6 Tips in Leading Your Next Capital Campaign

I was given a campaign manual on my first day as an XP. That’s right, I got my first assignment and it was to lead our growing church plant through a capital campaign that would allow us to double our space. Over the next six years, I found myself in back-to-back campaigns as our church attendance grew from 500 to over 2,000 people in weekend attendance. I learned some valuable lessons and some best practices during those six years that I want to pass on to you.

> Slow Down in Order to Speed Up

When it comes to campaigns everyone is in a hurry. Proper prep takes time especially when it’s linked to expanding your space. Most of us pastor types (human types) want everything right now. Determining the scope of a project, the consultant, the lender, the architect, the site issues, along with a dozen more issues are critical to address if your campaign is going to be successful. The more focused you are as you begin, the greater the impact and results. Often the best way to speed up the entire process is to slow down.

> Hire the Right Consultant

I’m not sure what would have happened if we had not hired the right consultant from day one. Failing to engage a consultant may actually cost you tens of thousands of dollars in the long haul. Yes, there are fees involved when you hire a good consultant, A good consultant can be costly, but I promise you it’s the best money you can spend if you want to maximize your campaign. You will find these characteristics in a top-notch consultant:

• Calling – Do they have a passion for helping the local church?

• Competent – Do they have a proven track record as a campaign consultant and do they have local church experience?

• Character – Do they do what they say they’ll do? What do are other people say about who they are?

• Chemistry – Do they understand and fit your culture?

> Let the Senior Leader Call the Shots

First, the Senior Pastor must have buy-in and be engaged. Clearly, every senior leader leads differently. I’ve been in situations where the senior leader wanted to micro-manage every detail. I’ve been in other situations where he wanted to be told “when” and “where.” As an XP it should always be your goal to help the senior leader succeed. So lean into his or her leadership style to accomplish this. My starting point as an XP was, “What is it that I must have from the senior leader for this to succeed?” I made sure he was freed up to actually do that. My job began with his job.

> Link Your Campaign to Vision

Campaigns tend to be too focused on money. The place we need to begin is vision. A good campaign will always start and end with vision. Vision clarity is a must. People give to vision, not to buildings unless it’s part of a larger vision.

> Listen to Your Consultant

Don’t assume you know more about the campaign than your consultant. I have found that there are times when leadership resists listening to their consultant. This happens when the church has had a previous win or big success. Unfortunately, a previous win doesn’t mean the next one will go just as well. It often doesn’t.

> Work Really Hard

Campaigns are hard work. Effective campaigns are even harder. The harder you work, the greater the results. Don’t take shortcuts during this season. Plan on working long, hard days. It will pay off.

I hope these tips will guide you to run a successful campaign that will help you advance your mission and make disciples.

More from David.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Putman

David Putman

David is a Lead Navigator serving on the Auxano Team, the category leader in vision clarity and vision focus campaigns. He is also founder leader of Planting the Gospel a non-profit ministry committed to helping churches move discipleship from a program to a culture. He has been involved in church planting for over twenty years as a planter, strategist, and coach. He is author of I Woke Up In Heaven, The Gospel Disciple, Detox for the Overly Religious, Breaking the Discipleship Code, and co-author of Breaking the Missional Code with Ed Stetzer. He latest book The Gospel Disciple Journey will be released in February 2014. David’s life mission is to help others discover the simplicity, centrality, and beauty of Jesus and his ways. David is married to Tami and they have two awesome kids, and two even more awesome grandkids.

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In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
 
— Russ Wright
 
"While I understand the intent behind this phrase" Expound please. What do you understand to be the intent behind that phrase?
 
— Ken
 
Thank you for this article! I'm the pastor of a small church. My gifting is in teaching and we are known for aiding Christians in becoming Biblically literate. Visitor's often comment on God's presence being very real in our services. But we just don't seem to be growing. I have some soul-searching, etc. to do and this article provides some solid ground from which to proceed. Thank you again.
 
— Jonathan Schultheis
 

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