Why Enlist a Consultant

December 18, 2012 by  
Filed under Newsletter

IgniteUs, Inc.
Under The Elmtree
Under The Elmtree
In This Issue:
*  Why Enlist A Consultant?
*  A Learning Organization
*  Immanuel
*  Decision Making Profile
 Partnership – Founders & IUS
*  Leadership Resources – Book Review of Dangerous Calling by Paul Tripp
*  Leadership Insights from the “Fly on The Wall” – The Incarnation of Truth
*  eStore on The Web
*  In the Next Issue – Expository Leadership
Why Enlist A Consultant?
Congregational coaching brings fresh fuel of process and skills designed to  encourage, challenge, focus, and explore options that move churches from maintenance to mission, from apathy to engagement. The key is a deep        willingness to connect with and follow the Spirit’s leadership.                              (Eddie Hammet, TCP, Face Book, 12/11/12).
The church in America is facing a most significant challenge. The question is this – ‘Will the church embrace Truth Absolute and Propositional and in doing so display the majesty, sovereignty and grace of God, or, will she acquiesce to the culture and continue her slide into what Martin Luther termed another “Babylonian Captivity”?
Why enlist a Consultant? Glad you asked. The collected data documenting the decline of the American Church is virtually irrefutable (cf.The American Church in Crisis, David Olson, Zondervan, 2008) yet, when presented to those labeled as leaders in a local church they respond with a plethora of excuses as to why they do not need to change. Follow this link to a portrait of the true story.(http://missionalchurchnetwork.com/the-marginalization-of-the-church-2/).
The foundational premise that answers this question is this – “If the church, knowing they are in serious decline was going to change, they would have already implemented the processes and resources that would bring genuine transformation.” They have not and in most cases they cannot without outside assistance. Covenant Seminary conducted a five (5) year longitudinal study (http://media.covenantseminary.edu/ADM/PastorsSummitSM.pdf). This study revealed what most Pastors know. They received equipping in theological disciplines but virtually not one course in Leadership or Organizational Transformation! I personally noted this in my own leadership pilgrimage.
The church is a sub-culture that exists within a larger culture. That larger culture has become aggressively anti-theistic. Post-Modernism pervades the larger culture. That world view declares there are no absolutes. The church’s message is premised on the world view that there is one and only one valid world view – Christian Theism. Leading Transformation in the local church requires leadership that is capable of confronting this anti-culture with tact and an effective apologetic. The first challenge is to see God change the church before we attempt to change the world. This is the contribution of a qualified and effective consultant.
Coaching is the buzz word of the day. There are now doctoral programs offering a D.Min. in Coaching. Effective consulting is not primarily possessing a battery of information related to change in the church. The key is knowing what to do, when and why. That skill will never be acquired in any classroom. That skill is acquired in years of ministry experience dealing with the issues the consultant is tasked to address. Good intentions are not enough. The following are reasons that enlisting a competent consultant is a wise and prudent decision for a local church, her leaders and her people. A good Consultant helps the pastor overcome the deficiencies in their capacity to lead the Transformation Process effectively.
1.  Leadership Competence – A survey completed by the Francis Schaeffer Leadership Institute in which they contacted over 1,000 pastors revealed that 75% believe they are unqualified and poorly trained to lead and manage the church. This profile is substantiated by the Covenant Seminary study. A good consultant guides the pastor and other leaders in acquiring the necessary competence and skills to see God bring Transformation.
2.  Purpose – The second leading cause of decline in the local church is the absence of biblical operative purpose. This is purpose that the majority (80%+) of the people know, understand and embrace. Most churches are riding off in multiple directions, various groups competing with one another. A competent consultant guides the leadership and the body in bringing one biblical purpose to ministry – Make Disciples.
3.  Biblical Metric – Nearly all churches measure ministry effectiveness with a simple numerical standard = numbers. A good consultant guides the church in measuring ministry by the transformation of the individual believer and the body as a whole. Edgar Schein declares correctly – ‘What you do not define you cannot measure.’ Defining what a disciple is enables the church to measure with a degree of accuracy the transformation that is or is not taking place in a professed believers life. No transformation may well mean there has been no regeneration.
4.  Objective Evaluation – Churches typically conduct an evaluation of ministry effectiveness on an annual basis if then. Far better to develop an objective standard and apply that standard on a monthly rather than an annual basis. Make corrections and ministry modifications promptly rather than permitting dysfunction to continue for an entire year.
5.  Leadership Selection & Development – I recently had a leader in a large church (1,600) tell me that ‘we choose leaders like the dog catcher.’ His meaning is that any stray that they can coerce to say yes to the nominating committee becomes a leader. What? The Scripture has very clear and compelling standards for those that would occupy a leadership role. Applying this profile requires courage, perseverance and the readiness to graciously resist the pressure of the assembly to perpetuate status quo. When a church has godly leaders that model true discipleship the members of that body will begin to imitate what they see modeled. cf. 1 Cor. 4:14-17.
The first issue for a church to address is their dysfunction. When they have done this they then need to identify and enlist a competent consultant that will treat them with dignity, tell them the Truth and hold them accountable to a biblical profile of a Healthy and Effective ministry. I urge all pastors to take this bold and courageous step today.
A Learning Organization 
David A. Garvin of the Harvard Business School has defined a learning organization as:
“an organization skilled at creating, acquiring, and transferring knowledge, and at modifying its behavior to reflect new knowledge and insights.”
Peter Senge (Fifth Discipline) speaks of generative learning. The church should be a leader in taking the Truth of God’s Special Revelation and applying that Truth to all of life. God’s Truth should reign and rule in virtually ever realm of God’s world. The church and her leaders should shape culture in the application and defense of that Truth. To do that effectively the church must be a “Learning Organization”. Tragically, ‘status quo’ is the norm in local churches. The following link takes the reader to a brief article describing the essence of a Learning Organization. Read, Pray, Think, Apply!
Is the church in which you serve a Learning Organization?

