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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
This post originally appeared on March 18, 2008, on the Leading Questions blog. Over the past three months, I have read the entire Harry Potter series. I just finished Deathly Hallows, and I must say that it is delightful to read a series of books that ends well. I don't mean a happy ending, though it is, but rather, a well concluded ending. Here are a few of my reflections on Harry as a 21st century leader. 1. Team Harry leads. Ron and Hermione are his partners in leadership. Their communication is a fine example of how a group of... Continue reading
Posted May 12, 2021 at Leading Questions
This post originally appeared on August 6, 2007, on the Leading Questions blog. To Suffer is To Be Human Professional people make mistakes. Some are minor, some idiotic, others catastrophic. Some are innocent, others not, some recoverable, many terminable. All professional people experience the suffering of failure and its consequences. Yet, we are not supposed to either acknowledge it or let it affect us. To do so is to deny our own humanity Suffering in life takes on many forms. It can come at our own hands when we’ve done something regrettable or through the agency of other people. The... Continue reading
Posted May 11, 2021 at Leading Questions
First Posted September 1, 2007. In 1987, for a period of about two weeks, I stayed up most of the night watching big 12 meter yachts compete in the America’s Cup race. ESPN, in its first decade of life, broadcast the series live from Freemantle, Australia. I couldn’t get enough of it. The energy, the danger, the team work, the margins of error and success, all contributed to an impression of yacht racing that has stayed with me ‘til this day. What captivated me about these yachts was the ability of their crews to push them to the edge of... Continue reading
Posted Oct 5, 2020 at Leading Questions
The following was first posted November 19, 2008. It looks at some of the work of Peter Drucker. His prescient ability to see global change should draw us back to his writings as insightful for our time. Reflecting on what I wrote ten years ago, I am more convinced than ever that our past, whether capitalist or socialist, is inadequate to the task of informing us as to what our future will be. We are at a transition point in human history that is unprecedented because there is an opportunity to create new institutions and new ways of functioning as... Continue reading
Posted Nov 19, 2018 at Leading Questions
Last spring, when I was plunged head first into the bottom of the recession, I thought I understood what change was about. I did and I didn't. Let me put it another way. When we enter an unknown territory, we tend to rely on past experience to guide us through. Take the above picture for example. You are walking up this hill for the first time. You may assume that what is on the other side is just like this side, but it isn't. What if the other side looked like this. If it was, you would be ill-prepared to... Continue reading
Posted Oct 26, 2018 at Leading Questions
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
In 2010, I wrote a post, Change: No Lines, No Waiting, where I stated the following. Whether you are 25, 50 or 75, dealing with change isn't about who you are or what you do. It is rather about putting yourself in the position to make a difference, to make a contribution, to create impact. ... (I learned that) how I dealt with change was too abstract, logical, rational. It didn't deal with reality. I'm been thinking about the speed of change. A lot of people want to slow change down. They want time to adapt to it. I've become... Continue reading
Posted Sep 1, 2014 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.
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
UPDATED! "A book is a souvenir of an idea" - Seth Godin "The term, "Social Object" can be a bit heady for some people. So often I'll use the term, "Sharing Device" instead." - Hugh McLeod / Gaping Void Seen in these pictures is the 19 lb Behemoth - This Might Work - compilation of Seth Godin's blog posts for the past seven years. I'm sure many of those who received it, have it sitting on youre desk or office coffee table. I'm using it, not as a souvenir of Seth's blog posting, but as a social object, "a sharing... Continue reading
Posted Jan 10, 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.
1 reply
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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