The Captivating Connection Between Disciple Making and Capital Campaigns

Among the reasons I am still committed to the “dust up” that campaigns create is that they raise way more than financial support. A discipleship-based campaign raises the faith temperature in the hearts of people in a way that is life-changing.

I have had the honor of collecting a traveler’s suitcase full of experiences from being involved in over 100 capital campaigns. So I have a perspective on the ones that do it with an eye toward life-change and the ones that are gunning primarily for the bucks. In a how-to manual I recently wrote for church leaders called Capital Campaign Playbook, I outline the ways churches can utilize best practices for campaigns with the dual goal of spiritual growth and financial success.

Of course campaigns can be run without the spiritual impact as a co-equal goal with the need for money. But I have met so many people who mark it as an inflection point in their spiritual life. They say things like: “Before the campaign, I didn’t understand how important money was to my relationship with God.”

The time for introspection and heart “check up” often leads to a heart change. Here are a few signs I’ve seen that this is true:

1) People Experience Joy

Even though most of us know that it is better to give than receive, we strangely spend a lot of our energy trying to be on the receiving end of things. When a heartfelt gift is given toward the work of God through my church, an incredible joy can be experienced. To know that we are participating with God and with our church in its ministries is a gratifying sense of true joy.

2) People Remember God

Ultimately, giving is an act of worship. It is putting money in its place by using it as our slave and not our master. We don’t worship money – we worship God. And we prove that by deflating the power and hold that money has on us. We open our hands instead of clutching on to God’s resources with closed and white-knuckled fists. And when we do that, we are true worshippers.

3) People Become Free

How many of us are shackled by pressures and stress related to money? We are trying to make more, keep more, and build our earthly net worth. Sometimes, the American Dream becomes an endless treadmill of striving for an unattainable goal. Is there truly an amount that will satisfy? The most satisfaction comes from contentment. And giving is a step toward saying, “enough really is enough.”

4) People Appreciate Grace

At the heart of the gospel is giving. God loves us…so He gave! He gave us breath, life, friendships, family, dance, art, food, and so many other things. Most important of all, He gave us Christ, whose death on our behalf gives us abundant life now and forever. It is hard to comprehend God’s giving to us. When we try, however, we are often motivated to mimic that grace with generosity of our own. Grace doesn’t make sense. But without it, we have nothing.

5) People Break Strongholds

Some of us were raised in families where experiences created strongholds or generational stuckness that we don’t even realize. Because of experiences of loss, hurt, ambition and hundreds of other things, we have unintentionally made money, success and economic stability a kind of idol. It causes many to make soul-crushing choices about doing a job that “pays well” as opposed to what God designed us to do. It causes us to operate in fear way more than faith – fear that we lose what we’ve gained, fear that we will never have enough, fear about the future. When we truly understand God’s promises to us and release money, we are breaking that mold – we are saying in a very deep way, “I trust God so much I can live a life of generosity. I know I will be ok in the long run.”

6) People Unite Around Mission

One of the beautiful aspects of an all-in moment in the life of a congregation is that we can look at each other with a new sense of common mission. This produces a bond and a sense of community that often lasts for years. It creates a memory that links us: “Remember when we all committed to our church’s campaign?” And, then to see the impact of the collective giving of an entire congregation is something people often remember with great fondness. Think about the unity generated when we remember “that building we got to build together” or “that church we planted together” or “the education wing we added for the kids.” Unity is a big deal in how Jesus described His church and campaigns provide a prime opportunity to experience this collective spiritual moment.

Want to learn more about how Capital Campaigns can provoke this kind of spiritual breakthrough? I’d kindly ask you to check out my book, Capital Campaign Playbook: An Insider Look At A Church Consultant’s Game Plan.

