I live on a tree farm. We plant little seedlings and nurture them for hardwood timber (about 50 years from now).
I was petrified to see the young trees (about 5,000) covered with poison ivy. My first reaction was to buy spray, hire a dozen workers, and spend a small fortune. Then I decided to call Tom, our forestry consultant. Imagine my surprise when he said, “Don’t bother. Trees outgrow poison ivy. Actually, the presence of poison ivy shows you have a great site for growing trees.”
Nothing like an expert with experience to change your worldview, save your money, and help you grow a forest for the future. I guess that’s why people also go to the dentist, get medical checkups, and hire a tax accountant.
Then why, at a time when Christian churches of all kinds are flat-lined and losing their grip on the culture, do churches resist getting help from an expert? I’ve been thinking about this for years.
I believe there are three reasons:
- Ignorance. Leaders who use many experts in their business lives leave this part of their brains at the door of the church. “There are church consultants?”
- Pride. Pastors and staff suffer from insecurity. “If we get someone in here, it means we don’t know it all.”
- Fear. “An outside consultant may find something we are doing wrong.”
Bringing in an outsider with expertise is “business as usual” for the New Testament church. They weren’t called “consultants.” Sometimes they were called “apostles,” sometimes “prophets.” If that hadn’t been part of God’s operational plan, you wouldn’t have their consultation reports – about half of your Bible.
For God’s sake, get over it! The effectiveness of most churches is dismal. Don’t you think you could do better? Is there any room for improvement?