Surprising Statements I’ve Heard during Church Consultations, Part 1

This week, I’ve been working with some students in our MA in Church Revitalization program at Southeastern Seminary. In the course of those discussions, I’ve been reminded again of some surprising (kind of . . .) statements. Here are some of them today, and I’ll add some tomorrow as well. Do any of these statements reflect your church? 

  1. “We’d rather spend all the money on ourselves than open our doors to ‘those people.’” The community was changing. The church wasn’t. The church did what they said they’d rather do – they spent their money on what would become their funeral.
  2. “We’re not even sure why you’re here.” The church leaders who hired our team somehow failed to tell the rest of the church that a church consulting team would be on their campus.
  3. “On a scale of 1-10, I rank our church as a ten in every area.” These words came from a pastor whose deacons and leaders pushed him to bring in consultants. The church was nowhere near “10” in every area, but the pastor refused to see it.
  4. “We have two acres here, and our goal is to have a couple of services and average 1000 in a few years.” That’s a great vision, but it shows ignorance of space and traffic issues. Even a great vision requires practical wisdom. 
  5. “We don’t need anyone in charge of our prayer ministry because we pray over everything.” You can guess what our team learned. This congregation assumed everyone was praying about everything, but their own Church Health Survey showed otherwise.
  6.  “I’m glad you’re here so you can point out what I’ve been seeing.” A frustrated staff member whispered these words to us as we began our consultation. Months later, we determined that he had been part of the problem.
  7. “We don’t talk much about theology because we don’t want to be divisive.” This church, in fact, wasn’t divided. It’s hard to be divided when almost anything goes theologically. 
  8. “We’ll fix the nursery after families start coming.” In essence, the congregation was saying, “If they come, we’ll build it.” They didn’t come. 
  9. “We never have any guests come, and that’s why we’re not growing.” I asked their administrative assistant how many “guest cards” they’d received over the past year. Frankly, I was surprised they actually had those numbers – and even more surprised they had more than 100 guests in the previous 12 months! It’s just that nobody did anything with them. 
  10. “I’m done.” These words came from a weary, hurting, scarred pastor who had invited our team in for a consult. To my surprise, his real goal was to set up his departure in a productive way. 

Come back tomorrow to hear more . . . . 

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