Out of our comfort zones for good reasons

When it’s time to stand up front and start special fundraising projects in the church, most of us would rather stay in bed. This is not what we signed up for.

But we all reap the benefits of what other people have done to make ministries, buildings, and systems possible; we must recognize the needs for now and for the future. And we do have the Lord and His mission at stake, with His Spirit and strength that have been promised.

Some churches really benefit from having fundraising drives for regular ministries and expansion ideas every three or four years. All churches have the needed building project every so often. And guess who must lead the way?

So please allow the three of us to share ideas that have helped us, and please hear that in spite of times of discomfort, we would all do it again.

Hoping to help,

Knute, with Jeff and Jim

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What part is the responsibility of the pastor?

Jeff Bogue

  • It is mostly the responsibility of the pastor.
  • The senior leader needs to lead these projects and needs to lead the way in fundraising for these projects.
  • If the senior leader has not bought in and does not have clarity and passion for the projects, there will be no way to bring the people to bear on them either. He must lead the way.

Jim Brown

  • The pastor must set the vision and believe wholeheartedly in the project.
  • He must be willing to lead the way in sacrificial giving too. Your money follows your heart. I recall a capital campaign where we, as a leadership team, went before the congregation and shared that we believed so much in the vision that we had already pledged enough to buy the land.
  • Influence the influencers! Meet with them and share why you believe this vision is needed and best for your church. It will require extra time but it is worth it!
  • Communicate, communicate, and communicate! Keep the vision clear!

Knute Larson

  • All of it, in one sense. Because the pastor has overall responsibility, it all happens on his watch. Therefore, he is responsible. This does not at all mean that we don’t get very responsible people involved in the leadership of this, but even on a day when there is a reaction to single position leadership of a church, someone has to carry the weight of responsibility.
  • Whoever is in the pulpit most, leads the church. And part of the leadership for raising funds starts at the pulpit. No question. Mood, vision, and characteristics of the church are set from the pulpit first.
  • Maybe we sometimes make too little of communication, mood, and love.

Who should you enlist to help with overall strategy, for regular and special projects?

Jeff Bogue

  • I highly recommend hiring a consultant, or at a minimum bringing in a pastor who has a successful track record of raising money, so you can work to get your head around it.
  • After you’ve hired a consultant once or twice, learn to do this in-house. The economic savings from doing this in-house and the trust it builds with your people are important.
  • When you’re building a church and ministry, it’s critical that you learn to talk about and raise money without apology and with vision.

 Jim Brown

  • Gifted people who believe in the vision too. Make sure they already are givers too. How can they be making requests for others to give when they personally are not giving generously?
  • Make sure you don’t manage the mechanics of the project. Stats show that if a senior pastor manages the project/campaign about 20 percent of the time he will only last for about one year after the project is completed.
  • Enlist capable, excited, and respected people to rally others to give!
  • This is a great time to empower other people with the vision by giving them specific tasks.

Knute Larson

  • The best and most respected people with vision and with the strongest hearts toward Christ. While that seems obvious, sometimes we can turn to the most vocal people or the same ones we used last time.
  • Every special project for giving needs a guiding or vision team. They not only contribute ideas but are the lead givers and influencers for generosity in the church. Men, women, and all ages.
  • Plus, it is often good to get guidance help from coaches and agencies who specialize in raising funds or financial projects for a church. They are very good at it. Just be sure they have the same mood you do as a church.
  • Sometimes the best thing the pastor can do is admit he’s not good at this, and make that part of the appeal to people who are very strong in the area of influence, vision, and asking.
  • One of the best things you can do at a business meeting or members information meeting to consider adopting a project, is to have all the leaders or the main committee standing up front with you. That way the people do not think it is just the pastor’s idea or even just the board’s! Symbols are important, and also others can answer questions from different perspectives.
  • Always be sure also to get a strong communications team; utilize people who do this for a living when possible.

Give some practical and specific practices to help.

Jeff Bogue

  • Make sure you have the right people in the right seats.
  • Interact with your leaders first.
  • Give a specific, tangible vision. Set achievable goals. Lead with evangelism.
  • Try to understand if there’s a community need that can be met.
  • Make sure it’s all tied to your vision and your values so the whole project makes sense.
  • You need to have a story to tell, so build the narrative from Scripture all the way through your vision and values as to why this project will meet these needs.
  • Lastly, and most importantly, you must see this as discipleship.
  • Jesus is the one who says our hearts and our treasure are in the same place, so when our hearts are following Jesus, it makes all the sense in the world that our money will as well. Teach that and give the proper biblical perspective, helping people understand scripturally what they’re doing and why.
    • This is critical and will raise dollars, but more importantly it will raise the maturity and the passion of your congregation.

