Most pastors dread capital campaigns.
In fact, although his church has several campuses, running several thousand each weekend, Pastor Philip Lee feels the same way.
“I’d rather have you stick me in the eye with a sharp stick that do a capital campaign,” he says.
Sharp words (pun intended), but many of you can probably relate. Maybe you’ve even avoided running one for this very reason. And while Pastor Lee won’t disagree with the burden it can be, he has learned some very helpful principles on his way to building a successful ministry.
1. Recognize that Money is Always an Emotional Issue
There’s a reason Jesus said “where you treasure is, there your heart will be also,” Lee says. There’s nothing like money to draw an emotional reaction from us.
Besides that, Pastor Lee says that pastors are up against another challenge – a negative stigma about the church. “There’s also a perception, particularly of “un-churched” folks, or folks who are outside the church, that all pastors and churches are interested in is my money. That’s all they want,” Lee says.
Perhaps the most effective strategy, lee says, is just being open and honest, admitting money is an emotional issue from the get-go and facing conversations and teachings that way.
2. People Don’t Give to Need, They Give to Vision
“If you’re just talking about a need. If you’re just talking about keeping the lights on. If you’re just talking about the needs of the church; that’s not inspiring,” Lee says.
Churchgoers have plenty of other things in their life identified as needs: HOA dues, bills, tuition, etc. If the church gets added to the list, it’s likely to be treated the same way. Instead, Lee says, you’ve got to talk about things differently.
“So, when we did a capital campaign to launch these campuses, we talked about the vision being able to reach people in locations that we would never be able to reach here. So, we cast a vision,” Lee says.
3. Generosity is Almost Never the Main Issue
Third and final is this idea of why people don’t give. Lee says that the general consensus is that it’s just a lack of generosity, however, he doesn’t see it that way.
“One things we realized was that the problem wasn’t that our people weren’t generous. Our people are some of the most generous, giving people. The problem was seventy percent of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. You have zero margin. So, they had nothing to give, because they were obligated to Visa and MasterCard and mortgage and car payments and all of that.”
This means that sometimes, in order for people to give to the church, the church has to give first. Pastor Lee says that investing in your people so that they learn healthy habits and practices with their money will do wonders for what they’re able to give. When people are free from the burdens of debt payments, they become free to give generously to the church.
Successful capital campaigns are all about how you communicate your message. If you want to learn a simple framework for how to communicate why people should come to your church and why they should give, click below and register for One Big Church today. We provide you with an online platform to be found by people looking for a church home and come alongside you to clarify exactly what makes your ministry compelling and distinct. When you’re clear about who you are as a church, people start to connect. When that happens, a movement starts.
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