We just got done with my son’s seventh grade science fair project. He studied and reported on “The Effect of Music on Plant Growth.” He found that country music made plants grow best.
In the midst of “helping” him with his project I had to read his introductory page for the project. As I read through it I corrected some spelling errors and some grammatical issues along the way. Though he had read it over there were things he had missed.
The same thing would happen for me when I wrote a paper. I would proofread it. I might even proofread it twice. Inevitably, I would miss something whether it was using “your” when I should have used “you’re” or forgot to add a comma or some other grammatical faux pas. I am pretty sure this happens to everybody. We get so caught up in our own writing that we miss the mistakes when we proofread. This is why it is always best to have the fresh set of eyes of someone else to look at something we have written as they see it differently. They can provide a fresh perspective and catch stuff we have been immune to seeing.
The same is true in our churches. It is easy after one is in their particular local church setting for a while to get blinders. The longer a pastor or a lay person is at a church the more susceptible they are to not seeing what needs to be seen. When this happens then improvements don’t get made or changes do not occur.
This is why a having a consultant to come and spend time in your ministry setting can be a valuable exercise. They come with a fresh set of eyes. They don’t come with any history and should not come with any agenda. They can be an influential outside voice to name some things that the church just has not seen because the people have been to close to it all.
This can be something as simple as having someone come to do a mystery guest audit at worship to hiring someone to come and evaluate all the systems in your local church. One often overlooked way to get a fresh perspective is to ask the newest attendees and members of your church their opinion. Did they feel welcomed? Was there a clear path to get connected? How did you hear about the church? Why did you stay?
Don’t underestimate the value of a fresh set of eyes and the value they can bring to help the church make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.