Ministry Expansion Project Trends

Initiatives // May 18, 2009

During the last ten years, three trends have been emerging for ministry expansion projects. (You may know these as “capital campaigns,” but even that language is changing for me.)

The first emerging trend is the replacement of the traditional-programmed format with personalized strategies. This takes more initial time, yet is more effective because it incorporates the congregation’s mission, culture and values into the project.

The second trend is the importance of the consultant chosen, rather than the company. More churches are checking references on the consultant assigned to them, but still not enough selection committees do this essential work. It just takes time. It is, however, the only activity that ensures against a mismatch of values, personality, and theology.

The third trend is that the scope of consulting services has broadened from the full-time, consultant-led project to a less-than-full-time, consultant-assisted project, and then to a monthly retainer for consultant oversight. Degrees of consultant expertise and guidance with varying costs are available to fit the experience level and time availability of the church staff and lay leaders.

There is still no better way to raise significant funds in a short period of time than with a campaign. Compared to other strategies, campaigns are the cheapest in raising funds. And today’s effective campaigns are not the same as your parents’ or grandparents’ experience.

It’s a new day in consulting services for these church projects. Churches can assess their own resources and available time first and then choose the strategies, consultant and level of service that best fits their situation.

About Rusty Lewis

As a church leader, there’s nothing more frustrating than not having the funding to do what God’s calling you to do. But when you think about trying to address that problem, you feel overwhelmed, you dread the potential pushback from your congregation, and you’re not sure where to turn for help. Over the last 18 years, I’ve helped more than 120 churches close the gap between their current financial reality and what they need to move forward in ministry.

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