Jim Brown

  • Before launching spend concentrated time in prayer. Set aside time for fasting and prayer with your leadership team.
  • Make sure your presentations utilize high quality videos and social media to create excitement.
  • The senior pastor does not need to be at every meeting unless you want to burn out!
  • Celebrate the journey.
  • Place an emphasis on people, not necessarily the buildings. We buried rocks under the concrete that had names of lost people on them. Literally the building was built on lost people. That way you can go back one day and tell that person that their name is under the floor right here. We even put names of lost people on pieces of the lumber in the walls.
  • Know that you will be attacked spiritually. Satan hates that you want to advance the kingdom of God. Be prayed up and read up with God’s Word!
  • Place the names of the givers on a wall and recognize their generosity! Let people know who put skin in the game!
  • Talk to someone who has been there before. There will be moments where you need some encouragement poured into you, that the money will come after you have taken the step of faith. It was very helpful for me to sit with a fellow pastor who said, “God will supply!”

Knute Larson

  • Always include one global missions project and one local outreach project in a local church building project. This is a constant reminder that we are part of a much bigger picture or mission begun by our Lord.
  • Do not try to reinvent the procedure or go against commonly accepted principles and steps. Many churches have done projects and special giving campaigns very, very well. They have followed biblical principles and done it for the glory of Christ, but also used proven steps from experts and other churches. This is not a “ma and pa” operation in any size church.
  • Thank people every step of the way. Thank them some more.
  • Give generously yourself. Not that anyone will know, but you always want to have a very clean conscience about this and be able to mimic Paul in I Corinthians 11:1.
  • Mission, mission, mission. Stories, stories, stories. People give because they know others are being truly helped and the message of Christ is getting around. Often facts and figures dominate when mission stories and personal testimonies would be better.
  • Pray more and everywhere: in small groups, in the main pastoral prayer, and in the worship times also.
  • Get ready to celebrate. The feelings of accomplishment and expansion of the Kingdom will be wonderful feelings ahead. Hang on. The hard and extra work will be worth it. I was involved in seven major building projects in 43 years of pastoring, and the extra work and the feelings of being outside my comfort zone were plentiful. But they were all good for the church and for our mission both in our community and around the world.

Pastorpedia is a resource provided to you by CE National, a church effectiveness ministry. Please contact us at cenational@cenational.org or 574.267.6622 if we may be of any help to you or your ministry!

Jeff Bogue, of Grace Church, in several locations in the Bath-Norton-Medina areas of Ohio; Jim Brown, of Grace Community Church in Goshen, Indiana, a church known for its strong growth, family and men’s ministries, and community response teams; and Knute Larson, a coach of pastors, who previously led The Chapel in Akron for 26 years. Pastorpedia is brought to you by CE National. Visit cenational.org/pastorpedia for more issues and to read the bios of our contri

Jeff Bogue
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Jeff Bogue
Pastor at Grace Church of Greater Akron

Dr. Jeff Bogue is a pastor whose passion is to help Jesus make sense to everyone. He became a Christ-follower as a junior in college. His passion for ministry comes from his own experience of searching for the mind and heart of God, and being completely changed by what he discovered.

Jeff is a graduate of Grace College and Seminary in Win­ona Lake, Indiana. He’s had the privilege of sharing life with the people of Grace Church of Greater Akron, Ohio, for the past twenty-three years, where he leads 7 campuses with over 10,000 people calling Grace their home. Jeff is grateful he’s been able to take his life journey with such amaz­ing people. He’s energized by leading the church to love and serve the people in their community.

Jeff and his soul-mate, Heidi, have been married for 23 years. They have five wonderful sons and one beautiful daughter. One of Jeff’s greatest joys is serving together with his family as they work to express God’s love all over the world. Wherever the Bogues go, they see not only a desperate need for the compassion and mercy of Christ to be expressed through the meeting of physical needs, but also for the hope of Christ’s message of salvation needed for the soul.

Jim Brown
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Jim Brown

Jim Brown not only has been a part of great general growth at Goshen’s Grace Community, but also among men and the young, and families. Think “Fight Club” for men when you read Jim, but also community ministries, joy and excitement about serving and building each other, and outreach. He and Anne have three children and a lot of fun and grace! He thinks ministry!

Knute Larson
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Knute Larson
Pastor Coach | Website

Knute Larson coaches pastors, one on one or in small groups, and teaches at Grace and Trinity seminaries’ D. Min programs. He pastored 26 years at The Chapel in Akron after 15 at Grace in Ashland, where he was also Ed Lewis’ predecessor as CE Exec Director. You will catch his embrace of grace and expository preaching with love for people. Read Knute’s blog at pastorknutelarson.com.

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