4 Things Every Church Needs In Its 2019 Capital Campaign

That’s right.  We are already beginning the planning process for Spring 2019 capital campaigns. To help churches prepare for this journey of generosity we recently created a new ebook entitled Cultivate: How to Prepare NOW for a Successful Capital Campaign.

To give you a taste of what you will learn, the following are four goals any church, regardless of denomination, geographic region, culture or ministry should have in a capital campaign:

Maximum Dollars
Capital campaigns are not about the money, but why are maximum dollars so important? Because maximum dollars allow you to facilitate more of what God is doing and wants to do in your church.

Maximum Participation
If you read 1 Chronicles 28 and 29, you see that successful capital campaigns are spiritual journeys of generosity, not fundraisers. You want as many people participating in the campaign as possible because if they do their lives will be changed as they trust Jesus through a season of sacrifice.

Expanded Leadership Base
Regardless of what your project is, you are ultimately taking your church through a capital campaign so that ministry can expand and impact more lives. However, as you seek to expand your ministry you will need more people to make that ministry happen, so we encourage you to leverage the capital campaign as a time to onboard new leaders into serving roles.  Otherwise, you will experience initial expansion and then contraction.

Personal Stories or Testimonies of What God Did During the Campaign
Ten years from now, your people likely will not remember how much they gave in your capital campaign.  However, they will never forget what God did in their lives as they trusted him through a season of sacrifice.
To learn the 7 other secrets to a successful spring capital campaign, click HERE.
Finally, please know we would be honored to come alongside you and assist in this process.  If this is an option you want to consider, click HERE to start a conversation today.

Stewardship Struggles & Strategies For A Growing Church

Every church is on a stewardship journey - a journey of learning what it means to manage and give away the resources God has entrusted to us according to His will. 

However, this journey can be complicated and knowing how to navigate and make proper decisions along the way is not always clear. 

Take Pastor Jeff Maness, Lead Pastor of Element Church in Cheyenne, Wyoming, for example.

Pastor Jeff moved to Cheyenne to plant Element Church in 2007. Soon after that, they began to experience incredible growth - in disciples and finances. However, the growth they experienced caused them to spend money quickly, and develop unhealthy stewardship habits that led them to a place of financial struggles. 

At one point, Pastor Jeff had to meet with the staff of Element Church and say, “If three people don’t voluntarily lay themselves off, I will have to do it for you.”

How did they get to this place? What financial mistakes did they make that caused a great deal of stress on Pastor Jeff and the church in general?

Today, Element Church is in a very healthy place financially, and Pastor Jeff preaches on stewardship as the Holy Spirit leads him, not as a necessity to make payroll. So, what practices and processes did Element implement to get to a healthy place financially?

In the most recent episode of The Ship Podcast, Pastor Jeff Maness provides practical insight and wisdom on how to steward resources effectively in a growing church. 

Every church is on a stewardship journey. Listen to this episode to discover how to ensure the journey is a great one.

18 Reasons Church Debt Kills Church Vision

Few things are as treasured as a church’s vision. We pray for vision because without it, our people perish. When we have a clear, crisp and compelling vision, we ruthlessly fight for it. Pastors work very hard at communicating it. We pour it into our church attenders week-in and week-out and ask them to live it out.
I recently spoke with Mike Linch, the incredible senior pastor of NorthStar Church in Kennesaw, GA. on the subject of how church debt negatively impacts vision and the overall thinking of church leaders. Mike is a leader of leaders. Make sure to check out his podcast, Linch With A Leader Podcast. It will bless, encourage and equip you as a leader.
To provide a little background, INJOY Stewardship Solutions had the privilege of helping NorthStar retire a significant amount of its debt. When I asked Mike how lessening the burden of debt changed how he leads, he provided 18 facts about how church debt kills church vision. Before getting to his thoughts, if your church needs to retire debt, click HERE and download our FREE resource Slaying The Debt Monster.

