Capital campaigns become necessary when a church’s vision far exceeds its present reality. Capital campaigns can spur marked spiritual growth, deeper unity in the body, widespread sacrificial giving, and stronger faith – if a church is steadfast in keeping their mission as priority one, and has discerned a clear, compelling Holy Spirit-inspired vision, and is honest about their readiness to embark on a capital campaign.
The Mission must be Priority One. While vision, context, and methodology are unique to each church, the mission of every church is the Great Commission given to us by Christ. Before embarking on a capital campaign, church leaders must objectively assess whether a campaign will help to bring deeper mission attainment, or if a campaign might actually lead to mission distraction. For churches that have a track record of holding their mission above all else, a capital campaign will likely enhance the church’s ability to make disciples. But for churches that have a history of relegating discipleship to an afterthought, a capital campaign will likely only further erode the church’s ability to make disciples. Is the disciple-making mission of your church clearly understood, embraced, and held up as priority one? Is the capital campaign you are considering one that will illuminate the mission and help lead to deeper mission attainment?
There must be a clear, compelling Holy Spirit-inspired vision. Vision will either inspire or kill a capital campaign. A clear, compelling Holy Spirit-inspired vision that is communicated with enthusiasm and creativity can turn the driest of bones into healthy flesh. But a vague, uninspiring, poorly discerned “vision” can quickly turn healthy flesh into dry bones. Is your vision clear and compelling? Is your vision inspired by the Holy Spirit? If so, communicate the vision creatively and enthusiastically, trusting that the same Holy Spirit who inspired the vision will stir the hearts and minds of all who hear it.
Leaders must be honest about their readiness for a capital campaign. Capital campaigns require an extremely high level of commitment from pastors, leaders, staff, and congregations. Capital campaigns can be invigorating, but also very, very exhausting, especially for those directly involved. For this reason, it is a good idea for pastors to honestly and prayerfully consider their call to serving the church for at least the next three years. A pastor – especially a lead pastor – who senses imminent closure to his or her current ministry is cause enough to press the pause button before proceeding with a capital campaign. The staff and consistory leadership must also honestly consider their commitment to a capital campaign. To proceed, key leaders must be on board, ready to lead and eager to contribute.