The Consultation weekend is when the Mission Revitalization Process really gets rolling. While there are some preliminary steps, once your congregation has decided to invite the Transforming Congregation Network (TCN) into their midst, this is the defining event. It is described as “an intervention designed to lead to systemic change.”
Briefly, the consultation begins on Friday afternoon when the pastor and staff are interviewed by a group of “trained consultants” and a “Focus Group” is held. On Saturday the congregational leaders are interviewed, further analysis is conducted, and training on “healthy congregations” and other topics occurs. On Saturday evening the lead consultant (a pastor) and his team write the consultation report. Sunday morning, the pastor of the congregation preaches about his “vision,” followed that afternoon by a “Town Meeting” in which the results of the consultation report are presented to the congregation.
After the consultation, the pastor initiates a 4-6 week “season of repentance, forgiveness and renewal,” consisting of “teaching, prayer, and fasting, leading up to a Congregational day of repentance and renewal. The purpose for the Day of Prayer and Repentance is to offer prayers of confession for this congregation’s apathy toward those people that God misses most.”
At the end of the 4-6 weeks, the congregation decides on whether they will commit to the prescriptions of the TCN Consultation Report. Once the congregation agrees, it is on its way to permanent assimilation into the Church Growth Movement (CGM) paradigm. It’s an all or nothing proposition, because they must agree to comply with all of the prescriptions of the consultation. What the congregation may or may not know, is that the pastor has already signed a covenant before the consultation ever took place in which he commits to the transformation process. (Consultants and members of the future Board of Directors of your church must also sign a covenant. What happened to the days when a Christian just let his “Yes” be “Yes” and his “No” be “No,” as Jesus commands in Matthew 5:37?) The covenant begins: “It is my intent to fully and actively participate in the Transforming Congregations Network (TCN). As a member of TCN, I commit to the following activities....” Among other things, the pastor promises to start a Learning Community with the church leaders, bring the church leaders to TCN training events, initiate a “prayer team” to pray for the Pastors’ Learning Community and the Leader Learning Community, begin Groups Ablaze! in the congregation, and begin TRIAD strategy. In other words, the congregation is already on its way to becoming a TCN “customer” whether they know it or not.