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel.”

Click on the link and reflect on the Incarnation as you listen to “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus”! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sg8OJf40LJE

*  Decision Making Profile

The church has adopted a variety of dysfunctional decision making profiles. The decisions often do not serve the purpose of the church (Make Disciples). The existence of control groups and personal agendas results in perpetual dysfunction and schism in each local assembly.

I encourage my readers to request a copy of this one page article. This profile guides you through a Decision Making Process that is effective and honors the text of Scripture. Decisions in the church must honor the Word of God – always! Call me to review the application of this in the ministry in which you serve. 1 800 472 3764 or info@igniteus.net.

 Partnership – Founders & IUS
IgniteUS is pleased to announce a ministry partnership with Founders Ministries. Go to our Home Page (www.igniteus.net) and click on the “Partners” page for a brief description of this shared endeavor to see God bring Reformation & Renewal to the church in America. Founder’s Home Page is www.founders.org. You will find helpful resources at both sites!
From the inside cover – – Dangerous Calling reveals the truth that the culture surrounding our pastors is spiritually unhealthy–an environment that actively undermines the well-being and efficacy of our church leaders and thus the entire church body.
Here is a book that diagnoses and offers cures for issues that impact every member and church leader, and gives solid strategies for fighting the all-important war that rages in our churches today.
Book Review – Dangerous Calling by Paul Tripp  
This may be the best book I’ve read all year. It’s one of the few books I constantly had to put down. That may sound weird. Don’t you not put down a book you love? you may be thinking. But so much of what Tripp said hit me in the gut. I found myself constantly catching my breath and then meditating and digesting his words.

The dirty little secret of it all is I’m not even a pastor. This book is geared towards pastors but it’s message is worth hearing for everybody. Those sitting in the pew and working a 9 to 5 will benefit from reading Dangerous Calling because it will help us better understand the unique challenges of our pastors and may also give you a glimpse into your own dark heart. Pastors will benefit from reading it because you need someone to pastor you. You need someone to come alongside of you and encourage you and apply the gospel to your heart. Some of you may be fortunate enough to have that; some may not. Regardless you should read this book.