  1. You Must Become Sick Of Debt And What It Does To Your Church To Pay It Off – When asked why they finally did a debt retirement capital campaign, Mike said, “We got sick and tired of being sick and tired.”
  2. Paying Off Debt Requires A Unique Vision – Because debt is not something people get excited about paying off, you must cast vision of what is on the other side of the debt.
  3. Paying Off Debt Creates Unique Opportunities For Your Church – Mike told me if the debt was retired, “They could change the world.” And with how effective NorthStar’s ministry is, Mike is right.
  4. Tell Your Church Specifically What Is On The Other Side Of Debt – People give to vision.  Mike said NorthStar’s vision of what was on the other side of debt was both specific and broad. They could plant churches, invest in missions, invest more in their community, and walk into other partner churches around the country and give them money to invest in their communities.
  5. Many Pastors Are Immobilized By The Size Of Their Debt – This is why many churches never start a capital campaign for debt. It simply looks insurmountable.
  6. Many Pastors Fear Paying Off Debt – Paying off debt is often not easy. Mike acknowledged a silent fear many pastors have. He said, “It looks awful when you fail.”
  7. Most People In Your Church Do Not Care About Your Church’s Debt – They have their own debt. Also, because we are in a consumeristic society if you give people good preaching, good music and good children’s and youth programming, they are just fine.
  8. Many Staff In Your Church Do Not Care About Your Church’s Debt – They are many times over-worked and underpaid. They are silently hoping you never ask them to sacrifice even more.
  9. Many Pastors Think People Will Not Respond – Therefore, they do not move forward with a debt retirement campaign. Mike said, “We lived in fear. People don’t give to debt.”
  10. Pastors And Church Leaders Must Finally Come To Grips With How Much Debt Is Killing Their Ministry – In a defining moment of clarity, Mike told the story of his former executive pastor walking into a staff meeting and saying, “We give the bank almost one week’s offering every month.”
  11. Debt Has One Answer To Any Question You Ask – NO!!! – Many times NorthStar wanted to do things, and the bank said “No!” When I talk to churches, it is like I hear banks say, “You want to build to reach more people – NO! You want to hire new staff – NO! You want to give money away to those who are hurting – NO! NO! NO!” Debt’s only answer to pastors and church leaders is “No!”
  12. People Follow The Pastor’s Lead When Paying Off Debt – So be encouraged. Mike said, “People get excited when you’re excited. When I got fired up, they got fired up.”
  13. Pastors Must First Get Their Leaders On Board To Pay Off Debt Successfully – Mike did a brilliant thing. When he had had enough and was ready to retire the debt, he first met with 30+ entrepreneurial leaders in the church. They discussed whether to pay off debt or look at other options. Each and every leader said, “Pay off the debt.” His leaders were on board and ready to help.
  14. Paying Off Debt Gives You Vision – This was my most significant take away from speaking with Mike. I asked how retiring such a substantial amount of debt affected him as a pastor and how he leads. Mike said, “I have vision again. It’s hard to build new dreams when debt is your reality.” There is an inverse relationship between debt and vision. As debt decreases, vision increases. As debt increases, vision decreases.
  15. Paying Off Debt Gives Your Church A Sustainable Future – Mike said, “I feel like when my tenure is done, two years, ten years, 20 years, NorthStar will now be set up for the next guy.” For my money, please make it 20 years!
  16. Because Of Exponential Growth Sometimes Responsible Capital Debt Is Necessary – Going back 15-20 years, the church had to build because of its exponential growth. Mike noted, “Not one penny of debt would we redo, but we were stuck with it.”
  17. Debt Is Often A Result Of Impatience – Mike remembered, “We were like a young couple building the house their parents were living in.” To which I responded, “Yeah, but to be fair, you were like a young couple who after being married for two years adopted 2,000 children. You needed a much bigger house.”
  18. Be Prepared For Two Capital Campaigns – One For The Building, One For The Remaining Debt – So have a multiple campaign strategy. Mike broke down the communication strategies for each. He said, “Give the vision for the future building then give the vision (in the second campaign) for what’s on the other side of the debt.” 

