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How To Avoid Having to Do a Capital Campaign At Your Church

1 Aug. 2013 Posted by Denis Greene in Church Capital Campaigns

Church Development shares the secret to never having to conduct a capital campaign.

I recently wrapped a series on why Catholic giving is lower than that of Protestants (see parts one, two, and three, as well as what it’s not). Even if you’re not Catholic, their missteps give insight to every church as to what can stunt generosity.

If you read the series, you know there were many different opinions. However, one opinion that I didn’t share was my own. With 30 years in this industry, helping over 200 churches raise over $200 million, keeping up with the latest studies and trends, etc., I should know something, right? I like to think that I failed enough times that I had no option left but to succeed, so yes, I believe I can cite the one problem churches need to avoid.

Are you ready?

If you never want to conduct a capital campaign, you need to fix the problem of a lack of stewardship in your church.

Now I’m guessing some of you just went, “Well if we had money we wouldn’t be in this position,” but it’s actually that kind of thinking that’s part of the issue. If you just pursue people’s giving, you’ll get a “stay out of my pocket, pastor” response, but if you go after their heart, their giving will naturally follow. Stewardship is about God’s blessings flowing through us (like the Jordan River), and us giving back with our time, talent, and treasure.

This heart pursuit—it’s a long road, and it takes a lot of nurturing. There is no magic bullet. It takes regular, non-guilt-laden teaching; spiritual connection through prayer and discernment; communal connection through shared decision-making, volunteer work and social time; and yes, asking your church to give and thanking them when they do.

Sounds like a lot, right? Well, there are many good reasons why I blog on this topic twice a week, why I created a Stewardship System to help churches, and why I still have a job conducting successful capital campaigns.

Again though (and this time I’ll nuance it a little better), if you want to avoid the problems that put your church in the position to require a capital campaign, work on cultivating stewardship and generosity. 

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Denis Greene is the Founder and President of Church Development.  He is the author of The Stewardship SystemStewardship-Based Capital Campaigns, and How To Ask For Donations as well as numerous articles on stewardship. Denis has helped over 200 churches across the USA raise more than $200,000,000. 

A complete list of Church Development’s services (including capital campaign management and consultation, feasibility studies, and year-round stewardship ministry programming) is available here.