Autumn is a busy time for us, as it is for many of you. Our team will be traveling quite a bit and working with congregations both onsite and online.   This also means that we will be meeting many people and congregations for the first time – which is one of the favorite parts of our job
at Holy Cow! Consulting.

Before I walk into any interpretation of a congregation’s assessment results, I know their data very well. I can see how satisfied and energized people are, where they are looking for that satisfaction, what cultural strengths and shadow-sides they might be experiencing, how conflict is moving, the congregational strengths they have to leverage and the places that need growth edges. I can also see their hopes for where they want to go.  This is what organizational intelligence offers.

But what we don’t have is the narrative – the back-story of that congregation – the list of the things that have been tried, the ministries that are hard to let go of because of their history, the clergy that has been loved, the leadership that has been faithful.  The feelings that come with our stories in our congregations also provide a background for those stories and for the data.  Both the stories and the feelings around them are important because they give the data a storyboard and they provide the needed imagination of how to move forward.

Each congregation has a story. Data doesn’t replace it, but it does help us look at where the congregation is as a whole and lets us know what is typical and exceptional about that place where the congregation finds itself.  The data also helps the congregational leadership take a breath, get a clear picture, and decide what is next; always with the reminder that this is your congregation’s story today but tomorrow a new story can begin.  And as always, the first step to any good story is prayer.

We look forward to hearing your story.

Emily Swanson
President of Holy Cow! Consulting