Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

October 27, 2002


Working as a consultant in retirement has many advantages


            The idea of working with pastors and churches as a consultant is beginning to appeal to me. It has more advantages than simply going here and there and yonder to preach on Sunday mornings.

            The word “consultant” is more palatable than “expert.” Most people are suspicious of experts. For a pastor to wear such a label would seem a bit incongruous. So I would never think of presenting myself as a church “expert.”

            I do have a half century of experience in ministry. I have served churches of many different sizes. I don’t know everything, but I have acquired some knowledge of what makes a church come alive.

            Along the way I learned some of the skills which a pastor must develop in order to serve a congregation effectively.

            Much of what I learned, I learned as most of us do, the hard way. I discovered what not to do again. I have spent a lot of time wiping egg off my face and retrieving my foot from my mouth.

            I realize too that many people have no need of consultants. They have sufficient gifts and graces to make it on their own. They are skilled and creative. They learn quickly through “on the job” training.

            Then it is true that no consultant could ever be wise enough to help everybody. What works well in one situation may not work at all in other places.

            Ministry is not mechanical; it is mostly relational. Still there is a great deal of methodology which is necessarily universal. One must, for example, never allow laziness to take the place of hard work.

            Another constant is a positive attitude toward the people one serves. Negative attitudes always produce negative results that are injurious to Christian ministry.

            What appeals to me is the possibility that there may be some pastors, and some churches, with whom I could share what I have learned, as one beggar sharing with another beggar where to find bread.

            Church for many people today is boring. Fifty percent of the American people have no serious relationship to Christ or to any local church. Yet the church has the best answer to all the hard questions of life.

            If we are willing to work at it, we can find ways to make church exciting and appealing to those whom we call “the unchurched.” Pastors can learn how to preach so powerfully that people not only stay awake, they respond to God!

            Key leaders in churches can do many things to attract people to their worship and fellowship. They can change it from an inclusive “club” to a House of God where all people are not only welcome, but welcomed with love.

            Maybe I am kidding myself, maybe not. This much I know: I find it exciting to share with pastors and church people some of the things they can do to rev up the engine of the church and allow God to give it a significant influence in the community.

            Call me consultant, friend, brother, or just an old, retired preacher. But give me half a chance and I am ready to talk, share, pray, and consult until the cows come home.

            And if I get a chance to preach a little on the side, then that is like having strawberries on the ice cream!