Or download Chapter 1 FOR FREE right here!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Greg Gibbs

Greg Gibbs

Greg Gibbs was raised in the Philadelphia area but has set down roots in the suburbs of Detroit.  As the son of an IBM executive, his instincts for leadership were shaped early.  And, the commitment and involvement of his family in church leadership provided exposure to that environment as well.  He studied Organizational Communication as an undergrad and holds a master's degree in Theology. After a dozen years of leadership in churches both on the west coast and in Michigan, Greg turned his attention to consulting and has spent years traveling the country working with church leaders of all denominations, sizes, and approaches. Greg is both practitioner and consultant. He is the Director of Organizational Advancement for Kensington Church - his home church and one of the largest in the United States. Kensington is a multi-site church with eight campuses, and has helped fund and coach over 50 church plants around the country.  Greg’s tenure at Kensington includes the spear-heading of two $20M capital campaigns at Kensington, as well as developing the Leadership Development program. After 15 years of strategic consulting and having helped raise over $150M for various churches, Greg joined the Auxano team in 2016 as a Lead Navigator. Greg focuses his attention on counseling leaders regarding Clarity of Vision and Building a Generosity Culture in the church. He conducts the God Dreams Retreat, the Vision Frame Process, and other facilitated coaching as needed. Greg has been married to Andrea for 27 years and they have four children, two dogs, and like to roast their own coffee with beans they purchase at the Eastern Market in downtown Detroit.

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How to Crack the Code on the Future of Church Capital Campaigns

Here’s a little context for you: I’ve been helping lead out Capital Campaigns for almost 20 years, which means I’m clocking in at 100+ campaigns, including doing them (successfully!) during the 2008-2010 economic recession. Oh, and by the way…I live near Detroit!

Believe me, we not only felt the sting for those years, but have experienced the economic PTSD that goes along with that moment in history. People lost a lot. They lost jobs, homes, and often proximity to family support.

But I’ve noticed there are some long-lasting effects and Capital Campaigns can be a complex thing to talk about. The tension is palpable – even at the best churches in America.

Here are five barriers I’m seeing right now, along with five ways we can crack the code.

1) The Generation That Likes to Build Stuff is Passing Away

One of the great things about the Builders is that they got our country through some hard times and were instrumental in building churches, companies, and organizations that are now part of the fabric of our culture. As time passes, these builders (who also populate the top-giver ranks of many churches in America) are passing away. And some of the values they espoused are passing away with them.

CRACK THE CODE:
Continue to understand the ways to communicate with the generations behind the Builders. The Boomers still have a lot of wealth to give away – and the younger generations just need to be heard. They are ready to give, and are, in fact, one of the most generous generations, but they will want to see how dollars are connected to actual human impact. They grew up asking questions about ROI (and this is a good thing!).

2) The Institutional Church is Looked at with Skepticism

The church in America has always taken some level of criticism, but the real difference is the loudest cynics used to be primarily outside the church. Times have changed. Now, even inside the church the idea of committing to or investing in “the institution” of the church comes with some hefty questions.

CRACK THE CODE: 
Do not be afraid to do a kind of gracious defense of the church (at large) and your church. Meaning: Do not be defensive and do not excuse bad behavior by the church. But instead, kindly review the impact the church has had throughout the history of America, throughout all of history, and what impact your church has had for the good of the community in which you live. If you’re being faithful to your vision and that calling, people’s perspectives change.

3) Church Members are Busy, Distracted, and Not Present

Probably the hottest topic on church leadership blogs and forums for the last five years or so has been the decline of worship attendance. Will people choose sports events, kids activities or just stream online church service? Are they simply not motivated to spend their Sunday morning in the traditional place for Christians to go – church services? This impacts the ways in which we can get the word out about anything – including large scale funds initiatives.

CRACK THE CODE:
Be ruthless in your evaluation of your current communication strategies. What is working? How are people receiving information the best? Do we have the most effective platforms and channels? Ask communication specialists in the congregation to audit your approach and create a task team to help the church with going to a new level of excellence. But even more so, dig into what’s really happening at your church. Often, we use anecdotal evidence rather than really uncovering what might be happening. But at the end of the day, people show up and give to vision, and a worship service isn’t the vision. It’s simply a vehicle. Make sure people (or your messaging) don’t confuse the vision for the vehicle.

