Dealing with Push Back

By: Doug Clark

People in shape of churchOne of the most important discoveries a church has is finding out if they are indeed ready for a Capital Campaign. There are four prerequisites that need to be present for a Capital Campaign to be successful and one of them is an ‘Appealing Case.’ The church must have a strong “case” or rationale for conducting the campaign at a particular time.

The case must be clearly defined and well documented. It must be visionary and meet far-ranging, long-term needs. Furthermore, it must speak to the needs and opportunities perceived as being most important to the church.

During the Feasibility Study the case is presented, both in Focus Groups and in personal interviews, in hopes of getting honest feedback from the parishioners. It is obviously so refreshing when attendees respond affirmatively. Who doesn’t like that? Let the party begin – they are on board.

But it would be foolish to not be prepared for the tough questions, the ‘nay-sayers’ and those who simply say ‘over my dead body’. I am of the opinion that it is healthy to have push back.

As leaders, how should we respond to those who voice a negative opinion?

First realize that means they are engaged and that’s a good thing! The last thing you want are ‘yes’ men. “Yes Men” are the first to jump off the ship when the waves get too big.

Second, take it as a compliment that they must feel safe enough to share a differing opinion. The last thing you want is to find out later a large segment of your congregation didn’t like the idea but were too afraid to speak up.

Third, realize some people just need more time to process the concept. Just because they speak against the idea or have reservation at the moment doesn’t mean that is where they remain. Especially if a solid response is given to them

Fourth, some just will never agree to it – and that’s okay. You will always have those who just won’t get on board. Have room for that. As a church we are called to love everyone – even those who disagree with us. This is a great time to do just that.

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