My ministry today is all about helping churches thrive. I love the Lord of the Church and I love His churches. You can find out why by visiting the Brian’s Story page. I believe that because of the powerful presence of Christ with His churches that every church can be a great church. I would be honored to be able to help your congregation so I have listed thirteen ways I can do that. With today’s technology, I’m available to help any English-speaking pastor and any congregation.

The word “consultant” is problematic in a world in which we tend to think of these people as over-paid, over-dressed, impersonal, professionals.  At best, however, consultants help organizations to survive and thrive, adding great value to frontline workers wherever they go. Before listing thirteen ways I can help your church, take a look at some of my distinctives as a consultant and coach:

  • I believe in an inspired, inerrant, infallible, authoritative Bible. Many church decisions are “settled” by the Word of God.
  • I believe that the ultimate, transcendent purpose of the Church is the glory of God and that not even those who have served their churches faithfully for decades are offered “stock options” by God. The church is all His, always.
  • I believe that every genuinely evangelical church is capable of becoming a really great church, a congregation that Christians love to attend and God loves to bless.
  • I see the exciting potential of having “Jesus Christ, obviously present and actively in charge” (Oliver Price) of every congregation.
  • I believe there is unlimited potential for our churches if we will give them to Christ and humble ourselves in serious, heartfelt prayer.
  • I see church health as being closely related to pastoral health and leadership unity.
  • I see disciple-making as the primary mission of every congregation and an essential aspect of Christian discipleship. The church that is not making disciples out of the raw material of non-Christian adult people and does not see disciple-making as an essential aspect of following Jesus is living in ignorance or disobedience.
  • I see structural or marketing solutions as secondary in importance to genuinely spiritual, “abiding in Christ” solutions.
  • I believe that congregations are only as healthy as the spiritual health of their “average” members.

  1. “Listening ear,” one-time phone or Zoom calls with pastors. I have been richly blessed by older pastors who have listened to, counseled and prayed with me; I want to pass this blessing on to others. Contact me at or 651-319-1953.
  2. Monthly coaching sessions for pastors via phone or Zoom. Our conversations can be focused on your special needs or your church’s need for revitalization. God has used me to help pastors to lead their churches back to disciple-making effectiveness.
  3. Church assessments – An assessment gives you a fresh, outsider’s look at your ministry. Comprehensive assessments involve inventories, listening sessions, a journey wall (history of the congregation) exercise, a focus group, a prayerfully written report and help with ongoing implementation.  Less extensive assessment help is available also.
  • Click here for an introductory article on Church Health Assessments
  • Click here an article on Comprehensive Church Health Assessments 
  • Click here for The Seven Steps Of The Comprehensive Church Assessment
  • Click here for an article called, Is My Church A Healthy Church?
  • Click here for an article on Church Revitalization 
  1. Revitalization leadership training by way of Becoming Effective Leaders (BEL) Groups of three to eight Pastors. BEL group participants meet monthly for nine months and gain leadership and revitalization skills in the context of personal coaching and relationships with their fellow group participants. Zoom versions of these groups are now a possibility! Click here to read Becoming Effective Leaders (BEL) groups for pastors.
  2. Transition counseling – Pastors in transition need extra help as do churches with pastors who are in transition and churches which are in transition between pastors.
  3. Resources – Besides the treasure trove of material on this site (blog and archives), I also have materials “on file" on a broad range of subjects, issues and challenges.
  4. Discipleship ministries – I can help your church set up a simple plan for discipling your church family and its new members.
  5. Strategic planning help – Is your church crystal clear on its purpose, mission, vision, values and strategy? I can help you and your leadership team to pray and work your way towards a laser-like focus.  I can help pastors facilitate the process themselves or provide the needed facilitation at Saturday or weekend retreats. See the strategic planning category at the blog and archives page for free templates.
  6. Coaching for interim pastors – As a veteran of seven interim pastorates, I have been blessed by the coaching of others and have also provided coaching to others. If you need someone to help you “stick with the program” and sort through issues, I may be your guy.
  7. Board member training – By way of one-time board meeting visits, Saturday seminars or weekend retreats. I love training church “lay” leaders!
  8. Pastor search committee orientation, training or coaching - I have a great deal of experience at coaching solo and senior pastor search committees.
  9. Conflict mediation – I have helped individuals, small groups and entire congregations return to their unity in Christ.
  10. Assimilation plans – I have helped churches of varying sizes develop effective welcoming/assimilation ministries.

