In one month, the Pastors’ Association conducted two outstanding pastors’ conferences -- one in the city of Moscow and the other on the far-eastern island of Sakhalin in Russia, just north of Japan.
After the Moscow conference, Rick Renner commented, “This was the best pastors’ conference we’ve had in Moscow so far. In fact, with every Association event we host, it seems we step up and go higher and further. The word preached by Gordon gave me so much personally. I’ve been so richly encouraged and blessed!”
Rev. Gordon MacDonald was the featured conference at the conference in Moscow Many pastors and leaders enthusiastically shared their testimonies about what the conference meant to them. One pastor related, “A surprisingly simple yet extremely deep message was spoken here. The tender spirit of Gordon MacDonald disarmed every question and made me glad to surrender to the lordship of Jesus Christ in every area of my life. I will be sure to pass on what I received to all of my leaders back home.”
Sergei and Natasha Bagretsov, Association directors in Moscow received several ministry invitations by pastors who hadn’t attended an Association event in quite awhile. These leaders were so blessed by the conference that they wanted Good News representatives to come to their churches so that their congregations could be ministered to further. Sergei Bagretsov expressed, “It was so wonderful to see their faces again, and it was precious to be so earnestly welcomed to bring the ministry to their church congregations.”
No sooner than the RENNER Ministries’ Association leaders caught their breath after that huge Moscow meeting, they began packing their things for the long trip to the Far East. On October 20-23, another conference was held on Russia’s easternmost shores on the island of Sakhalin. The theme of that meeting was “A Minister’s Values in Today’s World.”
The main speaker at the Sakhalin conference was Pastor Richard West of Liberty Christian Center in Fairfield, California. Other speakers included Rick Renner, Sergei Bagretsov, and Sergei Finayev, an itinerant teacher from Minsk, Belarus. In preparation for that conference, ads were distributed that headlined, “Rick Renner Gathers With Friends on Sakhalin.” Sergei Bagretsov shared, “This advertisement proved more true than we’d realized. When we arrived in the Far East, bishops, pastors, and spiritual leaders from all over the region awaited us there. Pastors and leaders from 26 churches attended the conference, and 6 had come over from the mainland. More than ever, the Far East holds a very special place in all our hearts.”
The meetings began with Pastor Denise Renner ministering to women pastors and leaders, sharing her experience in overcoming inner conflicts related to self-esteem, emotions, and attitudes. Denise shared the floor with June Blume, a long-time friend of RENNER Ministries, along with her husband Wally. June addressed the women about her personal struggle with health issues that she was finally able to defeat by the power of God’s Word. She shared that when she defeated wrong thoughts in her mind, she began to see manifestations in her body. Today June enjoys great health and the ability to take care of their family business tirelessly at the age of 72.
On October 21 and 22, special sessions for pastors and leaders were conducted.
Pastor West preached on the core values of a minister, including maintaining complete surrender to Christ’s lordship and continually dying to his own flesh and desires even if he must to go through a “Garden” experience to do it. Referring to Jesus’ experience in the Garden of Gethsemane, Richard exclaimed, “The way to true freedom and God’s grace runs through your own ‘garden.’ We can do all things through Christ when we are truly living and abiding in Christ and He is in us -- when there is more of Him in us and less of us.”
Richard ministered on doing the “impossible,” sharing many powerful testimonies of impossibilities that suddenly became possible with God. He then prayed and laid hands on ministers who were facing their own impossibilities. Gifts of the Spirit were in manifestation as Richard ministered to each person, and many hearts were kindled anew with fresh hope and passion for God and His plan for their lives.
On Sunday, October 23, Rick and Denise Renner, Richard West, Sergei and Natasha Bagretsov, and Sergei Finayev each ministered in various churches all over the island. The teams reunited that evening for a citywide service. The meeting was powerful, and later one of the host ministers related that the attendance at that corporate meeting was so unusually high, it was “unheard of.” At that meeting, Rick Renner strongly challenged the congregation to continually grow to become more Christ-like. He taught that this process of transformation in a person’s soul is an ongoing one that will last for the rest of one’s life.
Overall, the Sakhalin meetings were a special bonding experience for everyone who attended. One of the bishops in the region stated, “Pastor Rick and his team have always been a blessing to our region. Our pastors and leaders have looked up to him for wisdom and guidance, and his visit now is just another way he has strengthened and encouraged them. It has also provided a way for all of us to get together from different denominations, groups, and associations to host this event so effectively. Thank you, Rick Renner, for what you have given us.”
We at RENNER Ministries want to in turn thank you, our friend and partner, for your faithfulness to help us go to some of these faraway and remote regions of the world with your prayers and your giving. You may never meet the people you’ve touched with the Gospel and the love of God, but when you give, you “go.” Our fruit is your fruit too!