Thom Rainer, president of Lifeway Christian Resources, and former church consultant, shared four observations me made from his 500 consultations:
First, our consultations focused much attention on matters of leadership. We found that many church leaders were in trouble because of poor leadership skills and poor interpersonal skills. Most of these leaders were well trained theologically and biblically, but they weren’t prepared to lead an organization or deal with people issues.
Second, our team was often perplexed at the weak evangelistic endeavors of churches. It seemed in many congregations that the Great Commission was not taken seriously. It wasn’t that evangelistic efforts were done poorly; they weren’t done at all.
Third, we saw that church leaders needed the eyes of an outsider. One of the most common components of our consultations was "the first-time guest." Someone on our team would make his or her first appearance at the church at a worship service. That person would note carefully everything from parking to greeters to the worship service to friendliness to the church facilities. We would then provide the church leadership with a first-time guest verbatim. That report alone proved to be one of the most helpful parts of our consultation. It was also one of the most surprising to many church leaders.
Finally, we learned that pastors and other church leaders are often hurting. Sometimes the greatest assistance we could provide was a listening ear and the promise of prayer.