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Ed Brenegar
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
I am a Leader for Leaders, inspiring leadership initiative to create impact that makes a difference that matters.
Interests: I have a very eclectic set of interests. I am interested in the history of ideas, so I read a lot of philosophy, history, theology, social and political thought. I am interested in how leadership and management literature fit into that larger view of the history of ideas. My current passion is for the story of the Lewis & Clark Expedition. My music tastes range from bebop to cowboy/Western music, with the full range of classical throw in. I love movies. I'll watch virtually anything. I enjoy hiking, camping and travel. Our family loves to travel not to rest, but to discover new things. Our trips tend to be historically oriented. We in particular, love to travel in the Western United States.
Recent Activity
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Whether you are a small business person or a corporate executive, getting the best work out of your people is one of the most challenging aspects of leadership. It takes more than attractive compensation packages and inspirational pep talks. It takes creating a culture of trust that unites people together around a common desire to give their best. Here are five steps any leader can take to build a relationship of trust with their team. Believe in them, so they will believe in themselves Every person that works for you has something to teach you. If you are open to... Continue reading
Posted Feb 7, 2017 at Leading Questions
Tod, I'm very glad to see this. Having worked with churches as a leadership consultant for two decades, I've seen the absence of spiritual formation as a core dimension of a church. I've been addressing it in a couple of ways. The first is to talk about the disconnect between what people believe and how they live. This isn't new, but it is still an urgent need. The gap is not bridged by better tactics at "applying" intellectual concepts. It is rather in addressing the lack of understanding of who we are as human persons. I take a more phenomenological approach to bridging this gap by asking what would it taste, smell, feel, hear and see for Christ to be present at all times? It isn't the theology that is the problem, but rather the anthropology. The second way that I get at this with people is to address the "story they tell themselves". Not the story they tell others, but the story they tell themselves as they are engaged in various situations. I've found that many people do not have a story about how God is present with them, as a result, that turn to someone else's story, their pastor or an inspiring writer, or the story embedded in the music of the church. Over time that story of someone else's functions as the idol of faith. The key to having one's own story that is quietly reminding us who we are and who we are call to be in our lives. I've been using this with a group of young women who are in an addiction recovery program. It has been amazingly effective in helping them gain a clearer understanding of their own perspective on who they are and God's place in their lives. I'm finding that these two strategies helping open up people to the idea of the importance of formation. I look forward to hearing how this change at Fuller progresses.
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Afghan Mujahideen camp Afghan / Soviet War Chitral, NWFP, Pakistan July, 1981 We live in a time of images. They form our understanding of history and engage us in the present. These faces of Afghan freedom fighters from three decades ago sustain a memory of an encounter that I had with them as a young refugee worker. This image helps me understand the continuity of history in the region. But without that direct engagement, this image maybe more surreal than real. For there is no life context in which to interpret what was taking place when the picture was taken.... Continue reading
Posted May 7, 2013 at Leading Questions
Death’s Measure By Ed Brenegar * Death ends, Opportunity, Potential, Relationship. It comes too soon for many. Too late for more. The experience defies logic. Death is not logical. It is certain. Real. Final. The exceptions are just that. Exceptions, That gives us false hope. Hope that I could die and be resuscitated back to life. I met a man to whom this happened twice. He says he got the message. What was the message? Change. Grow up. Be different. Care for others. Does one have to die to get that message? Talking about defying logic. * I hate death.... Continue reading
Posted Dec 15, 2012 at At The Table of Thanks
Bernd, is there a digital version of the comfort food cookbook? If so, would you post a link? Thanks.