  1. One-off coaching of pastors and other church leaders via phone or Zoom. I listen long and hard to several individuals per week.  We always pray together and I give counsel when it's asked for. Give me a call at 651-319-1953 or email me at and let's get started. I do not charge for these calls/Zoom visits.  I seek monthly missionary support so I can offer this kind of help without charging.
  2. Regular monthly coaching via Zoom (or in person for some individuals) of pastors.  My coaching varies from non-directive to more directive mentoring, depending on the pastor involved.
  3. Regular monthly coaching via Zoom (or in person for some individuals) of pastors involved in church revitalization efforts. I especially love to help "revitalization pastors" after I've completed assessments of their churches. Monthly coaching of the revitalization pastor greatly increases the likelihood of revitalization success!  I've not had any "takers" yet, but I'm also very interested in the prospect of monthly coaching of church boards in congregations where I've conducted comprehensive assessments.
  4. Regular monthly coaching via Zoom (or in person for some individuals) of interim pastors. Having done seven interim pastorates - four of them in seriously troubled churches - and written a book on the subject - I can walk you through the process, help you stay on task and help you meet the challenges along the way.
  5. Coaching Groups -  I'm currently leading a regular monthly Zoom group of several pastors (from a common denominational "tribe") engaged in the revitalization of their congregations. Ask me about the possibility of getting you into such a group.

The Value of a Fresh Perspective


We’ve all had the experience: We’ve walked into a store, a restaurant or a church and were very quickly frustrated. We couldn’t find the Hispanic foods section, or the men’s socks or the rest rooms.  Everything seemed to be designed for the people who are already there.  You weren’t sure which door to come in. The menu didn’t make sense. The church’s announcements were full of private jokes and insider information.  “See Ed to learn about the men’s breakfast.”  “Go to Shirley’s house right after the service for the party.”  


You found yourself thinking, “These people need a fresh perspective, an outsider’s opinion.” And you know from experience that in many cases, in our rapidly changing world, if they don’t get that perspective soon they’re going to go the way of Ponderosa, Sears, Wards and K-Mart.

Many churches have found it helpful to get a fresh, outsider's perspective from someone who knows and loves local churches and is constantly studying and learning what makes for church health and effectiveness.

Church Health Consultant, Brian A Thorstad

 Brian was raised in non-evangelical churches here in Wisconsin, gave his life to Christ at age nineteen and has been deeply involved in local churches since age twenty. His passion for healthy churches that bring unbelievers to Jesus, blessing to their communities, joy to their members, and glory to God, has been fueled and fanned into flame over the years through much study and many experiences. 


During his fifteen years as a strategic (or redevelopment) interim pastor (seven churches, three states and ten moves), Brian began writing and speaking on church health issues, penned two books, Heaven Help Our Church! and Redevelopment: Transitional Pastoring That Transforms Churches, and studied the writings of great church consultants as well as training materials from the Society for Church Consulting.

Brian is prepared to conduct various levels of assessments for a broad range of evangelical churches. 


Levels of Assessments Available


The Comprehensive Assessment (see the Comprehensive Church Assessment post) involves a congregational self-study, a church history journey-wall exercise, a computer-driven church health survey, a community demographic study, interviews with multiple church leaders, a visit to a Sunday worship service, a written report and follow up sessions with the senior pastor, board and congregational leaders. Partial or Targeted Assessments involve some but not all of the elements above, as selected by the Senior Pastor and church board.


The Most Important Thing The Church Can Do To Prepare For The Process 


Enlist as many people as possible, to as great an extent as possible, to heartfelt prayer for the assessment/follow-up process. Second only to prayer would be the need to “put your church on the altar."  Give your church to God! 

Let's talk about how we can serve God by taking your congregation through an assessment process!