This fall has been filled with the busyness of another campaign season. Much like you, I’m running from one meeting to the next. And when I’m not in a meeting, or traveling to one, I’m preparing for the next video conference, giving analysis, or on-site visit. It is a true blessing to be very busy in this ministry!
But I saw something recently that helped me slow down. It helped me remember the main reason why I do what I do. My guess is that you could use a reminder of why you do what you do on occasion too, so I took out the smartphone and snapped a picture that has already become a favorite in my library.
I’ve said it for 15 years now – ever since beginning my work in generosity and stewardship consulting. It’s not about the building (or the renovation, or the money, or the fill-in-the-blank). As churches conduct generosity initiatives to fund God-inspired vision, we always need to remind people that while the building they are hoping to fund is a desired outcome of the project, it in itself is not the true vision behind the initiative. The building is but another tool in the ministry toolbox that we pray God will use to reach others with the good news of Jesus Christ.
Last weekend was awesome! I had the privilege of worshiping in a brand new worship center at a church I’ve been partnering with for the last couple years – Harvester Christian Church in the greater St. Louis area. It was their grand opening weekend, and excitement filled the air.
It was a blessing for me to see the fruit of their dedication and efforts, and to celebrate with them. Seeing what happened that day, and hearing of what happened at another church a colleague of mine has been coaching, made me want to share these successes with you – to encourage you and to give you ideas on how to make something similar very special for your people. So here are several ways to ensure the success of your church’s grand opening.
1. Conduct a Soft Opening
Much like a new restaurant serves their family and friends before opening the doors to the public, it is wise to have a soft opening a weekend or two prior to your publicized grand opening.
During the last 18 months I’ve had multiple opportunities to speak at seminars and conferences in different parts of the county. In most instances, there have been in the audience architects, builders, general contractors and other professionals who serve churches and faith-based ministries through the construction industry .
During Q & A sessions and one-on-one conversations, the prevailing discussion centers around church financing. The common reason for stalled building projects among churches relates to the client’s inability to secure financing for their project.
Our first “On the Table” luncheon was a hit!
Fifty Kansas City area ministry leaders assembled at the Hereford House for a great time of food and fellowship, with the opportunity to hear Senior Pastor Derrick Lynch of Blue Valley Baptist Church tackle the topic that was “on the table” - Navigating Capital Projects & Funding Ministry in Hard Times.
Here is a summary of Pastor Derrick’s comments:
Can you afford the project on the drawing board?
In the previous post we explored the first three considerations for achieving strong results during the giving phase of your capital initiative. I refer to this giving period as Campaign Enhancement (CE).
Here are the next three considerations:
Congratulations to St. John’s Lutheran Church in the St. Louis metro area. February marked the end of their 3-year capital giving initiative. They finished the effort by collecting 99.6% of the total amount committed back in March 2007!
Last week I was on-site with a capital campaign client, touring their new facilities while meeting with the pastor to review strategy. With 8 months remaining in their three-year giving phase, the church is running at 105% of projection!
A few years ago, I had the opportunity to assist Morning Star Church, O’Fallon, MO with their annual giving appeal. This is my second initiative with the church, having led a capital project there two years earlier.
We have a toolbox full of strategies that assist churches and non-profit ministries as they seek to accelerate generosity towards their ministry, and this was another opportunity to put those tools to work.
One of those strategies involves an encouragement and challenge to the congregation to consider increasing their previous years’ giving by 1% – taking a step toward the tithe, (or above the tithe for those who are already giving at that level).
This past weekend, Andy Stanley of North Point Community Church unveiled the next step in their campus development – and it has access to parking as its primary focus – building a bridge for $5,000,000. Now that’s exciting isn’t it?
I’ve led a couple of clients through initiatives to raise money for parking and access related issues. This can be a tough project to fund…UNLESS you successfully tie it to your mission.
Even in trying times, generosity can flourish! Remember to thank your congregation for their faithfulness in giving to Kingdom initiatives.
Living Word Church, in Wildwood, MO engaged us for help with their annual stewardship initiative this fall. Here is news of their results, as shared by pastor Michael McIntyre:
Last week in worship, Mick Rembold, the Executive Director of “Will You Grow?” shared with us the incredible results of this campaign. So far this year we have received 274 pledge cards. Last year at this same time we had received 253 pledge cards. This represents an increase of 8% in pledges – which is VERY good. However, it gets much better! The 274 pledges we received represent an increase of $497,550 over last year – that is a 34% increase! This is nothing short of spectacular!
I really want to impress upon you how staggering these numbers truly are! Rusty shared with me that Generis considers a 15% increase to be very successful when the economy is strong. But you, the good people of Living Word, more than doubled what Generis considers to be successful; and you did it in a time when our economy is in the tank! In the words of our Lord, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25:23) We challenged you, and asked you, “Will You Grow?” and you answered with a thunderous YES!
There can be no doubt that 2009 is going to challenge us financially, but with your faithful response to God’s call, I have no doubt that we will meet any challenge that comes our way. I am so very proud of all of you. Thank you for your commitment to Jesus.