One of the complaints against consultants is the disconnect with their findings and recommendations to the day-to-day work environment a ministry staff engages in. Often times the recommendations feel like canned responses, do not practically work in the lives of those on a church staff, or create loads of busy-work that yield little-to-no tangible results. For this reason, the presence of a consultant is met with a begrudging compliance to go through the process, but very low buy-in to the end recommendations. Consultants need ministry leaders and their staff members to take the recommendations they give seriously through implementation and results.
One disconnect between consultants and ministry leaders is the difference in perspective. Consultants may see the living, breathing, energy-filled environment of a church environment, but ministry leaders live in it and understand its intricacies. Consultants must understand their approach to implementing change in a ministry environment can not be treated as if it can be installed, managed, or engineered (Block, 2011). In the presentation of change initiatives, the consultant must take into account they are dealing with a living system (Hall, et al., 2010), not a machine. Where ministry leaders reside is in the depths of people’s lives, not usually at a 30,000-foot view of the situation. If consultants fail to drop down to the front lines and understand where ministry leaders are working, an implementation may be dead-in-the-water. Consultants must have clear goals, defined steps, and carefully specified objectives and measures to give ministry leaders proper perspective and understanding (Block, 2011). Ministry leaders need to know how the implementation is going to make them more effective, more efficient, and have a greater impact than what they are currently doing. They need to see a clear blueprint to follow before they can buy-in (Block, 2011).
Block, P. (2011). Flawless consulting: a guide to getting your expertise used (3rd ed). San Francisco: Pfeiffer.
Hall, D., Hall, J., & Deman, S. (2010). The Cat & The Toaster – condensed. Retrieved from http://livingsystemministry.org/cat-toaster-condensed-version-preface