Consultant, Facilitator, Coach, Trainer
Jim Gettel has worked closely with lay and ordained church and denominational leaders for more than a decade. Jim consults, facilitates, coaches and trains in church planning and growth, communication, conflict resolution, Christian formation processes including small groups, evangelism and faith sharing, leadership development, mutual ministry reviews, outreach ministries and stewardship.
Before founding Middle Voice Consulting, Jim served as congregational development and clergy deployment officer for the Episcopal Diocese of Milwaukee and co-founded and led Our Next
Generation, a faith-based nonprofit volunteer organization that helps inner city children and their families. As a lay person independently supporting his ministries, Jim worked as a successful senior business executive, investment banker and lawyer. He has written books, including God's Love, Human Freedom and Christian Faith (Chalice Press, 2003), as well as articles in areas of congregational leadership and development, business and law.
Jim's strong leadership, listening and communication skills and experience enable him to identify the dynamics of church communities and to help church leaders discover and articulate purpose and vision and accomplish practical strategies for their congregations.
Jim has a passion for helping churches become incarnational, discipling and apostolic communities for the realization of God's kingdom. He brings personal core values of building and sustaining loving relationships and vision in organizations to help churches become healthy centers of belonging, purpose and leadership. Jim helps congregations recognize and pursue their callings and helps leaders and teams identify and use their unique gifts.
Free and open discussion is a major element of Jim's leadership, facilitation, coaching and teaching style, so listening and discernment are very important. The ideas generated tend to be practical and realistic, deriving vision from the perspectives of participants and extrapolating from today's situation. Leaders who develop confidence in trusting relationships and common vision and goals tend to feel hopeful, courageous and energized for growth and change. Then it is possible to develop systems and processes to help people work well and consistently together.
At times, conflict hinders building community and shared purpose. In these situations, Jim encourages and helps leaders as a group to work on their behaviors and unity to become a healthy, non-anxious presence that may move the community toward forgiveness and reconciliation rather than separation. This helps the church develop leadership and relationship skills to be stronger in the future and leads to unity, common purpose and revitalized energy.
Growth planning often flows from discerning mission and identity and adding disciplined actions of specific goal setting, action planning, assignment of duties, and follow up to evaluate results. This process energizes a congregation towards a common purpose and a shared vision of the future, provides a framework for action and helps create a healthy and growing church. Within a broad process of discernment, Jim facilitates assessment and planning processes from a variety of effective approaches, such as organic Mutual Ministry Reviews, Appreciative Inquiry, discipleship ministry reviews and others.
Program development in various areas requires effective planning, leadership, training and staffing. For example, New Testament discipleship happened by people being introduced to Jesus, living with him and coming to know him, and then being sent out to serve others. Passionate Christian churches help people meet, know and serve Jesus through various programs. It is important to consider various steps of a Christian journey in community (including Christian evangelism, formation and outreach) and evaluate whether those steps are available and strong, and whether there are adequate entry points to each step and good relationships to encourage each person to take the next step on his or her spiritual journey.
Jim helps governing boards, ministry teams, clergy, staff and members understand their roles and authority and work together effectively to accomplish their purposes. With clearly-defined functions and accountability and effective and empowering delegation, the church can accomplish much more with less burnout and stress. This may require new or modified team structures, as well as training and succession plans. And often this will call for some coaching of leadership style changes. Jim frequently coaches clergy leaders through challenges of leading during times of conflict, change or renewal.
Financial giving is especially important to both church development and personal spiritual growth. Many churches struggle in this area. When we develop and implement financial stewardship processes, we have opportunities to make these processes more effective and rewarding. Financial stewardship is often a formation challenge more than a fundraising challenge. With a greater offering of time and talents as well as treasure, more people are passionately involved in our churches and we experience a greater sense of God's abundance. Jim has assisted churches with operating campaigns and capital campaigns for new church buildings, additions, endowments and debt retirement. Churches can get a great deal of individual and community growth from their financial stewardship processes.
Size transitions involve major changes and need to begin with a discussion about whether a congregation is truly called to grow, in what context and for what purposes. When a congregation is growing to a new size, organizational development is needed in leadership styles and structures, communications and programs. If the congregation feels a call to grow to serve its mission, it will need both to make these changes and to fully engage its expanded mission (evangelism, outreach and so on) with adequate resources, planning and leadership.
Congregations that experience successful calls treat "the search" as part of an overall period of transition. Jim helps congregational leaders through phases of saying goodbye, organizing a search process, conducting a congregational self-study, discernment and call, and developing welcoming, orientation and evaluation plans to help new clergy get off to a good start. This busy period requires clear and honest communication, hospitality, wisdom, patience, and prayers. A qualified consultant can help lessen anxiety and avoid conflicts.
Teaching and Studies
Jim teaches pastoral ministry classes in church mission and vision development and listening and communications. His more recent study and writing is in the area of the emergent church.
EDUCATION AND CERTIFICATIONS
- B.A. in Philosophy, Northwestern University
- M.B.A., University of Illinois College of Business
- J.D., University of Illinois College of Law
- Church Development Institute, School of Theology, University of the South, Sewaunee, TN
- Church Deployment Officer, The Episcopal Church
- Healthy Congregations, Family Systems and Conflict Resolution, Lombard Peace Institute
- Natural Church Development