How Being Vulnerable Can Be A Best Practice (Part 1)
by Certified Church Consultant, Dr. Michael Rackley
Church Consulting is fairly new to me, as I recently became certified in 2018. My background is in technology, education for about twenty-plus years, church planting, and pastoring for ten years. Also, being a fourth-generation Christian on my mother and father side of the family I have earned a few accolades:
- Undrafted Free Agent
- Senior Pastor
- Published Author
- Professor of the Year 2019-20
- Certified Church Consultant
When one has a rich history in a particular area of their life or a certain level of success, we tend to apply “I am the expert mentality” to every area of our life as we embark upon new careers, degrees, certifications, hobbies, etc.
In 2021 on a Church Consulting podcast, I had quite the eye-opening experience or revelation, which led me to a resource called Getting Naked, a Business Fable by Patrick Lencioni, about shedding the three fears that sabotage client loyalty. Okay, I must admit, at first sight of the title was a bit concerning, until I began reading the recommended best practices in this book for consultants and business leaders.
The naked service approach to consulting applies to anyone who provides ongoing, relationship-based advice, counsel, or expertise to a customer, inside or outside of a company. Or better yet, it applies to anyone whose success is tied to building loyal and sticky relationships with the people they serve.
So, you may say “this is a standard approach to most consulting firms.” I agree, however; we must also understand the core to this approach is being “vulnerable.” Being “vulnerable” is probably not the reason why most people desire to be a Church Consultant.
In this context, “vulnerable” means to embrace uncommon levels of humility, selflessness, and transparency for the good of the client. The scripture that comes to mind is:
“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility consider one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4 NASB
This is Christian service at its best, putting the interest of others before ours and becoming “vulnerable.”
Here is a list of 3 fears that prevent us from building trust and loyalty with our customers, and how the principles of naked services and best practices allow vulnerable service providers to get rid of their fears and provide excellent services that will glorify Christ.
I believe many new or seasoned Church Consultants may struggle with a few fears in consulting:
- Fear of Losing the Business
- Fear of Being Embarrassed
- Fear of Feeling Inferior
I’ll elaborate only on two of the fears.
- Fear of Losing the Business (Give Away the Business)
This speaks of two principles:
1. Always consult instead of sell.
This is like counting your chickens before they’re hatched. The idea here is giving them advice and service before becoming a paying client. By demonstrating generosity and trust, you drastically increase the likelihood of making a client, not to mention proving to them that you can help them.
2. Giving away the business is more financial.
This speaks of not putting the cart before the horse because we’re interested in a long-term relationship with the client. The consultant will demonstrate a willingness to help the client first and put profit second.
- Fear of Being Embarrassed (Asking Dumb Questions)
Naked service providers are the ones who ask the questions that others in the room are afraid to ask out of fear that they would embarrass themselves. They realize that if they ask five questions and three of them could be considered “dumb,” the potential benefit that comes from the other two makes it worthwhile.
There are more best practices in Getting Naked that will allow Church Consultants to become “vulnerable,” and improve service providers to clients (church’s) that are God-honoring, as well as strengthening the Body of Christ.