The third group of people who should absolutely read this (like not an option stop reading my review and purchase it right now. No really right now. I’m waiting) is seminary students. You need this book now to put your training in perspective. You need this book to shine the light of the gospel on the darkest corner of your hearts. Dangerous Calling&n bsp;may save your ministry and family heartbreak–just take the time to read and apply the gospel truths within it.

Tripp starts by sharing his own personal struggle in ministry. For years he battled anger. His wife gently confronted him about his anger and he stubbornly brushed it off. He shares the damage it did to his own life and the possible damage it could have done. He also tells us how God slowly chipped away at his sin. He then says, “God was making the anger that I had denied and protected to be like vomit in my mouth” (p. 20). May God do the same with each of our pet sins.

He shares story after story about pastors who flame out or drop out before the race is even started. He shares stories of moral failures and hidden sins. But within all of this brokenness he’s swift and careful to apply the gospel to the reader and to root the Christian’s identity in Christ–not ministry. Tripp admonishes, if you are not feeding your soul on the realities of the presence, promises, and provisions of Christ, you will ask the people, situations, and things around you to be the messiah that they can never be. If you are not attaching your identity to the unshakable love of your Savior, you will ask the things in your life to be your Savior, and it will never happen. If you are not requiring yourself to get your deepest sense of well-being vertically, you will shop for it horizontally, and you will always come up empty. If you are not resting in the one true gospel, preaching it to yourself over and over again, you will look to another gospel t o meet the needs of your unsettled heart (p. 36)

He also encourages pastors not to see “theology as an end in itself rather” than “a means to an end” (p. 44). He argues preaching is not passing along of information but rather passionately stirring of the heart and call for action. It’s also all these things for the pastor himself. He must be obeying the gospel as he preaches it (pp. 105, 155).

I would encourage elders and pastors to gather together and read Dangerous Calling. I would encourage small groups to read it and think of ways to uniquely minister to our pastors. Use the wisdom Tripp provides to pray more urgently and wisely for our pastors. Again I can’t urge seminarians enough to read this and take his counsel to heart. I wish I would have read this before entering seminary. Don’t say no one ever told you.

Review published in http://Grace For Sinners http://grace4sinners.blogspot.com/2012/09/BR-Dangerous-Calling-Paul-David-Tripp.html

Leadership Insights from the”Fly on the Wall“- The Incarnation of Truth

Truth is Absolute, Revealed, Propositional and Incarnate. John’s Gospel (1:18) John tells us that Jesus led God out into the open, made Him known. The verb is exeigeisato. This is exegesis. Jesus exegeted God before a watching world. Jesus said if you have seen me you have seen the Father.

Modeling is the key to disciple-making. Churches are in precipitous decline. One of the major factors in this malaise is the significant absence of the incarnation of Truth. Truth is much more than accurate exegetical precision. It is and must be that. It is much more. Jesus said in the Upper Room – ‘the world will know you are my disciples by the way you love one another’. This is Truth in action. ‘Until conviction is transformed into action, it makes no difference in the world’ (Mohler, The Conviction To Lead, p. 73).

So the question of the hour is this – – “Is Truth Incarnate and visible in the lives of those who profess Christ? Can the watching world see God in you? At this season of the Incarnation we do well to honestly and persistently examine ourselves on this vital issue. HE is with us and He is LORD!

*  eStore on The Web – I am working with our Web Master to create an eStore on our IgniteUS Web Site (www.igniteus.net) . Over the years God has enabled IUS to develop some very beneficial resources. We will make these available with instruction and the option to get coaching for applying them in ministry. More to come on this topic.

Read my BLOG – – www.thetextsays.blogspot.comAlso on the Home Pagewww.igniteus.net – A Monday Morning BLOG. (Currently – Pastoral Implications of The Incarnation) New post every Monday morning. Comments welcome!
Home Page – Click on this link to go to our Home Page: http://www.igniteUS.net/  Click on the text line under the Feature Video that says “See what others are saying” for some recent testimonials. 
IUS Update This Update is sent to you on the 1st and 15th of each month. Please send comments or questions to us at info@igniteUS.net. Or, you may go to our BLOG on the home page of our Web Site. THANKS!


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