To Close or Not to Close

One of the challenges facing many of our churches is whether to keep their doors open or to move in a different direction. This has been especially true after the 2020 pandemic. Over the past 30 years, churches have gone from full time pastors to part time pastors. In our denominational region of upstate New York, 75-80% of the churches are only able to support a part time pastor due to their small size. In addition, many churches are having to deal with another reality-can we stay open? In my various contacts with churches, it is not uncommon to worship in churches with less than 20 in attendance. In one of the congregations I have preached at, there was a grand total of four (including myself)! Coupled with limited finances and oversized, often ancient buildings, many churches are struggling with the possibility of closure.

Closure is not a topic many like to talk about. Death is a topic that is often avoided whether it pertains to individuals or to churches. Such discussion is like the elephant in the room. We know it is there, but we choose to ignore it. As a consultant, I know I struggle with this reality too. I want to give churches hope but increasingly I am coming to realize that my consulting may also include the role of hospice care for churches. How that care looks in my future ministry remains to be seen.

If your church is struggling with whether or not to close, I would like to recommend a wonderful book that may help you in your decision. The book is called, “Legacy Churches” by Stephen Gray and Franklin Dumond. This book would be a helpful study for your leaders if you attend one of those churches that are struggling to keep the doors open. Also, I would like you to know that I am available to meet with you to help give you some guidance on these concerns. Feel free to contact me for more information.

Transitioning from a Pandemic

We certainly live in challenging times. The pandemic has had a huge impact on the church and many churches are still struggling with declining attendance, concerns about the future, and trying to discern what God’s will is for their congregation. One of the huge impacts of the pandemic has been the acceleration of congregations that can no longer afford to financially support a pastor full time. While this trend was happening even before the pandemic, the events since 2020 have made the less than fully compensated pastor church a reality.

Yet, the trend toward so called “bi-vocational” or “partially compensated pastors” is not necessarily a bad thing. This reality is forcing the church to look at its ministries and also to look at the role of the pastor. Earlier in the 20th century up to the 1990s, pastors were often treated as the “religious experts” who were trained to do all of the “churchy” stuff. Seminaries trained them to be public speakers, fundraisers, administrators, counselors, communicators, evangelists, and a host of other tasks involving Christian service. Yet, if one looks at the New Testament, the primary task of the pastor was to preach the Word of God and to equip believers to be involved in the ministry of the church. Often, early church leaders had a number of sources for support. Paul, along with Priscilla and Aquila, were tentmakers in addition to their missionary service. Could it be that this new reality facing our churches is God’s way of returning us to our roots in which the whole church is involved in Christian service? Could it be that, since pastors may now spend less time doing the “religious stuff”, it will set the people of God to truly be the church-serving God and the people around them?

This fall, my consulting ministry has taken a new turn in that I am more heavily involved in training lay people to serve in the church. Increasingly, I am seeing more and more congregations being led by well trained, spirit-filled lay pastors and lay leaders. In addition to the lay study classes I am teaching, I am leading a retreat on “Part Time Churches.” Actually, I do not like the term “part-time.” Being a follower of Jesus is a “full-time” calling. However the retreat addresses the opportunities and challenges for churches whose pastor has multiple sources of income and support. Please pray for me during this exciting time of serving the Lord in this new reality.

Consulting in the “New Normal”

Little did we realize that we would be entering a second year dealing with the pandemic. Covid-19 has created a number of new challenges as well as opportunities for the local church. Churches that were formally “non-tech” have become “tech savvy” by live streaming their services and by using social media. Consulting has taken on a new focus too as 4T…I-40 is in the process of using platforms such as Zoom to offer some of its services. If you would like to find out more information on how 4T…I-40 can help your congregation face the “new normal,” feel free to contact us at info@consulting-pastor.com or call or text us at 607-857-5174.

Consulting in a Pandemic

COVID-19 has had a huge impact on all of us. It has forced churches to cancel its worship services and to find creative ways of doing online ministry. The virus has caused many of the church’s programs to grind to a screeching halt. However, the virus has opened up new opportunity to minister to people outside the church’s four walls. The use of technology and social media has been used by God as a tool to reach our communities and the world.

The big question facing the church, however, is what will ministry look like when congregations return to their buildings to gather for worship? How will the church “do ministry” in a post-pandemic world? What changes will take place?

