderness: New Life for Mainline Churches.
 
Keynote: “Where Are We In The Wilderness?
“It is in the wilderness that God has always reshaped people for faithfulness,” Gil reminded conference attendees. “The culture and new generations have changed the mission field around our congregations so that we are now in our own wilderness. The UMC has been on a wilderness journey for 50 years - and we are being reshaped.” The challenge he issued: for churches to ask themselves if whether improving the church that we know is enough.
 
Workshop:  “Discipleship - From Aspirations to Outcomes”
While the clergy was electing delegates on Monday night and while the laity were electing delegates on Tuesday, Dr. Rindle presented a workshop for the non-electing group.  Each session was highly interactive. Participants were asked to respond to several soul searching questions such as, who they are individually and who they are as a church.  They were also so asked to consider why they are a church.
 

One of the significant issues facing many congregations,” he shared, “is whether we actually believe that an encounter with Christ should make a difference in our lives and our communities. Congregational identity hinges on a clear understanding of identity and purpose because what attracts people to your church is knowing who you are and what you do.” Gil shared new ways to shape these congregations through conversations of discernment and purpose that can bring new life. See the keynote presentations online