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First United Methodist

Rarely has a readiness assessment been more helpful.

First United Methodist Church of Kalamazoo, Michigan, was embarking on major renovation/expansion project when their readiness assessment revealed some troubling information.

Despite many members saying they would make sizable gifts to the campaign, when it came to the survey, half said they would not make a gift. While the church had done an extensive work creating a three-phase long-range building plan, the readiness assessment revealed a lot of confusion about the purpose and impact of the project.

At Church Development’s recommendation, the church delayed the start of their campaign. Pastor Vernon and the building committee chairperson used that time to share a simple message with members: “Here is what we were trying to accomplish for the congregation. What did we overlook in our plans?” What they found was that people had not recognized the ministry impact of the proposed changes.

After hearing the vision and understanding the goals underlying the plans, the memberships quickly jumped on board and even expanded the scope of the project. Six months later, nearly 80% of members pledged to the campaign and they raised $1.8 million - double their annual giving. What was unexpected was the spiritual transformation brought about by the capital campaign. Said one campaign committee chairwoman: “I was reluctant to take on this role as chair, and the last thing I expected coming into a capital campaign is how much I’ve grown spiritually. I feel more committed and more connected to my church than I ever have.”

By conducting a readiness assessment, the church averted a capital campaign disaster, and they were able to build consensus around the ministry purpose for phases one and two of their long-range plan.

First United Methodist Church
Kalamazoo, Michigan
Rev. Dr. Douglas Vernon, Pastor

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