We recently had a dialogue with Dr. Bob Hallett, president of TLC Ministries. Dr. Hallett has devoted his life to Christ, and to stewardship of churches and their resources for the past 25 years. Here are more of his insights into a successful stewardship campaign.
The Importance of Timing
Dr. Hallett talked about the timing of fundraising in the process of planning a new church building. The first step is recognizing when it appears there is enough energy among attendees to support the church building project. By beginning the planning at that point, you can get a realistic sense of the amount of funds to expect, and make financing arrangements to bridge the gap between what can be raised and what total amount is needed for the building.
This reality check needs to happen before the church gets too far along in the planning process. In a church building project, Dr. Hallett suggests, you can add with joy but you cannot subtract without pain. Once people see an illustration of their dreams in some type of visual fashion, it is demoralizing to tell them that the church cannot afford it after all. It is better to start with the basics of what the church can afford, then add to the plan if more money becomes available.
Why Church Building Projects Miss the Mark
Dr. Hallett concluded our conversation with the biggest reasons why stewardship campaigns fall short of their goal. He listed five major things that can sabotage a campaign:
- When church leaders, especially the senior pastor, lack a personal, passionate belief in the project and its purposes, and don’t support it.
- When church attendees feel that the project is not really necessary, isn’t the right approach, or costs too much.
- When church leaders did not ask for, and accept, input and suggestions from the people. This leaves attendees with no feeling of ownership of the church building project.
- When the goal is set too high, and attendees feel they are unlikely to be able to reach it.
- When alternative solutions for the issues driving the church building project have not been sought out and seriously considered.
Any one or more of these issues can present major problems for the campaign, but recognizing and handling them early can still put the church on much more solid ground when it comes to raising funds.
Free Booklet and More Information
Dr. Hallett has authored a free online booklet, “When Your Church Needs to Build.” It has more details on what goes into a successful stewardship campaign. You can download this helpful information and useful tips for the church building process.
For more information that’s based on our church building experiences here at The McKnight Group, sign up today for our free i3 webinars, or contact us at 800-625-6448 with your church building questions.