The Purpose of the Institutional Church with Gil Rendle


Manage episode 321132253 series 2869474
By TMF & Wesleyan Investive, TMF, and Wesleyan Investive. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Most of us can readily identify with having a love-hate relationship with the Institution of the Church. Gil Rendle’s latest paper, Jacob’s Bones: On the Church’s Institutional Future, addresses our ambivalence head-on and offers a distinction that is a gamechanger. He states, “Institutions are not organizations that house values. Institutions are values and disciplines that need organizations to bring their gifts to the people.”

Listen to this week’s episode of Igniting Imagination as we dig deeper into this conversation with Gil. We hope it sparks a new imagination in you around the vital work of identifying the core truths, values and practices that reside at the center of what it means to be the Church today.


  • “We still have this internal knowledge that there is something of great purpose in what we’re doing by forming a family. There is something of great purpose in what we’re doing in forming a marriage or in being part of a religious community or seeking democracy or wanting to serve the common good. This is going back to fundamentals that reside pretty deep in us.” -Gil Rendle [31:55]
  • “The younger an institution is or the younger an expression of an institution is, the easier it is because the closer it lives to its purpose.” -Gil Rendle [32:59]


  • [00:00] Intro
  • [01:06] The purpose of talking about purpose
  • [05:10] Meet Gil Rendle
  • [06:24] Host’s reactions to this conversation
  • [11:32] About Jacob’s Bones: On the Church’s Institutional Future
  • [15:17] Institution as a construction of a social reality
  • [19:43] Problem-solving instead of discernment
  • [24:31] How leaders shift from problem-solving mode to discernment mode
  • [30:08] What we’re experiencing
  • [34:47] What giving Gil hope for the future of the Church
  • [37:32] Outro


Read Gil Rendle’s publication “Jacob’s Bones: On the Church’s Institutional Future” for free on our website here.

In the intro, Blair references this article from Fortune: 2022 Will Be A Year of Continuing Transformation by Alan Murray and David Meyer

Read Lisa Greenwood’s monograph about God’s Mixed Ecology: The Changing Spiritual Landscape here.

New Feature: Transcripts for this Season’s Episodes

We will have transcripts for each of our episodes this season. Visit our website to download this week’s transcript. We hope these additional resources will help you share these conversations with your friends, colleagues, and leadership teams to spark the spirit within you, your organization, and “ignite imagination!”

This podcast is brought to you by the Leadership Ministry team at TMF and Wesleyan Investive. Leadership Ministry connects diverse, high-capacity leaders in conversations and environments that create a network of courage, learning, and innovation in order to help the church lean into its God-appointed mission.

Subscribe to our Leadership Ministry emails here.

If you enjoy the podcast, would you please consider leaving a short review on Apple Podcasts / iTunes?

Gil Rendle’s Bio

Dr. Gil Rendle is a retired Senior Vice President and part-time consultant with The Texas Methodist Foundation in Austin, Texas and an independent consultant working with issues of change and leadership in denominations.

Rendle has an extensive background in organizational development, group and systems theory, and leadership development. He has consulted with congregations on planning, staff and leadership development, and issues of change. He is well known for his work with middle judicatory and national denominational offices and staff as they wrestle with denominational and congregational change.

He is the author of ten books, a contributor to four books, and the author of numerous articles and monographs. His most recent books include Journey in the Wilderness: New Life for Mainline Churches (2010) and Back to Zero: The Search to Rediscover the Methodist Movement (2011) both published by Abingdon Press and Doing the Math of Mission: Fruits, Faithfulness and Metrics (2014) and Quietly Courageous: Leading the Church in a Changing World (2018) both published by Rowman & Littlefield. Rendle is a resident of Pennsylvania where he lives with his wife, Lynne.

39 episodes