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I find this very relevant to the issues facing the PCUSA in the future. In effect, the alienation in which he speaks at the personal level is also true at the corporate or congregation, and especially at the denominational level. I would love it if this was the conversation that we'd have on Sunday mornings and at presbytery meetings. HT: Englewood Review of Books Continue reading
Posted Nov 23, 2012 at At The Table of Thanks
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This is a revised and expanded version of my Next Church post from October 31, 2012 I am the chair of the Stewardship Committee of my presbytery, the Presbytery of Western North Carolina. My entry point for this post is my concern about the practice of congregations withholding of funds from the PCUSA as an act of principled protest. Regardless of the reasons, I see this practice as a political act that is weakening our connectionalism as the Presbyterian Church USA. At our most recent presbytery meeting, I made the following remarks following the presbytery's financial chair's presentation. We are... Continue reading
Posted Nov 2, 2012 at At The Table of Thanks
Great story, Bernd. I got to know Matt through his book on elegance. The new follows a similar theme. Very helpful.
Toggle Commented Oct 23, 2012 on WHAT ISN’T THERE at ... a beginner at something
1 reply
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The question crossed my mind, “What if non-profits are no longer fundable? What does this mean for churches and presbyteries? How will we fund the church in the future?” I have been asking these questions in the places where I serve as a leadership and stewardship consultant and teaching elder. Until recently, I was a fund raiser for campus ministries in North Carolina, now I am an interim pastor of a small church. Also, I chair my presbytery’s stewardship committee and leadership division of committees, am a member of its Administrative Board and the presbytery’s Transitional Task Force, which is... Continue reading
Posted Oct 5, 2012 at At The Table of Thanks
Behind every tree, under every rock, in every sanctuary, fellowship hall, Session and Presbytery meeting, and within the heart and mind of Presbyterians far and wide, a dividedness is at work breaking apart and breaking down what used to be a simple consensus about the Gospel and the church. This division is primarily cultural. It is a product of the modern world. It is the cultural impetus to break everything down into parts, and then decide which parts are essential and which are non-essential. Every part is essential to someone. The chaos that results is that every person becomes the... Continue reading
Posted Sep 5, 2012 at At The Table of Thanks
Ed Brenegar is now following Cory Treffiletti
Aug 30, 2012
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We are now entering the season of stewardship in churches. Unfortunately, this is primarily thought of as a time of "squeezing blood out of turnip or motivating members to fund next year's budget. I think it is time to change this. What are People Looking for in their Life? Let's start with what motivates people. Not motivates them to give, but motivates them period. What motivates people isn't rational. People rarely think analytically about what motivates them. What does is far more down deep, "down deep in my soul" so to speak. It is something more fundament to who we... Continue reading
Posted Aug 14, 2012 at At The Table of Thanks
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When we are uncertain about the course of our life or work, we are at a transition point. The transition may be nothing more than a change from confusion to clarity, or from doubt to conviction. Regardless, there is a transition that needs to take place Each of these posts in this series has tried to convey two ideas. One is that change is normal. It may be unpleasant, disruptive and confusing; but it is a normal part of our lives. Without change, there is no life. To grow is change. To find happiness where once there was sorrow is... Continue reading
Posted Aug 9, 2012 at At The Table of Thanks
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Change comes to churches in many forms. We know we are at a transition point when we begin to question who we are as the church. Who are we now that our pastor of 20 years has retired? Who are we now that we are smaller or larger? Who are we now that the mission which was the interest of a few members has come to engage the whole congregation. Who are we now as the church as we are increasingly living in a post-Christian society? When we question our identity, we are in transition into the next phase of... Continue reading
Posted Aug 8, 2012 at At The Table of Thanks
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Pastoral leadership is one of the most demanding and difficult types of leadership in our society today. You have to be a scholar philosopher who can speak to common people about one of the more techically sophisticated fields of social science research - the Bible. You have to be a counselor who understands human emotion, family dynamics and social disorder, all within a spiritual perspective. You have to be the executive director of a community-based non-profit who always makes budget without ever asking people for money. You have to be a community leader who addresses social, political and human needs... Continue reading
