When a church is thinking about engaging a stewardship partner they often ask, “How many times will you be here?” Often churches when faced with great decisions, have a tendency to ask the wrong questions. This is particularly true when it comes to choosing a stewardship partner. It is not that churches and Christian ministries are not asking questions. They ask an abundance of questions. They often however ask the wrong questions that lead them down an incorrect decision path. This leads to either a poor selection of a partner or unrealistic expectations. One of the most frequent questions is the onsite question.
One thing that drives it is the value question. There is no way you can equate the value that a good stewardship consultant brings to the table by dividing the fee into how many onsite visits there are. For an illustration let’s take Sunday’s sermon. How long was it? For most that answer is about thirty minutes. Would it be fair for your church members to evaluate the pay of the pastor based upon what they see as thirty minutes of work? Most preachers will tell you that for every minute in the pulpit they spend on average an hour of study. That is on top of all the other things they must do.
What a church should ask is,”Will you have enough time to make our campaign a success?” Don’t try to compute the cost of the contract by the number of visits the consultant makes to arrive at the value. As you will see that kind of thinking focuses on a variable cost and will benefit the potential partner more than you. Quality visits are what counts.
It is virtually impossible to predict how many times a consultant will need to be onsite. As one of my friends said once, “If we agree to come in one more time than our competition do we get the contract?” You want to evaluate your partnership on more than just how many times they fly in. One church once decided upon a partner because they promised 40 on site visits. Yet as the church considered a partner for the next campaign they did not even invite that company back. The number of visits is meaningless without quality consulting. The real issue with regard to this question is, “Will we get the attention we feel we deserve for the fee we are paying?”
One way we assure that our clients get the attention they need, when they need it, is to limit the amount of churches they work with. If a consultant has too many churches they might be the best in the industry but the reality is they will only be able to effectively do so much. Make sure your consultant is not overloaded to the point that they cannot meet you needs.
Asking questions is not bad. You should ask questions. Ask lots of questions! Just make sure that the questions you ask are the right questions that will lead you to the right stewardship partner.