4) Younger Christians are More Likely to Give To NPOs

The next generation (let’s call it the under 40 crowd) have an amazing level of passion for meeting the needs of the world, both spiritually and in other ways. Though most churches are doing great work in a very fiscally responsible way, the point is there are still Non-Profit Organizations outside (or alongside) the church that have the ability to specialize and streamline their ministry focus, which creates opportunities for the under-40 crowd to really tailor their giving.

CRACK THE CODE:
Find out if this is true about the younger generations in your church. Ask them! Host a dinner with the express intent of having a discussion with a few dozen families about what motivates them to give, what turns them off, and whether or not the church is hitting the mark. Without being defensive, talk about the current ways in which the church is addressing justice, poverty, or education. And find out what it would take to garner more support for the church. Again, this is about vision! Maybe they have a vision for what your church can do, they desperately want to be part of it, and you now have some fresh bench strength!

5) There has Been Unrest about Long-Term Commitment Since 2010

There is no doubt that the majority of responses to funding needs were very consistent (with few exceptions) for decades in the Church Capital Campaign space. But something cracked in 2008-2010. All of a sudden asking someone for long-term commitments (the standard practice) felt like a shaky proposition.

CRACK THE CODE:
Consider going shorter term for your capital campaign collection – many churches are gravitating toward two-year collection periods (24 months) instead of the long standing tradition of three-year campaigns. Or consider cultivating increased generosity to the general fund combined with top-level budgeting practices to get the capital needed through the regular offerings. In other words, if you need a certain amount of capital and it actually amounts to (or equals) a 20% increase to your general fund each year, consider campaigning for this. It is somewhat semantic (because you are campaigning either way) but could be a great option for the church.

Doom and gloom? Not at all!

There are hundreds and hundreds of churches every year in America that do a bang up job of running a faith-soaked and discipleship-based capital campaign that have win-win benefits.

Want to hear more? You’re in luck! I’m releasing a new book called the Capital Campaign Playbook: An Insider Look At A Church Consultant’s Game Plan.

You can even download the first chapter here!

 

Download PDF

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Greg Gibbs

Greg Gibbs

Greg Gibbs was raised in the Philadelphia area but has set down roots in the suburbs of Detroit.  As the son of an IBM executive, his instincts for leadership were shaped early.  And, the commitment and involvement of his family in church leadership provided exposure to that environment as well.  He studied Organizational Communication as an undergrad and holds a master's degree in Theology. After a dozen years of leadership in churches both on the west coast and in Michigan, Greg turned his attention to consulting and has spent years traveling the country working with church leaders of all denominations, sizes, and approaches. Greg is both practitioner and consultant. He is the Director of Organizational Advancement for Kensington Church - his home church and one of the largest in the United States. Kensington is a multi-site church with eight campuses, and has helped fund and coach over 50 church plants around the country.  Greg’s tenure at Kensington includes the spear-heading of two $20M capital campaigns at Kensington, as well as developing the Leadership Development program. After 15 years of strategic consulting and having helped raise over $150M for various churches, Greg joined the Auxano team in 2016 as a Lead Navigator. Greg focuses his attention on counseling leaders regarding Clarity of Vision and Building a Generosity Culture in the church. He conducts the God Dreams Retreat, the Vision Frame Process, and other facilitated coaching as needed. Greg has been married to Andrea for 27 years and they have four children, two dogs, and like to roast their own coffee with beans they purchase at the Eastern Market in downtown Detroit.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I ask: “How long have you been coming here?” It’s works in every situation.
 
— Russell C
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Excellent information, thank You
 
— Thomas TC Gotcher
 
comment_post_ID); ?> […] source: https://www.visionroom.com/leadership-and-the-power-of-listening/ […]
 
— Bolstering your Leadership Armoury-Part 2- Leadership series – Toyer M–All things testing
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.