Churches often function until they can’t. Sometimes they are not prepared for the changing demands of operating a charity, other times they are not equipped to make the next step in one or more of their ministries. This along with unexpected clashes of ideas or unforeseen clashes of personalities can lead to issues that, if left unaddressed, will impair the church’s ability to function.
Unhealthy churches don’t happen overnight. Pastors don’t become disillusioned in a day. Church boards don’t become ineffective because of one meeting. Leaders don’t end up in a stalemate from one disagreement. Ministries don’t become ineffective or outdated for no reason. Policies don’t become irrelevant or unenforceable all of a sudden.
Getting out in front of potential issues is preferable but not always possible.
Addressing issues as soon as they are identified is encouraged but not always enacted.
Restoring peace after an issue has created friction is required but not always realized.
For a church to grow and sustain that growth it must be healthy. Being healthy is best achieved when preventative steps are taken. Preventative steps limit the amount of unhealthy habits that form but as long as humans are part of the collective of Christ followers, it is impossible to catch all unhealthy habits before they have a negative influence on the collective. Once an unhealthy habit begins to influence the church, its symptoms may be obvious but their cause can remain a mystery. Unhealthy habits are contagious, the longer they exist the more people they infect.
If an issue is not addressed preventatively then it must be identified as soon as possible after the symptoms appear. The longer the symptoms/issue exists the more work it will take to restore peace. If it is not addressed the church runs the risk of declining attendance and the resignation of staff members and leaders.
My job as a Transitional Pastor and as a Church Consultant are the same, assess the issues by looking at the history, people’s perception of that history, their behaviours and responses to each other created out of that history and then find a way to implement lasting change and restore peace.
The difference between a Transitional Pastor and Church Consultant is one of timing. Addressing issues can take place before or after they lead to a pastor leaving or being fired, the choice is yours.