A church consultant provides pastors and church leaders with techniques for generating revenue and expanding church membership. People employed in these roles are sometimes referred to as business consultants although unlike the individuals that provide advice to other types of entities, a church consultant aims to provide advice from both a financial and a theological perspective. Some of the people working in this field are self-employed while others work for religious organizations or major churches.
Many churches are non-profit entities that are financed with donations from parish members and other private or institutional benefactors. Consultants teach parish leaders different techniques for raising money such as soliciting donations through emails or letters that are sent to parishioners. Some people advocate making direct sales calls to the homes of people who live within close proximity to the church. Beyond targeting existing members, consultants provide church organizers with ideas for launching membership drives and these may include placing commercials on local radio or television stations, or arranging fund raising events such as carnivals or fairs. People employed in these roles also review the parish's accounts and help church leaders to develop realistic fund raising goals based upon the local demographics and current membership.
Aside from helping parishes to generate funds, a church consultant also provides advice on a how a church can make the best use of the money. These individuals educate parish members about lending options and grants. Additionally, consultants give churches tips on cost saving initiatives such as installing energy friendly heating and cooling systems that will reduce long-term costs. In some instances, full audits are conducted in which case the church consultant may even suggest cost cutting initiatives that involve eliminating jobs or closing down expensive programs that provide minimal benefits to the parish. Some of these individuals are also licensed to offer tax advice and these professionals can help churches to save money by taking advantage of tax deductions.
Organizations that employ consultants normally require applicants for these roles to have successfully completed college undergraduate degree programs in subjects such as business administration or management. Aside from having certain academic credentials, most employers prefer to hire people who have previously worked as pastors or individuals who have completed theology degree programs. In many instances, consultants encourage parishioners to donate money by citing biblical passages that seem to encourage such activity so a knowledge of church scripture is essential for anyone employed in this role. Self-employed consultants are often people who have prior experience working as treasurers or office managers at major churches. As with consultants working for major firms, many self-employed people have a background in business.