Pray, Prepare, and Press On!

By: Carl Graber

Over many years of opportunities, while assisting clients, primarily churches and other nonprofit organizations with capital campaigns, I have developed my personal signature closure; “Pray, prepare and press on!”

Pray: Although this may be obvious to most, we must begin every campaign with fervent prayer. We are frequently reminded to begin with prayer in every significant effort as we grow our faith and our churches. Does every God-sized project or goal require prayer? May we pray without ceasing to follow God’s guidance, discerning his desire for us and our church and not our own desires? Certainly, pastors and lay leaders must lead this disciplined effort and continue throughout the process as we actively engage the entire church body and constituency.

Prepare: For the sake of brevity, may we assume leaders of your organization have invited and engaged your entire constituency as an integral part of a comprehensive due diligence and strategic plan to identify priorities and needs? Hopefully and as importantly, pastors and lay leaders have been fully involved, along with the church members and partners in the research and evaluating of the best approach/best practices to fulfill the identified needs and priorities. A very critical component of moving forward with the very best practices, process and methodology is selection of the right capital stewardship consulting firm to assist you when you need to raise significant dollars for capital needs and/or debt reduction/elimination. Now what? I would refer you to several research studies, which include surveys of many churches. One comprehensive study in particular, was conducted by Volkart May & Associates, Inc. of Minneapolis. This was an independent study in 2010, in which very relevant questions were asked of church leaders regarding their methods, processes and results during capital campaigns. Which capital stewardship firm provides you with the best opportunity of reaching your proposed goals?

Press on: When is the best time for a capital campaign?

  1. Begin when your leadership (pastors and lay leaders) is ready! We never recommend moving forward without prior planning, although, there are always challenges for growing churches during capital campaigns.
  2. How do you determine if you have majority support from your members, partners and constituency? You must begin by engaging them and keeping them involved during the planning process. Then, you should never begin a capital campaign without a formal and thorough readiness assessment! This assessment will confirm your priorities and build member support. It may slightly alter some priorities as you listen to member input before beginning the capital campaign. Also, you will learn what you think you know and don’t.
  3. Are you (pastors and lay leaders) willing to literally and completely follow the professional counsel from your consultant related to the consulting firm’s process and methodology for a successful capital campaign? Are you willing to walk along side your consultant as your best hope, with God’s help, as they provide you with expertise from many years of stewardship consulting experience? Your James D. Klote & Associates, Inc. consultant will be very passionate about your campaign’s success, while assisting you in your church growth. My most humbling and complimentary personal example was from a pastor friend when he said to me; “You are my Barnabas!” I don’t know if I deserved his edification, but, I was totally committed to stand by his side through the most difficult of capital campaign challenges. As a team, we are always at our best when consultants, pastors, lay leaders and church volunteers pray, prepare, worship and press on together.

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