Alan Wildes

Alan Wildes

How To Prepare For A Capital Campaign

When a church goes through a capital campaign, they can experience a renewed energy surrounding the church’s vision, or they can experience their congregation looking for another church to attend. They can experience a spiritual revival, or a spiritual decay. 

They may experience something in between.

Going through a capital campaign at your church will have spiritual implications. We all want to provide a platform for spiritual revival and see our people thrive and grow closer to Jesus. 

So how do we prepare for that?

You start early. A year early.

12 months before you plan to have a Commitment, Sunday, you should be preparing yourself, your leaders and your congregation. 

Here’s what those twelve months looks like in three simple steps:

1. Pray

Ask God if this project is the right next step for your church. Then, ask again. This will be a spiritual journey for you as the leader, but it is also an opportunity to invite others on this journey so God can grow them and in them, too. 

Let your first team or committee be a group of prayer warriors and lay leaders to pray specifically with you over the campaign.

2. Seek wise counsel… and seek it early.

There are skilled and experienced professionals available in every aspect of the building process. Many of us will offer free advice to help you get going and answer questions you might have. Surrounding yourself with the right partners early is essential. 

Often, as a consultant I am brought in 6 to 12 months too late. If you know you’re going to have a capital campaign, then select your consultant at the same time you select your project manager and architect.

There are so many mistakes that could have been avoided over the years if churches would have brought in their Generosity Coach into the process earlier. 

3. Obtain buy-in from your leaders at every step in the process. 

This is your staff, core leaders and the congregation, in that order. Communicate messages more than what you think you need to, and then communicate them a few more times. 

The biggest mistake that I see over and over in my 20 years as a Generosity Coach is leaders and pastors assuming that their people know what is going on with the process. The only way for them to know what is going on is for you to tell them, and for you to tell them often and through every communication at your disposal. 

Set up a meeting, have phone calls ahead of time, have handouts at the meeting with details, and then email those key points out again after the meeting as a follow up. This is not insignificant, but noteworthy. Be as clear as possible.

If you want to free yourself up as the leader to focus on the spiritual side of giving when it matters most, take these steps seriously and initiate them early. That may feel like you’re focusing on some rational aspects of the project, especially when it comes to communicating the details. I know that’s not always the most fun part, but it’s a critical step in the process.

“Your people must be comfortable with the intellectual side of the equation before they will be able to seek God’s counsel for their own financial commitment in the campaign.”

The sooner you can get started in addressing their intellectual hurdles and removing them from the equation, the sooner you can begin talking about spiritual growth as it pertains to giving.

Have you thought about a capital campaign for your church? How have you been preparing for it?

Have you completed a capital campaign in your church? What was one way you might prepare differently next time?

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Alan serves as Vice President of Generis, a company that exists to accelerate generosity toward the church's God-inspired vision.

Copyright 2018