Posted Aug 7, 2012 at At The Table of Thanks
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We are a transition point when there are decisions that we must make that have no easy answers or application. Most of these are personal decisions. Here are some that I've been hearing from pastors and lay leaders over the past few years. "I know my time at this church is done. But my daughter is in the middle of junior year of high school. A move would be very disruptive to her." "My church has had serial pastors, a new one coming every three to five years. I know there is more to these folk that they are giving.... Continue reading
Posted Aug 3, 2012 at At The Table of Thanks
Let's begin with what a healthy relationship in the church looks like. There is openness, affection, support and commitment. It is reflected in what Paul wrote the Corinthian church. For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot were to... Continue reading
Posted Aug 2, 2012 at At The Table of Thanks
Low morale is a sign of spiritual need, not primarily organizational change. Walk into the sanctuary or into the office of a church, and you can tell if the morale of the people is high or low. There is either energy in their voices and interaction, or not. If not, then the church and its people are at a transition point. The excuse that this is just who we are is no reason. It is just an excuse for a church of low morale that has lost connection between why they exist and the love and grace of God in... Continue reading
Posted Jul 31, 2012 at At The Table of Thanks
There is an old saying, "Fatigue makes cowards of us all." Vacations help. Though the kind I'm referring to is a deeper tiredness that makes it difficult to change. Fatigue can be an indicator that a transition point has been reached. It may mean transitioning into something very different. A new career or calling that brings renewed purpose and focus to our lives. Pastors get tired The demands of being a pastor are mostly hidden from view. There is incredible pressure to live up to the expectations of parishioners. Everyone expects the pastor to be friendly, always available, always up... Continue reading
Posted Jul 30, 2012 at At The Table of Thanks
... which is a transition point in our lives. While it is normal for there to be times of unhappiness, it is not healthy for it to persist. If it does, seek professional help. This is true for people, including pastors, and for churches. I was the guest preacher in a church many years ago. As the pastor was at the lectern giving the announcements for the day, one of the choir members interrupted him and proceeded to argue with him about one of the announcements. It was embarrassing for the pastor. It was not a happy church. What makes... Continue reading
Posted Jul 29, 2012 at At The Table of Thanks
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As pastors, we enter a transition point when our call is terminated. We may be moving on to a new call or beginning the process of looking for the next one. Either way, we are in transition. The first thing to understand is that life is filled with transitions. The person who stays in the same place for their whole career is not just the exception, but an anomaly. Without change, there is no life. One of those life changes is the end of a call and the beginning of the next one. The second thing to understand is that... Continue reading
Posted Jul 27, 2012 at At The Table of Thanks
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We are clearly not doing well, as the church is in decline. Of all the transition points, this one is the most serious. It requires serious steps and commitment to transition from a state of decline to a new position of sustainable growth. Organizations and communities, like churches, decline when they fail to adapt to the social and cultural changes around them. A Story As a seminary student, a group of us volunteered to help out a small congregation in Cambridge, Massachusetts. They were down to six members; all members of the same extended family; and all in their 60s... Continue reading
Posted Jul 26, 2012 at At The Table of Thanks
We are at a transition point when we find that our church's performance has reached a plateau, neither getting better or worse. Everything seems the same as it has been for a long time. We've settled into a comfortable pattern. However, it is clear by comparison with other churches, we are not doing as well as we should, and we are not doing as poorly as others. We have discovered the Golden Mean of the Average. Often in the church, there is a collusion of sorts between those who like to be in control, taking charge of many of the... Continue reading
Posted Jul 25, 2012 at At The Table of Thanks
Twenty five years ago a retired minister told me, "Son, things have changed for ministers. It used to be low stress and high prestige. Now, its high stress, and low prestige." What once was easy is now hard. What once garnered respect is more difficult to do so today. In an age of emotion and anti-intellectualism, living in a culture dominated by image and sound, a Word-based faith is difficult to convey in just words. In an age of narcissistic individualism, an historic faith of confession and liturgy seems irrelevant and un-modern. In an age where personal preference is more... Continue reading
Posted Jul 24, 2012 at At The Table of Thanks