Congratulations! Your church is in a season of growth! But as a Lead Pastor or Executive Pastor, you’re aware of some space-related “choke points” developing that will hinder future growth if they’re not addressed. You may have a lack of seats
in the worship center, not enough space in the children’s ministry area, or a run-down student ministry center with outdated technology.
As you’re recognizing the need to address these issues, you’re also recognizing the need for additional resources to fund the growth. Before long, the talk will likely turn to planning and implementing a major giving campaign of some kind.
But what should be the approach for your church? Is a traditional “over and above” type capital campaign the ideal solution? Are there other options that might provide the needed funding, while at the same time addressing other general stewardship and generosity issues that likely exist in your church?
ONE FUND INITIATIVES
There is an alternative approach to a traditional capital campaign, and it’s called a One Fund initiative. Rather than asking people to commit to a gift in order to fund a project (or projects) that is “over and above” their regular giving to the church, a One Fund asks people to consider their total giving to the church.
A One Fund asks three questions:
1. Where are you on the journey of giving back to God?
2. Where does God want you to be on that journey?
3. What would it look like to move in faith to that place God desires for you?
More specifically, in a traditional campaign:
- The focus is project-centric or church-centric.
- The purpose of the campaign revolves around the need of the church to receive money to fund a project.
- We ask people to consider their relationship with the church.
- We direct attention to what the church wants from givers.
By comparison, in a One Fund initiative:
- The focus is giver-centric.
- The purpose of the campaign is the need of a Christ-follower to be generous.
- We ask people to consider their relationship with God.
- We direct attention to what the church and God want for givers.
While engaged with churches across the country, I get the opportunity to work with some really outstanding people and organizations. Sometimes these people have resources and expertise I suspect my readers might value.
And that’s the case with Don Corder, Founder of The Provisum Group - an organization driven to assist pastors and leadership teams in the effective day-to-day management of the church. Don and I met while I was engaged with his church in a recent generosity initiative. His church is also a Provisum Group client, and they speak very highly of the assistance they receive from their partnership.
I had a recent conversation with Don to get a bit more information about the book and his work with churches. Here’s what he had to say:
Q: You recently wrote a book called Minding His Business - what prompted you to write it?
A: I wrote Minding His Business for one reason: To make pastors’ and ministry leaders’ lives easier by sharing 35 years of experience conducting business in and out of the Church. If you think about it, the people God calls to be pastors are usually creative, relational lovers of people. That person is more like an artist than an accountant. Yet, sometimes pastors are expected to have expertise in accounting, finance, marketing, web development and more. They are sometimes expected to be pastors and CEO’s. It does not happen in all churches but it does happen in many. It is a recipe for burn-out and failure.
Minding His Business is a business primer written specifically for churches and faith based charities, but written to the right side of the brain. The book is divided into 40 short, easy to read chapters and the content is written in parable and anecdote. On its pages you will read of church after church facing similar challenges, what was done to meet the challenge, and how it turned out.
Q: Tell me about the book and how it helps “make life easier” for those in ministry.
A: After years of helping churches all over the United States with their business administration, I kept seeing the same problems and challenges happening over and over again. I began to realize that there are very few “new” problems in the Church. There are just “new” people having the same “old” problems, usually for similar reasons and requiring similar solutions.
Your people have questions. And they’re not just about the next children’s ministry event or where to take their canned goods for the food pantry. They have questions about giving – big questions about why they should give and what happens to their money when they give.
As their pastor, it’s your responsibility to make sure they have answers to these questions. This is an opportunity for you to make sure your people are being guided and encouraged on their generosity journey, all while making sure your God-sized vision for ministry is being funded.
So here are 5 questions your people are likely asking, based on 5 things people need to know before they will give. (Trust me – most of your people are asking at least one of these questions!)
1. CAN I TRUST YOU?
The news is unfortunately frequent with stories of improper use of charitable gifts – the Wounded Warriors Project being the most recent example. People want to give where they know their gifts will be stewarded well. Be transparent. Work to build integrity and trust in your personal leadership, and in those in positions of leadership. Communicate well, and often.
Follow through. Do what you say you are going to do. Don’t ask people to do something you yourself are not doing. (Be an example.) People give to those they can believe in and trust. How have you shown your church is trustworthy in the last six months?
2. WHAT’S THE VISION?
Givers give when the mission of the organization aligns with their passions. Most people aren’t as motivated by need; they give to vision. It’s not about the money, but what the money will accomplish. It’s not about facilities, but the ministry the facilities allow.
“I give to places outside my church because I believe my money is used more effectively in other organizations.”
“Other nonprofits do more to solve a problem.”
“My generation wants to give to something that makes an impact.” (from a millennial)
“When it (money) goes into a ‘pot’ and I don’t know what it’s doing, I’m less likely to give. I want to give to people – it’s about visionary giving vs. needs-based giving.”
These are all real comments I’ve heard in a few recent Generosity Audit focus groups while interviewing various church attendees. These are actual quotes. (ouch!)
It has been an amazing few months in my ministry with Generis. God has allowed me to witness several magnificently extravagant gifts as part of accelerated giving initiatives where I’ve been blessed to participate as consultant and partner to my church clients.
I’ve seen individuals and families make commitments of $500,000, $1,000,000, $1,500,000, $2,000,000 and $3,000,000!
It is amazing to see God move in the hearts of those He has blessed financially to make huge differences in Kingdom initiatives for church ministry, local outreach, and national and international missions efforts.
What is the number one reason donors give for why they choose to support a particular non-profit? Their belief in the mission or cause of the organization.
They align themselves with what you are doing, they identify with you, and they are moved to support your mission. So what is your ministry mission – the answer to the question: “What are we doing?”
I am not speaking of the great commission here, which is commonly the answer I get. That should be the calling of every church.
I was reminded this week how blessed I am to have the opportunity to do the work that I do. I get to partner with churches and faith-based non-profit ministries who are engaging in God-inspired journeys to fund ministry, missions, projects, building expansions, renovations, and debt retirement.
In a client meeting this week, the pastor stood before his leadership team to encourage them to participate on a new journey. Within his comments, a wonderful description of God’s idea, His vision was passed down to the pastor and staff as a vision for their future ministry.