10 Signs You Need a Consultant

They say an expert is someone with a briefcase from more than thirty miles away. Such a person's knowledge and experience may vary, but it's true that the very act of coming in from outside an organization (whether three miles outside, thirty, or three hundred) provides insight that people too close to the issues at hand have trouble seeing or accepting.
Many local churches are in trouble. Many local churches need some outside help to see new directions for their congregation. Consultants, like your congregational members, want your local church to adapt and thrive, but bring expertise and objectivity congregational members cannot. Some consultants are pricey but others will come and help without breaking the bank. So how does a local church recognize when the time is right to bring in a consultant?
Here are some warning signs you might need a consultant:
  1. if your events calendar is empty and your website is lame.
  2. if the job description for your pastor is limited to three things: lead worship, visit hospitals, and bury your dead.
  3. if worship announcements take a full ten minutes and pew sitters are wrestling each other to get the microphone for prayer concerns.
  4. if your treasurer has a panic attack at the close of each month.
  5. if all your elected leaders are really followers and the critics are in control
  6. if most conversations are salt and peppered with "should do," "ought to," and "duty."
  7. if the pew sitters appear to be suffering from a low grade depression.
  8. if the goal is to have a happy church rather than a faithful church.
  9. if everyone agrees that your congregation feels like a big family (a huge sign of turning inward instead of outward).
  10. if the three most common sentences used in your committee meetings are: "We tried that and it didn't work," "We've never done it that way before," and "Young people just don't love the Lord like they used to." 
Measure your congregation against these ten cautionary tales and add your own. Then pick up the phone, or send an email to an outside consultant for help.
John Flowers is the author, with his wife Karen Vannoy, of 10 Temptations of Church: Why Churches Decline & What to Do About It. After years in pastoral ministry, Flowers is now consulting for local churches and can be reached at churchfortomorrow.com.
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