I can’t thank Mike enough for his transparency. Because he loves pastors and church leaders so much, he graciously shared NorthStar’s story of its successful debt retirement.  
If your church has debt it needs to retire, download Slaying The Debt Monster ebook HERE

Pastor - Are You Focusing On What Really Matters?

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For your ministry to break your next growth barrier, you must realize that all the ministries in your church are not created equal.  Some ministries need to be treated unfairly. They need an unfair amount of your time and budget.
When it comes to the ministries in your church, look at what is the most effective and move your personnel and financial resources there.  For some, this means an honest evaluation of all the regular programs and ministries. For others, you need to stop doing something that worked long ago but does not work well anymore.
When you evaluate programs, ministries, and special events, the keyword is not “good” or “bad.” It is “effective.”

Pastors and church leaders must ask, “How effective is this at helping us accomplish our mission and vision?” There are a lot of good programs holding us back from doing great ministry. Stewardship is about allocating time, money, resources and energy into what works best.
Breaking the next growth barrier requires you must find your ministry hedgehog.  In Good to Great, author Jim Collins introduced the idea of the hedgehog concept. While the fox knows many things, the hedgehog is focused on one thing. Churches need to find their ministry hedgehog.
The key to growth might not be what you start, but what you stop.
For more ideas on church growth, click HERE to download our FREE resource Breaking The Next Growth Barrier.  This ebook will help you remove the obstacles preventing you from seeing your mission and vision fulfilled and reaching more people for Christ.

A Critical Piece of Leadership

A critical piece of leadership involves recognizing areas or practices that need to change, and helping implement that change in a healthy way that doesn’t disenfranchise those you lead. 

This tension is something all pastors can relate to, and it’s exactly what Pastor Ron Edmondson felt when he became the Senior Pastor of a well-established, historic, but struggling church. 

Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington, KY has a rich history of powerful ministry in the heart of the city, but the church steadily declined in influence over the years. So, Pastor Ron wrestled with how to honor, appreciate, properly recognize the great work God had done while also leading the church into another century of powerful ministry. 

In the most recent episode of The Ship Podcast, Ron Edmondson discusses all he has learned from leading Immanuel Baptist through this incredible season. You can listen to that episode here

Through pastoring, writing, and stepping into the role of CEO for The Leadership Network, Ron influence countless lives for Christ. You can enter to win a copy of his book, The Mythical Leader, by clicking here

Don’t miss out on these resources! We truly believe they will add incredible value to your leadership.

7 Ways To Increase Regular Giving In Your Church

We've never met a pastor or church leader who didn’t want to find a way to increase regular, weekly giving at their church. Unfortunately, we’ve only met a few who have actually figured out how to consistently and continually do this.

In every church excelling in this area, our team has noticed seven things they are doing well, and in turn, are leading to a constant INCREASE in giving. 

Recently, our team sat down and recorded a quick 24-minute teaching on the 7 Systems Every Church Needs To Increase Regular Giving.

We know how challenging it can be to get people to give on a regular basis. However, it is a challenge worth fighting for because when they give, their faith in God grows and your church’s mission and vision expands. 

So, in an effort to give you wisdom from other churches who are excelling in this area, check out our new on-demand teaching on How to Increase Regular Giving.  

Churches Who Are Exceeding Budget Are Doing These 7 Things

Often we'll ask pastors and church leaders what their funding plan for the upcoming year is.  Most of the time they will tell me about their budget. Our response is always the same, “The budget is a spending plan. Can you tell us what your plan is for funding the budget?”  The answers we generally receive confirms why the vast majority of churches fail to reach their budgetary goals and needs.
Churches who are meeting and exceeding their budget have seven systems in place. 
Our team has put together an on-demand video where I unpack each of these systems and how they all work together to fully-fund your mission and vision. 