It is in light of these questions that the need for congregational assessment and direction will be crucial. 4T…I-40 Church Consulting Services is committed to helping congregations work through the new reality that every church will face as it looks at the future of its ministry. There are a number of ways that 4T..I-40 can help your church including: 1) a complete congregational assessment and consultation, 2) workshops and retreats, 3) supply preaching for churches without pastors and, 4) working with church leadership. If your congregation needs help with any of these services, please contact us.

Summer-Fall 2019

4T..I-40 is available to lead a workshop in your church or to schedule a future speaking engagement at your church. Rev. J. Steven Reynolds, church consultant, is available to preach at your church in the coming months. Feel free to contact him.

4T..I-40 is also available to provide complete consultation services for your church. Check out some of the links on this page for the consultation services that are provided.

The Latest News: Fall 2018

4T..I-40 continues to provide church consulting services designed especially for small congregations. This fall, the ministry has been involved in a number of opportunities. In order to better equip lay leaders and lay pastors for current and future ministry, 4T…I-40’s consultant has taught a ten-week Church Administration class offered online in cooperation with the American Baptist Churches of New York State. 4T..I-40’s consultant also participated in a workshop with two other pastors on Baptism, Weddings, and Funerals. This workshop was conducted to equip lay pastors and pastors for these essential ministries.

In November, 4T…I-40’s consultant will be leading a conflict resolution seminar at a local church. This one day workshop is designed to assist the church by helping it to be more effective when differences arise.

4T…I-40 continues to provide pulpit supply for churches needing a preacher to fill an empty pulpit.  4T…I-40 is available to provide pulpit supply especially in the New York/Pennsylvania area.

4T…I-40 is available in the coming months to provide a number of services. Be sure to navigate this web site to see the various services that are available.

4T..I-40 Turns Five Years Old This Spring!

It is hard too believe that this spring, 4T…I-40 Church Consulting Services will be celebrating its fifth anniversary. Started in May 2013, the ministry has conducted consultations, workshops, and retreats for over 20 churches and Christian organizations. In addition, 4T..I-40’s pulpit supply/speaking engagements have taken place in at least 26 different churches including opportunities to preach for several weeks in a number of congregations. 2017 was a busy year as the consultant preached at least 30 times during the year. In all of this, all glory goes to God who has opened up a number of doors for this service to continue. Praise be to God!

4T…I-40’s primary focus in 2018 continues to provide affordable consultation, training and speaking services particularly for the small church. In the coming months, 4T..I-40 will be taking a hiatus from June 9-July 27. But if your church would like for 4T…I-40 to lead a workshop or retreat, conduct a small church consultation, or need your pulpit supplied, feel free to call/text 607-857-5174 or email at info@consulting-pastor.com. 4T…I-40 has open dates in August through the rest of 2018.

 

A New Year is Coming. What are God’s Plans for Your Church?

Christmas time is a busy time of year and often thinking about God’s vision for your church is the last thing on your mind. But in just a few weeks, a new year begins and God wants great things to happen in your church. 4T..I-40 exists to help your church look at its ministry and how it can impact your community for the gospel. 4T..I-40 offers a number of services whether it be a church consultation, a retreat, a workshop, or even pulpit supply. 4T…I-40 specializes particularly in helping small churches during periods of transition.

As you begin to pray about the coming year, why not consider using our services to give you a fresh look at your ministry and God’s direction. Feel free to text us at 607-857-5174 or send an e-mail to info@consulting-pastor.com

4T…I-40 is Available to Help Your Church!

Summer will soon end and, before we know it, autumn will be upon us. After a time of vacations and recreation, the fall season is also a perfect time to start a new season of ministry in the church. To assist your congregation, 4T…I-40 is available to provide a number of consultation services tailored made for your church. Feel free to browse around our web site to find out what services 4T…I-40 can provide for your church.

Feel free to contact us at info@consulting-pastor.com. If you do so, you can request a free diagnostic tool just for your church. Just make a note in your reply that you wish to receive the diagnostic tool.

Welcome to Our New Web Site!

Welcome to 4T…I-40 Church Consulting Service’s new web site. Feel free to browse and find out the church consultation services provided along with some information about our consultant. 4T…I-40 is committed to providing affordable consultation services for even the smallest congregation. If you have ant questions, feel free to contact us at info@consulting-pastor.com or call or text us at 607-857-5174.