Jesus – Without Jesus all you have is a fundraiser. There is nothing wrong with a fundraiser if you are building a library or adding a wing to a hospital, but if you are a church and your mission is to reach the world for Christ than you need something a little more robust. At the epicenter of every successful life-altering, heart-expanding, ministry-enabling capital campaign is Jesus Christ.
Prayer – It is the foundation of every successful capital campaign I have ever witnessed or been a part of. Timing, team members, development, design, message content; every detail of the campaign should be bathed in prayer.
Calendar – Successful capital campaigns begin with the end date in mind and then work backwards. Essentially everything on the above prayer list should also have a date and a place on your campaign calendar.
Enlistment – Who is going to do all this stuff? Many hands make light work but smaller teams are easier to manage. This is just one of the many things you are going to want to commit to prayer. Whether you are relying on volunteers, staff members or a combination of both be sure to allow enough time for them to clear their plates to make room for the added challenges of a campaign.
Leadership – Successful campaigns don’t just happen, they are skillfully led. If you don’t have a great deal of experience leading capital campaigns or if the campaigns you have lead have not been as successful as you would have liked give prayerful consideration to hiring a coach or consultant to guide you through the process.
Accountability – The road to a failed capital campaign is paved with good intentions. Because every item on your campaign calendar is time sensitive (hey, that’s why it’s on a calendar). Every campaign component needs to be broken down into individual tasks. Each task needs to be assigned a start date and a completion date. The completion of each individual task needs to be confirmed while there is still time to do something about it.
Repetition – It is the one thing I can promise you during a campaign. From asking people what would prevent them
from making the largest financial commitment that they have ever made in their life to articulating how this campaign is going to fuel ministry, you will be saying many of the same things over and over again. Keep this in mind; when you are absolutely certain that you will be sick to your stomach if you repeat the same words just one more time about two-thirds of the congregation will be just starting to get the message.
Sacrifice – It gets a bad wrap in our culture but it’s important to talk about. Define it, talk about what it looks like, about what it does, how God uses and multiplies our sacrifice for his Kingdom. Generosity is good, but it is only through sacrificial giving, giving at a level that impacts our life that we can really impact others.
Invitation – Successful capital campaigns are an ongoing invitation process. There are the earliest conversations inviting leaders to pray about making ministry changing gifts that God has enabled them to make. There is the invitation to the congregation to respond on Commitment Sunday. There are the ongoing invitations to those who are new to the church or who for whatever reason were unable or unwilling to respond at the time of the campaign. Campaign success requires leaders to keep an invitation at the ready.
Expectations – While there is no way to know the outcome of the campaign until you complete it there are some things that you can expect with near absolute certainty and those expectations should be great. Of course you can expect hard work and endless repetition, but you can expect so much more. Implemented correctly you expect to fund projects and fuel ministry. You can expect to see hearts altered and lives changed. You can expect to see the congregation unite with laser-like intensity, you can expect to see God honored like never before and you can expect to see God do powerful things in your midst.
Not bad for ten little words.
Alan Morrison is a capital campaign coach and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.