CDR-MarchApril2014Setting the Congregational Atmosphere

It was a cold, winter day as I cleaned several inches of Michigan snow from my car in the hotel parking lot. The day before, my colleague and I had led a workshop at St. James.

“It was a great crowd, yesterday,” I thought, as I started the car and waited for precious heat to warm my cold hands. The workshop went well, and considering the weather, the crowd was decent. St. James is a good church. The pastor is a hard-working leader. Many of the people are involved. However, quite a few are frustrated. The church has been plateaued and slightly declining for a few years.

A couple of years ago, we had consulted St. James. We diagnosed several issues. They wrote action plans and are beginning to make progress. Yet…there was something else about the church. It had so much going for it, but it seemed like there was some penetrating cloud of…. “Hard to put your finger on it,” I thought.

Welcome heat was finally pouring out the dashboard vents. I picked up my colleague at the front door of the hotel, and we were officially launched to our next mission. We were on our way to Emmanuel. The snow-packed, icy roads would extend our thirty-minute journey to almost an hour. Planning extra time, with the weather in mind, we would make it on time, about ten minutes before the 11:00am service. We were there to attend church, and then join the Church Council for lunch and an exploratory meeting. They were exploring a Diagnostic Consultation.

While these two churches are from the same denominational background, the contrast was striking. As we pulled into one of the empty spaces reserved for visitors, it wasn’t a change in weather. We were about to experience a difference in atmosphere. It started as we entered the front doors and walked into the lobby. “What is that contrast?” I thought, “Is it just me?” No, my colleague felt it too. What is it?

Read here to learn what followed and learn the “Ten Elements of Holy Air”…


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