3. And yes, Process
I have spent 35 years in a challenging business environment and have a solid background using business techniques to achieve results in the quickest and most effective ways to get to the bottom line. Well, you might ask, what’s the biggest difference in leading businesses versus churches to achieving positive results? In the church, if you violate process, you can’t get to the bottom line!
Church capital campaigns are a great study in leadership.
First, the bad news
The pattern of less effectiveness in church campaigns can be similar to the issues of Washington, D.C. We find lots of people talking, and few listening. A church I served several years ago in the Southeast told me their congregation couldn’t wait to get into a capital campaign. In our initial meeting, as the leaders gathered for the first time, I asked them to respond to this question: You all know the nature of the funding necessary and the urgency, but I need to know if the average member sitting in the pews knows about the need and the urgency.
Well, all the leaders nodded and affirmed that everyone “out there” knew about the need. Except for one. The woman sitting on my left looked up and said, “No one beyond this room has any idea about the need and those I’ve spoken to can’t understand why we spent so much on this project. We have a major job ahead just to inform the congregation.” Leadership insisted she was wrong, and this campaign struggled from the first moment we gathered.
The good news
Another church I served had done a major remodel several years earlier and had “pulled out” of a project to remodel their sanctuary because it was too controversial. Some members didn’t let go, because they believed the project was essential to the future of the church. A building committee stayed with that sanctuary project for ten years, holding feedback sessions and group meetings, continually revising the plan.
Finally, they engaged me to do a feasibility study, and we found that about 15-20% of congregants still couldn’t accept the new plan. They revised it once again. Ten years after the first proposal, this campaign was so successful the campaign goal was reached before the leadership phase was completed.
Listen, listen, listen, and be persistent. This church committee “never gave up.”
To talk more about your church’s leadership and the importance of process in your capital campaign, please email or call Church Campaign Services at 888.558.6873.