Church Consultants have a tendency to look at the parts of the church rather than looking at the whole. Healthy churches are made up of healthy parts. One must be careful to not misdiagnose the symptoms. The degree to which a leader can diagnose is dependent on the severity of the problem. Cheryl Mabey illustrates this complexity with an analogy of a doctor and his patient:
In a Type I Situation, the patient has an infection which the physician can treat with an antibiotic. The problem is relatively simple and the physician (leader) has the resources to treat the disease.
In a Type II Situation, the patient has a chronic disease, such as high blood pressure. The physician may treat it partially through medication, but the patient shares in his or her own care by monitoring diet, exercise, stress, or other life-style factors. Both the physician and patient share in the responsibility for solving the problem.4
In a Type III situation, the patient has a medically untreatable disease, such as an advanced stage of cancer. The options for treatment are negligible and the physician recognizes that the patient assumes responsibility for facing the future. The physician may be a support, but the locus of power in handling such a crisis is the patient’s alone.
The Tennessee Baptist Convention is composed of churches that fit each of these types. Ministering and restoring these churches to health depends on the situation. Consultants and Coaches are all needed if Type II and Type III churches are to be restored to health.