When a church is struggling with some area(s) of leadership and decision making, they often look for outside assistance. This is a wise move. It is helpful to have an objective third party to come in and provide perspective on the unique challenges each ministry is facing. With the right approach and attitude, church consultants can greatly assist in identifying the root causes of problems and leading church leaders to formulate workable solutions. But consulting work is not easy for several reasons. One major reason why some consulting engagements fail, or at least do not yield significant progress, is because important parties do not fully commit themselves to the process.

Key Players Must Commit

In order for church consultations to be successful, the key decision-makers in a congregation must be actively engaged in the process from start to finish. These key players are typically elders, deacons, staff leaders, and sometimes the senior pastor. In addition to their official roles, the attitude and engagement of informal leaders within the church also have tremendous impact. Their receptiveness to or resistance against the consultant’s findings and recommendations will shape how well the congregation implements change. Therefore, consulting work requires widespread buy-in from both formal and informal church leaders.

Lack of Commitment Shows Up in Various Ways

When key players are not fully committed to the process of church consultation, it often becomes apparent very early on. This lack of commitment displays itself in various ways. Some examples include:

  • Unwillingness or inability to participate in conversations honestly and candidly
  • Refusal to share critical information the consultant requests
  • Disinterest in engaging in recommended assessment processes
  • Failure to establish clear goals for the engagement at the outset
  • Treating the consultant more as a counselor or sounding board than a change agent
  • Partial participation by key figures, especially if certain parties are more enthusiastic about change than others
  • Stalling tactics throughout the process, for instance by extending timetables
  • Overemphasis on the desire to minimize costs rather than prioritize progress


Successful church consulting projects require a wholehearted commitment by key church leaders throughout the entire process. By engaging the consultant collaboratively and decisively, these leaders facilitate meaningful outcomes that enable their congregation to effectively address their challenges, resulting in greater ministry efficacy. Unfortunately, when key players fail to commit fully to the process, the likelihood of the church making meaningful progress with the consultant diminishes significantly.

The quality and depth of your church team’s commitment to the change process will determine how well te consulting engagement works to address your ministry’s challenges. If you are considering church consulting for your congregation, be sure that your church leadership understands this importance of commitment. Encourage them to embrace the opportunity for growth and change with open arms, as this will ultimately serve the greater good of the congregation and its mission.

Article contributed by Interim Pastor and Church Consultant Rev. Dr. David Brown