Rick and Denise Renner, known for shepherding the Moscow Good News Church in Russia’s capital city, visited HBU to discuss God’s work in Russia and around the world. Rick Renner has firsthand practice discovering the will of God for his life, and shares insights gleaned from experience and biblical study in his latest book, “The Will of God: The Key to Your Success.”
“First of all,” Renner said, “The will of God is in the Holy Spirit – He is the mind of God. The dreams and desires of people are often the will of God speaking from the inside. God’s voice in Scripture addresses most of the issues we face in life. I believe there’s nothing more important than the Word of God. When you’re in the will of God, there’s a different kind of grace that comes. And sometimes, knowing His will is a process. Abraham made every mistake. The good news is, if you’ve made mistakes, you can still get where you’re supposed to be.”
Like it is for others, Renner said discovering God’s will for his life has been a multistep process, in which one move of obedience led to discovering further directives. His journey to Russia began when he was invited to speak at a missions conference. As a pastor in the US, he wasn’t keen on becoming an international missionary. But beside him on the pew at the conference, he found a Russian Bible that captivated his attention. He discovered that, with the help of his Greek study, he could read the Russian language phonetically.
After studying the Russian language on his own, Renner was invited to speak in what was then the Soviet Union. “There were bread lines and little food,” he described. “I ended up speaking in a school. The Holy Spirit spoke to me clearly and said, ‘Welcome to your new home.’ Then I heard the Holy Spirit say it again. In the next days that I was there, it all began to come together for me. God doesn’t always reveal the full will to you; sometimes He just gives you enough to keep you moving. I thought we were going for a year, and now we’ve been there for 29 years.”
With the backing of American churches, Renner began broadcasting the Gospel message on Russian television around the time the Soviet Union dissolved in late 1991. “Communism/atheism ruled for 70 years. It did a great thing,” he said. “In those 70 years, people’s hearts became vacant. Communism in a way cleaned the slate. People were so hungry for the word of God.”
Early on, Renner offered for viewers to write him a letter with the promise of a response. The ministry was inundated with 800,000 letters. Thanks to television and in-person outreaches, people came to Christ in droves. The Renners began the Moscow Good News Church.
Denise Renner used her vocal gift to lead worship. “You just take one step and God opens another step and another step,” she said. “I’m singing all these words I’ve never known in my life…the power of God would come as we worshipped Him. People would get saved and miracles would happen. We were just watching what God was doing. All we did was say ‘yes.’ When you say ‘yes’ in any area of your life, you open the door of heaven and His blessing, provision, power and peace. It opens the door to all of that and helps you do what you need to do.”
Since the inception of their ministry, God has used the Renners to reach people throughout Russia and beyond. Their television ministry is broadcast in 13 languages around the world. They have enjoyed favor with the Russian people and even the government. “I can never forget there were a generation of believers who prayed for freedom to come,” Rick Renner said. “When you’re in the will of God, I’m not going to tell you everything is going to go swell, but when you’re in the will of God, you do have a measure of protection. God is moving on every level of government and society; it’s marvelous.”