a couple of weeks ago we had conrad lowe, a church consultant, come visit the winds to make a few recommendations. to be honest, we were pretty skeptical (myself most especially) about the value of a consultant to a place like westwinds - after all, our church doesn't really fit all the norms, the models, etc - but our staff, elders, and coriolis unilaterally agreed he was excellent.
he had specific structural insights that will help us better evaluate and manage our teams
he had good perspective on future "wins" for us, including throwing greater emphasis and resources towards our kids' area
he was fantastically affirming about the creative and intellectual edge of westwinds
he avoided the typical consultant traps of trying to show us "what's next" for us missionally, creatively, or numerically
he helped us narrow and refine our perspective on the future, without being prescriptive or narrow
so...yeah, all in all, he was great and we'd definitely have him back (especially for $1000/day + expenses, which is much more reasonably priced than most).
we did have a couple of ideological differences with him (which, of course, are to be expected between Jvo/I and a 60yr + businessman), but Conrad was very spacious on those areas and didn't push anything we felt weird about. the two things that - in my mind - could have created real tension were his goofy dichotomy between worshipping creatively and worshipping creativity (which i think he established to try and be provocative...but just felt weird and made up); and his hunch that "everything at westwinds is pretty much structured like every other church, just with funny names." of course, we have funny names, but our distinctiveness goes a lot deeper than that...which i think he'll see given some time.
my favorite point of pride during conrad's visit, though, had to be his remarks about causemology and about the winds overall. he said causemology was the "smartest thing he's ever seen in church" and that the winds was "easily the most creative place [he'd] been, maybe even more so than Mosaic."
it's nice to be in a spot where we're hearing good reports about good ministry resulting from our good, honest efforts to shadow God and make Jesus proud...
as opposed to defending twitter, porn weekend, tattoos, or whatever else happens to irk the jerks at any given time.