Our goal at INJOY Stewardship Solutions is to help you build healthy cultures of stewardship and generosity so your mission and vision can be fully-funded.  If we can help you further in this area, just click here and let us know.

The Two Most Important Months For Exceeding Your Budget Are…

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I know what you thought when you read the title of this post.  December is clearly the most important month for exceeding budget because of year-end giving.  While a successful year-end strategy is vital to exceeding your church’s annual budget, I would like to make the argument for the two months of April and May.  Yes, April and May.
Several years ago a study was conducted of over 1,000 churches to discover how many were below, meeting, or exceeding budget.  Only 6% exceeded budget!  Less than 1 out of every ten churches.  The #1 thing these churches had in common was they prioritized, promoted, and had a documented system for digital giving.  Churches automate what is important.
These churches also heavily promoted digital giving during April and May.  Why?  Because summer was coming.  If a family’s giving is automated, then vacations, leisure, and travel sports will affect only attendance patterns, not giving patterns or the ability to deliver ministry.
To help you maximize the digital giving efforts of your church, we've created an Online Giving Checklist.  This is a must-have resource for church leaders.  
Simply click HERE to access your free copy, and when April and May 2019 arrive, you'll be ready.

How to Implement Needed Change in A Healthy & Respectful Way

All church leaders can relate to the tension of implementing needed change in a healthy and respectful way. However, accomplishing this task can be difficult.  

Our President and CEO, Joe Sangl, recently spoke with Ron Edmondson, Former Senior Pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Louisville, KY. When Ron became the Senior Pastor, he came in with “fresh eyes.” The over 100-year old church had a rich history of ministry in the heart of Kentucky and was well respected in the community. However, there were aspects of the church that needed to change in order to continue to minister powerfully for another 100 years. So, Ron wrestled with how to properly respect all The Lord had done and the sacrifices countless people had made that allowed the church to thrive for such an extended period of time while also making tough decisions to move the church forward. 

All church leaders who have assumed new roles can relate to this struggle; the struggle of implementing needed change in a healthy and respectful way. Two words summarized Ron’s conviction in this area: humility and purpose. Humility because he realized he didn’t have all the answers, and not everything at the church needed to change. Purpose because the church is called to move forward and bring God’s Kingdom to Earth. The results were a thankfulness for all God had done at Immanuel and excitement for all He wanted to do moving forward. 

Ron has learned many incredible lessons through his time as a business owner, an elected public official, church planter, Senior Pastor, and author. You can hear Ron tell more about implementing needed change the right way, and so much more, in our interview on Episode #7 of The Ship Podcast. Listen now!  

PS: We’re giving away 50 free copies of Ron’s brand new book, The Mythical Leader, to listeners of the podcast! Check out the episode for how to enter!

The #1 Thing Churches Do To Exceed Budget

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Several years ago a study was conducted of over 1,000 churches to discover how many were below, meeting, or exceeding budget.  The results were startling!

  • 80% were below budget.  That’s right – 4 of every 5 churches could not even do the minimum of what God was asking them to do.
  • 14% met budget.  However, these churches still had no margin to do anything unexpected God might call them to do.  In fact, they were broke!
  • Only 6% exceeded budget.  Less than 1 out of 10 churches

The study then dove into the 6% of churches to discover what common threads might exist.  What they found was the #1 thing churched did to exceed budget was prioritize, promote, and have a documented system for digital giving.  Churches automated the important.
Furthermore, digital giving was found to be the #1 item which prevents a summer giving slump.  If a family’s giving is automated, then vacations, leisure, and travel sports will affect only attendance patterns, not giving patterns or the ability to deliver ministry.
In an effort to help you maximize the digital giving efforts of your church, we have an Online Giving Checklist that is a must-have for church leaders. 
Just click HERE to receive your complimentary copy.  You want to make sure you don’t miss anything which could help you fully-fund the mission and vision God has given you.