Over the course of a church’s life, as it goes through seasons of changes, transitions, opportunities, or challenges, a person or a team of people external to a local church can bring valuable insights, perspectives, and expertise to help the church. While some churches rely on faith only for whatever situation they’re facing as a faith community, many other churches put their faith into action and practically work out their ministry by accessing tools and resources that are readily available in our world today.
In mainstream American among majority-culture churches, church consulting and church consultants have become a significant profession, career, even industry. There’s more than a handful of companies and organizations like the Society For Church Consulting, Center for Congregational Health, Effective Church Group, Auxano, The Unstuck Group, The Malphurs Group, etc etc etc.
Who has Expertise in Asian American Churches?
While church consulting has become much more acceptable and common in American churches with more organizational development and business processes, it’s comparatively less common in BIPOC contexts, like Asian and Asian American churches. Thus, there are seemingly fewer BIPOC church consultants who’d be able to do as a full-time career.
Consulting and coaching does require competencies, skills, expertise, and experiences, just as much as pastoring, preaching, and teaching requires. And for a wide variety of reasons, traditional churches like many Asian and Asian American churches currently tend to be, are reluctant to invest finances for church consulting in the same manner that these churches are willing to invest finances into church staffing for evangelism, discipleship, and missions.
So what do churches do when they need outside expertise to solve complex problems or want to maximize new opportunities? Some can work with dominant-culture church consultants and have to figure out how to do the cross-cultural translation to be effective, or get sub-optimal solutions.
Others will tap their personal Asian American network through their denominations, associations, pastors’ fellowship, or seminaries, to seek out an experienced pastor or professor to help out with an occasional consultation. With this approach, churches can find a much better cultural fit, but may not have the depth of expertise (per se) that comes from a full-time consultant.
As I (DJ Chuang) have noted in my book, there are predictable seasons that churches go through over the course of its life. And, especially during seasons of transitions, that’s when outside expertise is most obviously needed, valuable, and beneficial.
Why is that? Because most people can figure out how to keep things operational, running smoothly in maintenance mode. But when changes are happening in a church (e.g. a pastor retires or resigns, a church relocates, a church needs to raise extra funding for a building, a church is growing and needs new staffing, unresolved conflicts) or a change is needed soon (e.g. aging congregation, plateau or decline in worship attendance, decline in giving, changing demographics in the community, lack of vitality in congregational life, ineffectiveness with ministry programs, for example), that where seeking God is prayer AND seeking help from God’s people is wise to consider. That’s where a consultant or trusted advisor can help.
May I answer this question: Why DJ Chuang could be a valuable consultant and trusted advisor for your church? Because he has both experience and expertise. As an Asian American of Chinese heritage, I am shy and reluctant to sell my services or boast about myself. So allow me to share in the 3rd person.
He’s written a book about it, MultiAsian.Church: A Future for Asian Americans in a Multiethnic World, as featured on this website. He’s blogged 20 years about Asian American Christianity. He continues podcasting for years on related topics. It’s all in the open for you to review for reliability, credibility, and authority. That’s his track record. He is honest and sincere with what he knows and many things he doesn’t know. And he’s available for a call by voice or video to discuss if he might be of help for your church.
He’ll be up front with your church that he isn’t able to help with some things, like: churches looking to hire a pastor or staff, or a pastor looking to find a church ministry opportunity, or intergenerational conflict resolution, or revival services. He has been invited as a speaker for sermons, seminars, and special presentations about next generation Asian Americans. He does have a compelling testimony with his lived experiences in mental health struggles.
How many church consultants are there?
Short answer: an estimated number between 3,000 to 7,000 in North America. Here’s 2 citations—
Based on our best estimates, there are 3,000 to 7,000 active ministry consultants and coaches in North America (including part time, full time and denominational).The 2010 Church Consulting Future Trends Report (Effective Church Group)
With approximately 300,000 houses of worship in the United States and anDr. Karen L. Cress (President, Culture Shift, LLC) — “Church Consultants” in Journal of Practical Consulting, Vol. 6 Iss. 1, Summer 2018, pp. 55-64.
estimated 3,000 consultants working with those churches (Los Angeles Times, 2013;
Sataline, 2013a, 2013b) …
How much does church consulting cost?
According to this article by The Malphurs Group, who provide consulting services at subsidized rates:
If you belong to a denomination, you likely can get free or very cheap help from a local association or state group. …
Conversely, well-known consulting groups often charge $10k-$20k for their process. Some groups charge double this amount for large churches. …
Because The Malphurs Group is non-profit, and our overhead is subsidized partly by donor partners, we are able to offer first-class services at fees your church can afford. Our self-guided process is accessible for under $1,000 and on-site processes cost under $5,000. A process with multiple on-site visits costs under $10k. …10 Church Consulting Essentials To Know Before Hiring a Consultant