fighting-preacher-sqquare

A self proclaimed “scrapper” since childhood, John Renken grew up with a burning interest in physical challenges and a strong competitive spirit. Beginning at the age of 15, Renken’s natural and innate drive towards intense physical sports led him to a passion for martial arts and 20 years later, Renken has developed quite an impressive reputation in the professional fighting community. Reaching the pinnacle of his career, Renken now has over 68 professional mixed martial arts and boxing matches under his belt and many first place titles spanning three different continents.

A former Satanist, Renken’s life has taken many interesting twists and turns along the way to redemption. After joining the United States Army in 1993, Renken became a Christian just one year later, changing his life and mission forever.

“God saved me, brought me out of where I was in order to reach people and bring them into His Kingdom. For me, that happens to be through the arena of mixed martial arts (MMA),” Renken reflects.

After graduating from North Central University in 2000 with a degree in Bible and Theology, Renken felt a special calling to develop a unique ministry by using his knowledge of MMA to lead others to Christ. A sport that combines boxing, wrestling and other fighting styles, Renken sees MMA as a way to reach young men which many feel have been abandoned and neglected by the modern church. By channeling a male’s inherent need for intense physical contact in a positive and Godly direction, Renken believes young lives are being changed in deeply profound ways.

In 2000 Renken planted Xtreme Ministries and started his business Clarksville MMA Academy, of which he is the head instructor.  Renken doesn’t see competitive fighting as being incompatible to Christianity’s message. Quite the opposite, to be exact.

“When Jesus said to turn the other cheek, it had nothing to do with football, hockey, MMA or any other physical contact sport. He was teaching us to not take personal vengeance against someone else. I feel that I’m teaching this message to my students every day. I’m teaching respect for others and directing young people away from a life of violence to a life of discipline and fulfillment through Christ.” Renken explains.Receiving national recognition for his philosophy and MMA ministry through major national media outlets such as The New York TimesNBC’s Nightline and The Daily Show Renken’s vision is being realized on a massive scale.Renken states that he’s “literally fighting the good fight and teaching our youth a radical and fulfilling new life where feet, fists and faith collide.”
Renken resides in Clarksville, TN, with his four children, Samuel (13), Aidan (10), Eleasa (8) and Collin (6).