21 Jul, 2015 What is unique about All Together Consulting?
Why pay attention to this initiative and subscribe when others seem to offer similar stuff?
It’s a good question that we involved have also had to think about. Lets consider it.
AT Consulting is an effort designed to help pastors create a sustainable culture of culturally appropriate personal witness in and through their local church. In particular, it is about helping church members engage those around them in some quite natural spiritual conversations (‘evangelism mobilisation’ in a way that is geared to our times and culture). The founding values are the Great Commission of Matthew 28 along with the mobilisation of the saints to ministry (every member a minister) as in Ephesians 4. But what is unique?
(A) One thing AT Consulting offers is a training content that pastors can use with their members that is geared to our times – but we are not entirely unique in this. While I believe we articulate a range of content in a way I’ve not heard before (gospel, team, conversation and Holy Spirit), and also articulate specific areas within this at least as well as any others I’ve yet read or heard, in the most important area of equipping (conversational skills for spiritual conversations with multi-religious Westerners) I know of a couple of other books that articulate things just as well. So what we offer isn’t entirely unique.
(B) A second thing we are harping on about is the importance of building a CULTURE of evangelism. In our lingo, outreach programs are like toppings on a pizza. The culture is like the pizza base that holds the pizza together. This perspective is foundational to what we are offering churches, because no real change will result without it. Yet I’ve heard another speaker talk recently about culture (though in a more general sense rather than with regard to outreach), know of another ministry in NZ that uses similar rhetoric, and recently discovered a new book that says similar things also. So, we are not entirely unique in this focus either.
So what are we offering that is unique?
What is unique is that we are not only talking about the importance of building a culture of contextualised perspectives and skills for personal witness – we are (C) offering a strategy that can undergird all the talk, to help a pastor turn this into a reality. (D) In addition we are offering pastors a mechanism for ongoing encouragement and motivation that could help them sustain the focus.
Why are these things so important?
A pastor does about 10 different things. He or she is good at 3 of them, average in 4 of them, and weak in the other 3. Usually evangelism and evangelism mobilisation are things that pastors are average or not good at.
The average pastor sitting in a meeting, hearing a talk about the importance of building a culture of something, understands what is being said. They walk away convinced. But when they are back in their church, faced with the reality of all the things they need to do, they are quickly absorbed back into what is happening – and so they continue to be good at 3 things, average at 4, and weak in the other 3. Talking about change doesn’t change anything. Understanding the importance of building a culture of evangelism doesn’t help a pastor achieve it. It is not easy to become strong in something that you are average or weak in. This won’t happen by accident. While some who have A-type personalities and certain natural leadership abilities might be able to apply principles and bring sustained change in areas they are NOT strong it – most are not wired like this. This is the reality.
We are unique in that we are also offering a strategically considered mechanism that can help a pastor go home and bring change, and an encouragement structure that could help them to sustain that focus if they were truly convinced the change was needed. As their actions then become habits through being repeated for 3 or 4 years, the pastor becomes strong at 4 things, not just 3. Culture is changed, and results follow!
Results in this area are important!
There is one more area we are unique it. (E) We are here! While a European of American speaker may articulate some areas just as well, they arrive and then leave – while we stay. While their voice is good to have, because it is fresh, we can offer ongoing relationship combined with great content and sound strategy that can help to ‘capture’ whatever is taught by any speaker as part of a movement of churches who sincerely want to bring change, and who are going to see that happen because they are going to join hands here in New Zealand to see that happen!
There is great potential in this if our churches can join hands in it. Momentum is a powerful thing. With a group of churches choosing to value positive change in this area encouragement will exist that will help many pastors for whom evangelism is not a strength, to sustain the focus and bring the change!
In summary: We are nothing great. We are not the best in the world. We are not necessarily the best in communicating various things… But we are here, and we are quite uniquely bringing strategy and a level of localised encouragement to undergird all the talk. If a number of churches were willing to admit that they might need this, and to choose to utilise what we might offer here… …I believe there is potential for something quite significant to happen here in ‘little old New Zealand’!