It Starts With a Vision

It Starts With a Vision

If you want to raise significant dollars in a capital campaign you must realize It Starts With a Vision. That is the title of this Coach and the key to a successful campaign. I’m starting back my series on how to do your own capital campaign, entitled Giving Away the Farm. For the next few weeks, I will be sharing with you the keys to organizing and successfully managing your capital campaign. The advice I will be giving you, depending upon the size of your church, would cost you thousands of dollars from a stewardship consultant. I’m giving it away for free!

One of the first things you need to learn is that teams don’t raise money; vision does. I led our industry to focus more on working on, establishing, and communicating a compelling vision. I rarely used a team approach because it is a waste of time and doesn’t raise a church more money. If anything, it turns people off.

In the past, stewardship firms organized a multitude of teams to ensure the success of a campaign. The reasoning was that the more people were involved in a campaign, the more pledges would be made. So, we organized various teams and then attempted to sign people up to make calls, set up tables, or whatever work we could come up with. Most of it, frankly, was busy work. In the ’80s and ’90s, that might have worked. It doesn’t work in the 21st century. Why would we put all our marbles in something that no longer works? Teams don’t raise money; vision does!

The better you communicate that vision, the more likely your campaign will be a success. Your vision, properly communicated, will connect with your people, causing them to willingly give more to support that vision. This is true in good times and in bad times.

In the fall of 2008, I started writing my first book, Recession Proof Your Offerings. One of the chapters of that book was entitled “Vision: The Reason People Give.” If you remember, we were in the midst of what became known as The Great Recession. Scores of churches ceased to exist due to the financial pressure the economy created upon giving. I contend they did not have a giving problem. They had a vision problem. Here is what I wrote in 2008:

“Vision, when it comes to stewardship, is the main driver of why people give. Vision is what keeps me giving even when the economy is down. Never will vision be more important than in stressful economic times. Several years ago, I coined this truth: Good Vision Trumps Bad Economy!”

The economy impacts giving, and our economy is not good, so you need to utilize the connecting power of vision to trump this bad economy. But how?

I feel we have often made casting a vision more difficult than it needs to be. We have focused more on making vision statements cute and catchy. There are scores of books on vision and how to develop one. In fact, it has been one of the most written about and talked about subjects in Christian leadership circles. I think finding your vision is much simpler than we have made it. I believe it comes down to what is in your heart.

Vision starts in your heart. David had a vision to build a temple. He cast that vision in I Chronicles 28:2, which says, “King David rose to his feet and said: “Listen to me, my brothers and my people. I had it in my heart to build a house as a place of rest for the ark…”

What’s in your heart? Remember the ad that asks, “What’s in your wallet?” When it comes to raising capital dollars, the question is, what’s your vision? Vision starts with the Senior Pastor. Let me illustrate.

A God idea or a good idea? Once, during my twenty years as a pastor, I rose on a Sunday night to address a certain issue that needed the approval of our church. Time has eroded my memory of exactly what I was proposing. But I remember the question my wife, Valerie, asked me later that night at home. At dinner, she asked me, “Do you really believe this is God’s will for our church?” When your wife asks you a question like that, you know you are in trouble! I immediately asked her, “Why are you asking me that?” She replied, “In the past, when you made a recommendation you believed in, you always looked us in the eye. Tonight, you never looked us in the eye but read from your notes.” Ouch!

When Valerie said that, I realized what I was proposing was a good idea, but I couldn’t say it was a God idea. That didn’t make it wrong. It simply meant it didn’t carry the same amount of passion from me, and if I wasn’t passionate about whatever it was, how would I get others to rally around it? I wouldn’t. Good ideas don’t raise money; God ideas do.

Let me end with this question about the vision for the capital campaign you are trying to connect your people to. Does it burn in your heart? If not, it will not burn in the hearts of your people.

One key goal of your next capital campaign will be to use the connecting power of vision to raise more dollars! I’ll share more about how to craft your vision statement in the Bonus Section. Let’s start clarifying and sharpening your vision!

Here is a review of My Eight Lessons for a Successful Capital Campaign Overview – Here is a thumbnail of what I will be sharing over the next few weeks:

Lesson #1           It Starts With a Vision – How to craft your vision for maximum results!

Lesson #2           Setting Realistic Targets – How to start right to end right!

Lesson #3           Leading Leaders to Lead – How to identify and cultivate giving leaders.

Lesson #4           Campaign Boot Camp – Mastering the basics of a capital campaign.

Lesson #5           The Fourth C – How to communicate your vision effectively.

Lesson #6           The Power of the Pulpit (or Platform) – How to preach for success.

Lesson #7           It’s Not Fund Raising; It’s Faith Raising – Spiritually engage your congregation.

Lesson #8           Follow-Up – Commitment cards are cool, but nothing beats CASH!

Now is the time to renovate, redo, update, build, and relocate for the next decade of the 2020s. Whatever you do, you will need a chunk of change to accomplish it. Let’s hold a capital campaign designed to help meet the needs of your church facilities through the next decade. I’m offering you my services as your coach! The time to start is now!

Mark Brooks – The Stewardship Coach, the leading online giving processor in America, sponsors my writing. Find out more about their services at

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