The 1st Sunrise for 2022
I first felt the Lord's nudging towards church consultation during my second decade of pastoral ministry. At that time, I started to research the term and to seek training opportunities. I also began to look for certified church consultants in the Caribbean and to my surprise, found only one. After researching, I took the first step towards this certification by enrolling into Church Answers University. I had little knowledge about what I was getting into. As you can imagine, I was happy for the training I received from Tom Rainer and Church Answers in 2020. It was extremely helpful.
As a life-long learner with a desire to be the best pastor God would have me to be, I read several books including Peter Wagner's works on church growth, Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Church, Christian Schwarz's Natural Church Development, Thom Rainer's and Eric Geiger's Simple Church, Lyle Schaller's The Interventionist, and Aubrey Malphurs' Advanced Strategic Planning. They were instrumental in shaping my philosophy of church ministry. I concluded that it was critically important for churches to be healthy so that they can grow. On hindsight, the Lord was already preparing me for a ministry of church consultation with a focus on church health.
With the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and my interactions with other pastors it became evident, that assistance is needed in developing healthy churches. Additionally, I was glad when I said something which helped, or when I introduced a book that help to address their need. All I want is for the Lord to use me to empower others, especially other pastors.
My engagement in church consultation thus far, has been one of bringing awareness of what church consultation entails, as many are still new to the concept; and consultation in specific areas of ministry, including leadership, church structure, small groups and secret guest assessment.
The work of church consultation in the Caribbean faces a number of challenges.
- Church consultation is a new concept among many pastors and churches in the Caribbean. Often times, the response is what is that, or what does it entail?
- Pastors cannot imagine why they would need the services of a church consultant and may also be fearful about what a church consultant may uncover in their church.
- Some pastors do not understand the relationship between church health and church growth, and the need for a church health analysis.
- Church leaders are not willing to pay for the use of church health analysis instruments.
- There is none or little follow through with the recommendations.
- The consultant or other specialists are not engaged to provide guidance, training and assistance in the implementation of the recommendations
Despite the challenges, my dream is to see churches utilize the services of church consultants. I believe that church consultants have a role—to come alongside pastors and leaders to help them develop healthy growing churches that fulfil the Great Commission. It is exciting to be a pioneer in this area of ministry in the Caribbean, though I do not pretend that it is going to be an easy journey.
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