Four Options to Get Churches Unstuck


Congregations get stuck.

Churches get stuck trying to rebuild Sunday School.

Churches get stuck trying to reach people in their neighborhood.

Churches get stuck trying to resolve internal conflict.

When congregations get so stuck they can’t pull themselves out of the ditch, they look for help. I recommend churches first consider what kind of assistance they require, then look for outside leaders to provide that kind of expertise.

Maybe your church is stuck right now. Or, was stuck in the past. Consider which of the following would best assist you church in getting unstuck.


Catalysts provide inspiration or motivation to move forward. They help leaders answer the question, “Where?” As in, “Where could a new vision lead us?” Catalysts are most effective when your congregation is stuck in the status quo or on a plateau. They are relatively easy to identify, like a cardinal in a flock of sparrows. We resonate with catalysts even in casual conversations. Catalysts are naturally gifted at asking offbeat questions, floating crazy ideas and articulating deep thoughts. Catalysts are the least expensive of the four options, often costing no more than a cup of coffee and a couple hours of sleep.


Consultants provide training or expertise that is necessary for your church to move forward. They specialize in answering the question, “How?” How can we revitalize this church? How do we launch this new ministry? There are a wide range of consultants, ranging from an experienced church staff member to staff from a consulting organization. The key to finding the right consultant is being clear about the obstacles you face. When looking for a consultant, I first ask peers for recommendations, and secondarily search the web. The right consultant will align with your church’s mission and values. The cost of consultants varies greatly.


Coaches exist largely because inspiration and guidance are not always enough to get unstuck. Coaches help leaders answer the question, “What?” What are the first steps? What resources do we need? What is our time frame? Coaches are experts at listening. They provide accountability as you move forward with a project. Coaches are especially helpful when you want personal growth to accompany your quest to reach a goal. Coaches usually cost less than a consultant, but more than a catalyst.


The counselor is needed the least often yet is the most vital when needed. The effectiveness of the other kinds of assistance are often contingent on the emotional well-being of congregations. Counselors help us answer the question, “Why.” They help congregational leaders delve into the past to help the church deal with present issues. Churches most often turn to grief counselors or reconcilers for this kind of help. The cost can be significant, but is usually worth the investment.

If I can help you sort out which fits your context best this season of ministry, shoot me a message. If you know a congregation that is stuck, send the congregation a link to this post.

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