Friday, June 21, 2019: “A Call to Action” To Affirm and Build is a Learned Behavior. Early in my ministry I was blessed to learn many things from the father of modern church consulting – Lyle Schaller. Lyle was the author of 55 books and the editor of various series involving a couple dozen more books. More than that he was in and out of thousands of congregations over a 50-year ministry that instilled in him some great wisdom.
One of his principles about consulting with congregations is that he always sought to affirm what was right about congregations, and then seek to help them build on that. He, you, and me all know that finding things wrong with congregations comes naturally for almost everyone. Thinking first about what is right with congregations is a learned skill or behavior. It does not come naturally.
During the first ten years of my church consulting ministry, I also learned many things from Kennon Callahan who is best known for his book Twelve Keys to an Effective Church. Kennon added to my learning from Lyle by indicating that you can fix everything that is wrong with a congregation and bring it right up to neutral. It is not what is wrong with a congregation, once fixed, that will allow it to soar with faith. It is what is right, good, and strong on which the future can be built. How is this going in your congregation? Is affirming and building a learned behavior in your congregation? Does it come naturally? My call to action for you is to engage in dialogue which will focus on affirming the characteristics and practices of your congregation, its leaders, and its followers. Then search for ways you can enhance these strengths to live into the future to which God’s empowering vision is calling you.