Why Use a Consultant?
Hiring a consultant can be intimidating. In the church, we often do not want to admit that we are in need of help. We struggle to trust outside voices. We struggle with any kind of criticism of the church we love. We do not want someone to come in and uncover our dirty laundry.
While all of these fears are understandable and real, a consultant can be a huge asset to a church. Having an outside set of eyes who comes in without bias or an agenda can be a life-giving experience for a congregation. We often do not know what we do not know. We cannot fully see the joys and challenges of our culture. As one fish said to another, “how do you like the water today?” To which the second fish responded, “what is water?” We do not always fully see or understand the water in which we swim. Outside perspectives can give us greater vision.
Extra Eyes are Critical
The truth is that we simply cannot see all of the joys, challenges, and opportunities in our church organizations without extra outside eyes. The fish does not realize the vastness of the ocean it swims in. The frog boiled slowly in the pot has no idea what is happening.
Often, the biggest challenge in any church is that we don’t know what we don’t know. We simply cannot fully see the culture in which we are swimming. Outside eyes help churches to see what they cannot on their own. Outside eyes bring perspective, shining a light on things we might have missed. Outside eyes bring experience, experience, ideas, and education we do not have. To be the healthiest version of ourselves, we employ experts all the time: medical doctors, nutritionists, private trainers, coaches, etc. A consultant can help your church be healthier and more effective, leading to greater impact and longevity.
Perspective is Powerful
We underestimate the power of perspective. The beauty of the Kingdom of God is that God has given us diverse voices, perspectives, and experiences. Bringing in a consultant gives a different perspective that can help your church see and operate in different ways, even if you do not agree with the consultant or employ all of their suggestions. Perspective shapes our thoughts, words, and actions much more than we are willing to admit. Perspective is powerful and often the best perspectives come from those outside the system and community. They simply see what we do not.
Support is Crucial
We were never meant to do it alone. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but it is a sign of strength. We are better because we have each other. Any church that wants to find greater health and maintain health needs support from both inside and outside the system. While God often brings the people to the church it needs, there simply are things that a congregation cannot do with a little outside help. The truth is that we listen to outsiders more clearly than insiders. Every parent has experienced the moment where one of their kids listened to the advice of a friend, teacher, or coach over the advice of their parent even when the advice was identical! Outside voices validate some of what we already know and add information we have not had.
Leading an effective, healthy church today is not easy, and in most cases, outside assistance and resources are needed. There are so many resources for churches that it is often hard to find, know, and evaluate them all. A consultant can be a source of support and also point churches to other resources and support they may need.
We encourage congregations to use consultant services whenever possible, regardless of the issues or needs they may be facing. Proactivity is best, and we are glad to assist where we can as well as point you to other resources when we are not able to help.
Rev. Dr. Marcus J. Carlson, Executive Director