I think most people would say I was a good leader while pastoring. All three of my churches grew while I was there. Still, twice I needed to bring in a consultant.
Lyle Schaller was the first consultant. I had been at the church for eleven or twelve years after restarting the church and some of my peers were saying it was time to leave while the leaving was good. However, I didn’t feel as if my ministry was over at that church. So I asked Lyle to come in and evaluate the church, my ministry, and whether he felt I should move on or stay. I’ll never forget, after three days of interviewing, he sat down with my wife and me and said, “Bill, you can stay here as long as you wish.” That was music to my ears. I stayed another ten or eleven years for a total of twenty-four years.
The second time I needed a consultant I asked Kennon Callahan to help push an issue over the edge. I had been trying for a few months to get the church to purchase four acres adjacent to the church property for extra parking. They wanted one million for the four acres. That was a lot of money in 1986, but we needed it to continue growing. Ken came in and within two hours convinced the church to purchase the land.
Those were two of the best decisions I ever made. In both instances I knew what needed to be done but sometimes it’s a wise investment to have an expert from more than fifty miles away confirm what you’ve been saying. It was also the beginning of two great friendships. Both men had a hand in helping me get started in consulting.
So the next time you need confirmation in order to move forward or you need someone to give your leaders that tiny extra push to make the right decision don’t hesitate to call in a consultant. Of course, I’m a bit prejudice about the subject since I’m on the board of Society for Church Consulting.