Ministry of Consulting

Dr. Ray Ellis

September 29, 2009

Proverbs 25:11-13, “Timely advise is as lovely as golden apples in a silver basket. Valid criticism is as treasured by the one who heeds it as jewelry made from finest gold. Faithful messengers are as refreshing as snow in the heart of summer. They revive the spirit of their employer.”

Providing consultation for local congregations is a ministry. As consultants we are involved in diagnosis and analysis, but one of our key opportunities in working with pastors and leaders is to bring about positive change.

If the church has lost its Biblical focus of bringing people to Jesus and making more and better disciples we help the church leadership to get a Biblical Focus and bring together all their resources to become a Great Commission church committed to the process of making disciples: going – evangelizing, baptizing – convert growth, and teaching to obey.

Prayer is one of the keys to a successful consultation. There is usually resistance to coaching churches toward health. Satan wants to keep churches toxic, ingrown and sick. Through fasting and prayer the congregation can defeat the powers of the enemy to keep the church ingrown and toxic.

The Apostle Paul gives us this reassuring Word in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, “We are human, but we don’t wage war with human plans and methods. We use God’s mighty weapons, not mere worldly weapons, to knock down the Devil’s strongholds. With these weapons we break down every proud argument that keeps people from knowing God. With these weapons we conquer their rebellious ideas, and we teach them to obey Christ.”

With Jesus as our guide we come alongside the pastoral staff and people and identify the toxic elements in the church. In the power of the Holy Spirit the Devil is defeated and the church is coached along toward health.

Churches that I have worked with in the past tend to get stuck in SOS – same o same o. We all know that the sign of a dying church is an unchanging church in a changing community and culture.

To the local congregation that feels like they are surrounded by insurmountable blocks and obstacles to grow as consultants we bring hope and options back toward health. I believe the Presence of the Lord is surrounding every congregation where people are gathered to seek the Lord with authenticity. The Lord wants to come and bless if they will only listen to His voice. The consultant comes alongside to help open new ways to see the Lord at work.

In 2 Kings 6:15-17 Elisha’s home is surrounded by the army of Aram, troops, horses and chariots were everywhere. When the servant of Elisha saw that they were surrounded he cried out: “What will we do now?

This is the cry of many churches that are stuck and declining or holding on till Jesus comes. “What will we do now?” Elisha prayed for his servant: “O Lord, open his eyes and let him see!” “The Lord opened his servant’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire.” 2 Kings 6:”17

As coaches and consultants we have the opportunity to pray and ask the Lord to open the eyes of pastors and church leaders to see new ways of doing ministry to become a Great Commission Church. The power of God is available if only their spiritual eyes are open.

As consultants and coaches we put on the full armor of God. We are in constant prayer to have eyes to see and ears to hear what God wants us to identify as possible blocks and barriers keeping the church sick and unfruitful.

As consultants we help churches discover and focus on their strengths. As consultants we are involved in the ministry of encouragement. Proverbs 16:24 “Kind words are like honey – sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.”

We look at the background of the congregation but we don’t dwell on the past we focus on the future. Our task is to help the church prepare for the future.

The Apostle Paul was committed to the ministry of encouragement.

Colossians 2:1-2 “I want you to know how much I am struggling for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally. My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ,”

Colossians 4:7-8 “Tychicus will tell you all the news about me. He is a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. I am sending him to you for the express purpose that you may know about our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts.

1st Thessalonians 4:18 “Therefore encourage each other with these words.”

1st Thessalonians 5:11 “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”

Discouragement is a destroyer. It sees the obstacle but faith sees the way out. When you are discouraged, you are telling God that He cannot help you. Joshua sent out spies to spy out the promise land they brought back a report that discouraged the Israelites; they saw the people of the land as giants that they could not overcome. They had forgotten that it was God who said they should go and possess the land. They should have known that since He said they should go, He would be with them because the battle is the Lords and He will fight it. These people eventually provoked God to anger and they all perished in the wilderness. They did not get to the promise land.

Rather than thinking about the worst of the church’s situation we need to trust God and think about the best of their situation. We need to practice what Paul says in Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”

Surround yourself with positive people. With positive people by your side you can turn obstacles into opportunities. Paul wrote in 2 Cor. 4:8-9 (Living Bible), “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but not crushed and broken. We are perplexed because we don’t know why things happen as they do, but we don’t give up and quit. We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going.”

I realize that part of our mission as a consultant is to give a spiritual check up for churches and assist them in taking a reality check. On some critical issues we care enough to confront, but we also need to help churches focus on their strengths.

We can determine to be an encourager. Ephesians 4:29, “Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear you.”

When working with Pastors and leaders we come along side as a “Barnabas.” Barnabas was called the “Son of encouragement.”

An encourager we believe the best in the churches situation. We magnify the good and minimize the bad. Proverbs 16:24, “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.” Encouragers look beyond the immediate pain or suffering and see what God is painting on the big picture. Encouragers lift the vision of people so they can seek how their current challenging circumstance can be used by God to bring good.

Someone has written:

I watched them tear a building down;

band of men in a busy town.

With a `HO-HEAVE-HO’ and a lusty yell;

They swung a beam and a sidewalk fell.

I asked the foreman, `Are these men skilled?

And the men you’d hire if you had to build?’

He gave a laugh and said, `No indeed!

Common labor is all I need.

I can easily wreck in a day or two,

What builders have taken a year to do.’

And I thought to myself as I went on my way,

Which of these roles have I tried to play?

Am I a builder who works with care?

Measuring life by the rule and square?

Am I shaping my deeds to a well-made plan,

Patiently doing the best I can?

Or am I a wrecker, who walks the town,

Content with the labor of tearing down?

As coaches and consultants we are builders. We build people up and give words of encouragement.

Let’s look a the good and build up, life up, cheer up, call up, praise of the church of Jesus Christ and everyone in it.

Psalm 19:14, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my hart be acceptable in your sight O Lord my strength and my redeemer.”