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Bill Easum, President of 21st Century Strategies, in a 2011 article entitled, The Importance of a Church Consultant/Coach, observed that “Our world is changing so fast it’s hard for most church leaders to stay abreast of the changes and shepherd a church at the same time. So many radical cultural changes, so many books to read, so many church examples to see, it’s mind-boggling.” He goes on to say that “From church plants to mega-churches, consultants and coaches are in demand today more than ever before. At one time or another Easum observes, every pastor or congregation has a need of a consultant either to help them over a rough patch or take them to the next level” (p.1).
Easum goes on to issue a word of warning to pastors and church leaders when he states:
There’s no sense on stepping on land mines that could be avoided when seasoned guides are available. A seasoned consultant/coach can actually save a church money and heartache. Often, one recommendation saves the church more than the cost of the consultation, (p.1).
Will Mancini who is a church vision consultant, founder of Auxano, and author of Church Unique, in his article, What Does a Real “Church Consultant” Do?, makes the observation that they use the term “navigator” over “consultant” at Auxano. Their reasoning is as follows:
The idea of navigation comes from the reality that our best expertise is not the answers we bring to the table in a suitcase, but in something else. If a consultant is any good, it’s obvious to him that the answers are already in the room. The answers are in the Spirit and in the gathered leadership. The problem is that the answers have not been sufficiently “navigated” to the surface. Our expertise is not the answers we bring, but in the process that enables conversation, prayer and world-class questions to help YOU fundamentally LIVE and COMMUNICATE your vision (2010, p.1).
Church consultant and author Aubrey Malphurs states in his book Advanced Strategic Planning, that:
If possible, a church is wise to employ the services of an outside consultant for strategic planning. One who is knowledgeable in the area of strategic planning with ministry expertise can guide and instruct the pastor and leader. They provide the best and often the only opportunity for success. Since the consultant is an outsider he brings a fresh, objective point of view. The consultant can serve as a confidential sounding board for frustrated staff and congregants. The right consultant brings a solid grounding in the Bible and theology to the ministry situation, often more so than does the pastor (2005, pp. 46-47).
As an interesting caveat Malphurs goes on make this observation where the outside consultant is concerned:
He [the consultant] lends his credibility to the process. This is an interesting phenomenon. No matter how well trained or competent the pastor is, members of North American churches grant more credibility to specialists who come in from the outside than they do their own pastor. People tend to respect, trust, and listen to a consultant when they would not give the same attention to a pastor. I [Malphurs] have labeled this phenomenon ‘the pastor is without honor syndrome’ (2010, p. 46).
Finally, Easum notes that “The bottom line is if your church isn’t reaching its potential and you feel that something is wrong or needs to be tweaked or you are passionately looking for more ways to transform your community, it’s time to call in a consultant/coach who can help you make sense of God’s dream come true in your church,” (The Importance of a Consultant/Coach, p. 1).
References: Listed in the order appearing in this article
Bill Easum, The Importance of a Church Consultant/Coach, Retrieved February 13, 2015 from http://www.religiousproductnews.com/articles/2011-May/eNewsletter/The-Importance-of-a-Church-Consultant-Coach.htm p.1.
Will Mancini, What Does a Real “Church Consultant” Do? Retrieved February 13, 2015 from http://www.willmancini.com/2010/06/what-does-a-real-church-consultant-do.html p.1.
Aubrey Malphurs, Advanced Strategic Planning (2005, Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books), pp. 46-47.