Nourishment for your Capital Campaign – PRAYER
(Part I of a II part Series)
By Skip Schlafer
What nourishes you…feeds your soul…inspires you? Is it your family…your occupation…your community? For Christians, the answer might be reading scripture…participating in the eucharist…times of meditation, and yes…prayer. Just as we are individually fed by prayer, our efforts as a community of faith are nourished by prayer. Whether discerning a new ministry or supporting a current ministry, prayer is an integral part of the process.
In his book Stewardship The Proven Path, Jim Klote comments on the importance of “keeping the focus of the campaign on spiritual issues”. He suggests two critical components – a campaign prayer and a prayer vigil. Your campaign’s Steering Committee’s Spiritual Emphasis person is key to accomplishing both.
Let’s consider the campaign prayer. My personal recommendation is that you think of it as your “elevator speech” to God or in church-speak, a “collect”, a short prayer – especially one assigned to a particular day or season. Words, words, and more words are not necessary and, in fact, can be a distraction, limiting the frequent use of the prayer. Consider…The European Economic Community Directive on the Export of Duck Eggs reportedly contains nearly 27,000 words…our Declaration of Independence has 300…and The Lord’s Prayer approximately 60 words. Using your church’s unique DNA as a guide, create an “elevator speech” to God using enough words to nourish you, your congregation and your campaign.
Now that you have a campaign prayer, what next? Use it…pray it. Just as food in your cupboard does not provide nourishment until it is used, neither will a campaign prayer nourish your campaign until it is prayed. Make the prayer available for every member’s use by printing it on prayer cards, bookmarks, and in Sunday service bulletins. Post it on your website; include it in weekly e-mail blasts. Does your church have a prayer group, members known to be prayer champions, prayer warriors? Provide them with copies for their individual devotions. Lead by example, integrating the prayer into church meetings and worship services.
In ninety-five words the following campaign collect, similar in structure to The Lord’s Prayer, has an opening invocation, a petition of thanks and petitions of need. It also expresses the church’s unique DNA in the words “a space where love dwells,
music swells, children learn, and friends laugh”…words that have become a touchstone for this congregation.
O Lord, Creator of heaven and earth;
We give you thanks for beautiful spaces
where we live, worship, and serve.
We ask that you inspire in us steadfast spirits
as we seek to open new doors,
doors to build fellowship, develop community,
and serve our neighbors.
Help us to build a space where love dwells,
music swells, children learn, and friends laugh.
Empower us to give generously
so that we may be your hands and feet in this world.
Continue to guide us along our journey
of Opening Doors, serving others in your name.