So Many Consultants

This WayChurch consultants are everywhere.  Sometimes they are former pastors, former seminary professors, or organizational management gurus who specialize in religious communities. There are some great consultants out there.

Because the rules have changed throughout what used to be Christendom, almost every congregation needs a coach to move us through the muck and onto the other side.  But what do we look for in the search for the right consultants for our congregations?  Here are some questions to ask:

  1. What other congregations have used these consultants/assessments/programs?  And what was the final impact/result of working with them?  What really changed?
  2. Does your denomination have arrangements with certain consultants so that you get a group rate?  (Note:  this is one of the good reasons to be part of a denomination.  We partner together to do Big Things.  We lean on each other for financial and other support.)
  3. When was the last time the consultants actually served in pastoral leadership?  Sometimes it’s easier to tell a congregation how to move forward than to lead a congregation forward.
  4. What’s your consultant’s own spiritual community?  If she/he is not personally part of a spiritual community, see #3.
  5. Is this relationship going to be Hit and Run Coaching? Will your congregation receive a report, but then you are left coach-less?

Partnerships are the way to go in the 21st Century Church:  partnering between congregations, between churches and denominations, between congregations and consultants who help us lead impactful change.  As we move into both a new liturgical years and a new calendar year in the days and weeks to come, how can we be the church for a new day?


2 responses to “So Many Consultants

  1. Diane K. Prevary

    Interesting…. Ily


  2. I strongly agree with the criteria for selecting consultants. It is critical for leaders to check out their track record. It is, however, really important to distinguish between consultants and coaches. In rough terms, a consultant comes in, uses some tools (interviews, surveys, demographic analysis, etc.) and makes a report with recommendations. “Do this and all will be well.” Rather than be the magic answer person, a coach uses the mantra: “I have the questions. You have the answers.” An effective coach will suggest resources and tools but uses deep listening, powerful questions, and re-framing to help the client make better decisions. Then, the coach continues to work with the pastor and other leaders to follow-through, helping them be accountable to themselves. The return on any investment in learning is much greater when a coach is used. See my book; Entering Wonderland: A Toolkit for Pastors New to a Church, for much more information and helpful tools. See also the International Coach Federation website for more detail about what coaching is and isn’t.


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