How to Make Debt Retirement Exciting

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church debt retirement capital campaignDebt retirement campaigns will work. While many churches have the perception that members won’t give to pay down debt, in fact, they will support debt reduction if they are properly motivated.

However, debt retirement campaigns will typically raise less than other campaigns might. It’s not necessarily a lack of interest in the cause. The reason they raise less is often because campaigns focused on debt are following up after other capital campaigns. You are asking the same people to give to you again.

For the best results, you need to make paying down the debt seem more exciting and compelling than it might sound. Focus on the vision of what can be gained by eliminating the debt rather than the actual debt itself.

It’s also important to be honest and transparent when presenting a debt retirement campaign to your congregation. Every dollar going to debt is a dollar that is not being used to build up the ministry and promote the mission of the church.

The more you know about your church’s current financial situation, the better you can present the need for debt retirement to your members.

Here are six questions to address as you start the journey to debt retirement:

1. Why does your church have debt?
Your members may not even remember why you have debt. They may assume that the new construction or remodeling that was completed to grow the church and its ministry has been paid for. They may think a previous capital campaign fully funded the vision. Be open and honest about communicating the cause or source of the debt.

2. How much do you owe?
This is one of the first questions your members will ask. Make sure the full amount of the debt is clearly explained.

3. How much is coming out of your operating budget?
Church members may be surprised by how much of your operational budget is being used by debt. Let your congregation know both the monthly and yearly amount. It will help them see how carrying the debt is hindering other opportunities within the church.

4. What is the interest on the loan?
For many of your members, hearing the amount of interest created by the loan over its lifetime really brings home the impact the loan has on your church’s stewardship opportunities.

5. How long will it take to retire the debt?
If you continue making principal and interest payments, how long will it take you to pay off the loan? Knowing the loan will still be paid by your children – and maybe even grandchildren – helps to put the impact of the debt into perspective.

6. What could you be doing with that money right now?
Members want to know the ultimate goal behind paying off the debt. People can be inspired to give by the opportunities that can be created. For instance, explain how the church will be able to provide new ministry, expand programs, or address other areas of growth.

While some members will see the financial responsibility of eliminating debt, many are not inspired to give simply so that the church can be free of debt. You must excite and intrigue members with the possibilities that will open up for the church once the debt is gone.

For more information about creating a successful debt retirement campaign, please emailor call Church Campaign Services at 888.558.6873.