All those in favor of having a group of outsiders or so-called experts show up at your church to look under the hood, raise your hand. What, no hands? I’m not the least bit surprised, and I’m sure you see the big, bright sarcasm sign flashing. No one wants a bunch of outsiders snooping around. Well, maybe not zero.
A consultation is an invasive process that we all recognize as helpful but shy away from pressing the “order” button. On the one hand, we realize the benefit of having fresh eyes on the inner workings of our organization. After all, the success of our mission has eternal consequences. On the other hand, we open up a lid of vulnerability that leaves us feeling exposed at times.
However, all churches can benefit from an effective consultation on a recurring basis, perhaps something like every five years. A recurring consultation might include a visit from Healthy Growing Churches or some other group, but the need for an outside set of eyes to help you see what you can’t as an insider in your organization is incredibly valuable.
Most of you reading this article probably already have an annual process in place. Leadership retreats, off-site team building exercises, intense planning sessions, amongst other things are all great ways to affect your current mission. These events are like putting fuel into your car. A consultation, on the other hand, is more like looking at the car itself to see if it’s the right vehicle. At the end of the day, you still have to put fuel in the vehicle. We want to help you make sure it’s the right one!
Every leader has blind spots. These invisible limitations don’t typically identify themselves in weekly staff meetings, but we know from experience that every church bumps up against lids that keep them from reaching their full potential. It’s a proven reality for both pastors and the churches they lead.
We have seen these truths proven time and again in churches of all sizes and age. It doesn’t matter if a church is averaging 50 or 500 in weekend attendance. We have observed it in churches two years old and one hundred years old. All pastors and all churches eventually encounter barriers that are impeding maximum ministry impact.
When you encounter those barriers and ministry impact has stalled or is in decline, it is time for what we call “a look under the hood.” That is the core work of an HGC consultation. We help churches pop the lid and determine what might be keeping their engine from running at maximum output.
Over the past decade of working with churches of all shapes and sizes, we have identified seven lids to church health that show up most often in our looks under the hood. We call them the 7 S’s of church health. They are staffing, stewardship, structure, strategy, systems, spiritual health, and space.
Think about each of these areas and rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10. Where might one or more of these lids be inhibiting your ministry or church? Take a few moments to score each of the 7 S’s.
|Lid||Score||Least: 1||Best: 10|
|Staff||Little or no catalytic leadership on pastoral staff or leadership core.||Right people (pastor, staff and leadership community of the church) on the bus in the right seats on the bus.|
|Stewardship||Lack of funding for effectively of reaching people for Jesus.||A spirit of generosity in the congregation and leadership that is providing more than enough funding to effectively reach people for Jesus.|
|Structure||A church structure that impedes the staff from leading and lacks accountability for setting and reach ministry goals.||A church structure that frees the staff to lead with a governing board that holds the staff accountable for reaching ministry goals.|
|Strategy||No strategy for effectively reaching people, making reproducing disciples and church multiplication.||A clear and compelling vision for reaching people, making reproducing disciples and church multiplication.|
|Systems||No systems present or functioning for things like new member follow-up, congregational care, or volunteer recruitment.||Various system present and functioning for things like new member follow up, congregational care, or volunteer recruitment.|
|Spiritual Health||Sin or disobedience in the congregation that is impacting ministry effectiveness.||Staff, leadership, and congregation are following God’s will and doing ministry out of a deep burden for lost people.|
|Space||Church facility is dated and not functional for reaching its community.||Church facility is well maintained and fully functional for reaching its community.|
So, now what?
I am glad you asked! If you scored yourself less than 5 in one or more of the seven S’s of church health, you should consider a look under the hood by someone who has a vested concern in your success. We would love to help guide you all through that process. We’re confident that churches that complete our consultation process can expect the start of a new life cycle and a significant increase in their ministry effectiveness. This might look like a long-term relationship with HGC, or it might be a recommendation to partner with another organization. Our concern is for your mission effectiveness.
If you’re interested, fill out the contact form and let’s talk about where to start. If you know of another church that could use a hand, pass our info along to them. We are confident that God will continue to provide for HGC if we continue to focus on His mission first.
The links below will provide a deeper dive into each of the 7 S’s.
- Staff: http://healthygrowingchurches.com/staff-healthy-leadership-7-lids-to-ministry-effectiveness-in-churches-and-teams/
- Stewardship: http://healthygrowingchurches.com/stewardship-heeding-warning-signs-phil-ling/
- Structure: http://healthygrowingchurches.com/structure-setting-congregation-free-purpose/
- Strategy: http://healthygrowingchurches.com/strategy-where-context-king/
- Systems: http://healthygrowingchurches.com/systems-one-lid-healthy-church-healthy-growing-churches/
- Spiritual Health: http://healthygrowingchurches.com/spiritual-sickness-7-lids-to-ministry-effectiveness-in-churches-and-teams/
- Space: http://healthygrowingchurches.com/space-not-the-final-frontier-lids-church-health/