This morning I met with someone whose organisation has been going for six months. They have achieved a lot and have several learning institutions and health agencies interested in working with them. Their problem is that they could do so much (as there is a real gap in the field that they work in) but as yet they are not a registered charity and have no permanent staff. My job this morning was to reflect back what they are doing, to suggest that this is too much and to help the person to vocalise their core purpose. Less than an hour talking through things and the woman leading it had a much clearer idea.
This is the value of having an outsider to talk you through your difficulties. It's another pair of eyes and another body of experience and knowledge which will look at things differently. In my work I cannot afford to hang around. I have in the first instance three meetings to get some real change. More often than not I am only saying what they would say if they were not so busy just keeping the show on the road.
The other thing that I am able to do because I am paid to do it is to take action. This organisation has the near-offer of some money if it can produce a business plan. I can do this fairly quickly as long as I know what it is that they want to do and what they want to achieve through their actions.
In our communities and congregations it is worth getting an outsider in to review what we are doing and how effective we are. We may not have the resources to pay someone to get something like a strategic plan together but we may get some pointers about this and could perhaps ask our district or the General Assembly for some help.