Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

October 20, 2002


On the road again giving churches a wake-up call


            When my dad was forced to retire at age 70, his company asked him to serve as a consultant for two more years. For his services he was paid a modest fee.

            Dad had managed the Elmore County Farmers Exchange in Wetumpka for 15 years. He liked his work and did not want to quit. Under his management the company had experienced steady, significant growth.

His work as a consultant was not very demanding, and he soon wearied of it. Dad never enjoyed watching other people work. He was a “hands-on” person all his life.

Since my retirement I have become a consultant of sorts. The pay is modest, like it was for dad, but it is work. Like dad, I have always enjoyed working. Actually the work of a pastor has been for me more like fun than hard work.

Now that I have graduated from pastoral service, I am finding new fun in traveling around to speak in various churches. Many pastors want me to come and “do” a revival for them. But I feel the need to offer more than preaching.

So for want of a better term, I am calling it consulting. In the business world “experts” are paid big bucks to work as consultants. What I am trying to do is to offer excellent advice and encouragement to pastors and churches, help that may have eternal value to those I serve.

I don’t have a set fee. I am afraid if I set one, somebody would decide I wasn’t worth it. So I am content to let each church pay whatever they wish. Such a plan frees me to go anywhere I am invited, to small churches as well as larger ones.

I don’t have a Greyhound bus and a band to accompany me, but I do have my wife as my partner in this new work. We are having a ball working together. So far being with each other 24-7 has been more of a blessing than a problem.

I like working with Dean so much that I have begun thinking about her like my credit card. I don’t want to “go anywhere without” her. We are a team and we compliment each other.

Dean is a better speaker than I am, so I try to speak first. More than once I have found it difficult to “follow” her. But usually the Spirit blends our thoughts and helps us to come across as a team. When that happens, our joy overflows.

This summer Dean and I had fun consulting with the good people at First United Methodist Church in Enterprise for three days. We did some preaching and teaching. We had the people meet in small groups to share their hearts with one another.

We asked them some heart-to-heart questions:

“Is your stuff coming between you and God?”

“Do you love God more than money?”

“Are you giving God a pittance instead of a tithe of your income?

“Are you weary of being a half-hearted Christian?”

“Do you need to repent and receive forgiveness for your sins?”

“Are you willing to forgive the people who have hurt you and ask God to heal your broken relationships?”

“Are you and your church focused on the true mission of God to go and make disciples?”

“Do you need to stop being a spectator and become a player for God?”

“Do you need to prioritize your life to make more time for God, in prayer and Bible reading?”

“What are you doing to make a difference as a servant of Christ?”

“Are you inviting the hurting, the hopeless, and the lonely, to find help and hope in your church?”

“Is your church open to and welcoming to all persons?

“Does your church offer a significant ministry to the poor?”

“What new ministry or outreach would you like to help your church begin?”

            “Are you willing to stop complaining and start encouraging others?”

            These are not questions for sissies. They are tough questions that church people need to face. Pastors need to help their people wrestle with more weighty matters than the color of the carpet and the placement of the furniture.

 In a world being ripped apart by godless terrorism and unprecedented violence, we cannot afford for churches to be satisfied with fish fries and yard sales.

The good news is that, given a chance, people are willing to deal with the burning issues of our time, and to make a new start.

That is the nature of my new consultant work – giving pastors and churches a wake-up call.  As long as God and a few preachers give me a chance to do it, I intend to do it.

Being on the road again is not so bad. It gives me a chance to build a fire under some folks and to encourage them to get busy doing the things that matter the most.

Mainly that means to live like God wants us to live and do all we can to make this world a better place for all people.

Come to think of it, I may have more fun being a consultant than my dad did.