Deep Experience: Meet IC Coach Larry Wren
Meet Larry Wren, IC Coach and Executive Pastor at Pathway Church in Wichita, KS. He is passionate about mobilizing and equipping younger leaders to serve the local church. He is married to Melinda and has two grown children.
City, State: Wichita, KS
Current Church Name: Pathway Church
Current Role: Executive Pastor
Other Historical Roles:
-Associate Pastor – Greeley Christian Church – Greeley, CO
In Ministry Since: 1978
-Less than 500
-2,000 to 5,000
Tell us how your years of pastoral experience in growing churches prepared you for serving other churches.
Unlike many XPs, I’ve spent most of my ministry life, 35 years, in one church where I currently serve. I started as a Children’s Pastor and have served in almost every role since 1982 and I’ve been XP for 20 years. We’ve grown from 550 to 3500, have relocated, changed our name, transitioned from a Sr. Pastor of 42 years, and become a multi-site church. From a “golfing buddy” staff of 6 to more than 50 FTE, I’ve helped lead us through a great deal of change. Leading change is what all of us as church leaders have to learn to do and do well, whether we’re a church of 40 or 14,000. At every step along the way, I have to be willing to change how I lead so that I can lead change into the next chapter of ministry. The rich background of serving in so many different staff roles over the years and a long season of leading as an XP is great preparation for serving other churches.
What have been the highs and lows of serving churches through IC and Pathway?
Coaching and facilitating church leaders is quite different than “consulting”. A consultant brings in their “manual” of this is how you do church. As an IC Coach, I’m helping to prompt and facilitate church leaders through the Intentional Growth Plan that they own and have put together. It’s exciting to see people own the steps they’ve determined they need to take to “double their impact” and then to passionately take those steps. Those are the highs as a coach. The lows are when a church or organization gets bogged down and even with good coaching, is unable to take the steps that they’ve determined are needed. Even in my role at Pathway Church, sometimes I’ve experienced a low because we haven’t been able to take steps that are needed. Either way, the good news is that the IC process is cyclical and so at some point, you come back around to gaining perspective, plotting a new course, and following through with operational action steps.
How did you become a part of IC?
I heard a presentation by Bart Rendel at an XP gathering in Las Vegas a number of years ago. I was challenged by the concept of, “What if our church could double our impact in the next 5 years?” That idea rolled around in my head for a year and when our XP group met again the following year, I made contact with Doug Parks and signed our church up with IC and also signed up for training as an IC Coach.
Share some wisdom or encouragement you have learned from being in the trenches of ministry.
Church leadership is challenging, draining, and rewarding. It is hard work and it takes a toll. But the joy of “hanging in there” for the long haul is worth it. I’m blessed in my life to have served alongside a number of people who’ve had staying power and have encouraged me to not give up. The real “paychecks” of church leadership come as you see life change in people, being transformed by the power of Jesus Christ, over the long haul. If you’re feeling stuck, overwhelmed, or just weary, reach out to myself or another church leader and take steps to get in a better place. You’ll be glad you did, no matter what your situation and the Kingdom will be served in a greater way because you didn’t try to “go it alone”.
The Intentional Churches team is made up of experienced and working church leaders just like Larry. We are mutually trained, certified, and ready to partner with your church to turn your Kingdom vision into reality. What would it look like to double your impact again and again?