Discipleship Dynamite: How Capital Campaigns can be a Win- Win-Win

I love capital campaigns.

There. I said it.

These are the exact words I recently wrote in the introduction of my new book the Capital Campaign Playbook. While it’s a how-to manual for running an effective capital campaign, it also shows how to create a campaign where churches experience explosive spiritual growth.

After doing 100+ campaigns, I now see these as major opportunities for discipling the members of our churches. This is in spite of the fact that many people equate them with a pulpit filled with “Show Me The Money” pleas.

Here is the win-win-win I am talking about in terms of what campaigns do to explode dynamite in the best possible way:

1) Leadership Clarity

In the day-to-day pressure and responsibility of ministering to people, leaders can lose clarity. We haven’t lost our call. We haven’t lost our character or competency, per se. We just need a tune-up when it comes to how to major in the majors and minor in the minors. I know it happened to me as a senior pastor. You wake up one day and wonder why your head is spinning around meetings and teaching prep, staring down the barrel of a relentless string of Sundays ahead. You got into this because of your love for people and desire to see them know God in a deep and life-changing way.

Campaigns serve as a big “time out!” as we reset the clarity around what our lives are supposed to be about. The reason this happens is that it has to – capital campaigns are not as successful with leaders that are not clear about who they are and where they are taking us.

2) Missional Focus

Let’s face it; it is fairly easy for members of our churches to slip into a consumer mindset. They are wonderful people who have a tendency to gravitate toward the “what’s in it for me?” mentality. Again, these are good people serving and being served by the ministries and programs of the church. And yet we all need reminders about the primary mission of the church: To make disciples. Nothing challenges the consumer mindset more than a campaign. The Great Commission is to “go” and most of us would like to stay in terms of getting a church experience the way we would prefer without having to stretch too much.

Campaigns force each of us as congregation members to ask, “What am I investing my life in? Is it a mission worth my life? Have I become a more devoted disciple here? Am I on board with how we are aiming to make more disciples?” These are questions that require stepping up our spiritual maturity. In my experience, heart-level questions get asked when money is in the picture – after all, Jesus knew that and taught it often.

3) Funding Dreams

It has been an honor to see over the decades and over the scores of campaigns I have been involved with to see the amazing things that can happen! Not only are people challenged in their spiritual journey, but the church also has the “win” of additional funding to support a dream or need.

I encourage pastors who get excited about the discipleship dynamite to not say, “this campaign really isn’t about the money”. Because that’s not totally true.

What we mean is that there is more to it than fundraising. There is the possibility of people living in faith instead of fear around their money. There is the potential that we will go to a new level in our commitment to the church’s mission. But it is a capital campaign – it is about money. And if we have done a great job of connecting dollars with dreams of more effective ministry, then we should celebrate when that happens. Jesus taught us to put money in its place – to not worship it. But it was also very clear both in the first century and today that generous investment in the work of God is part of what makes great things happen – on earth as it is in heaven.

What’s your best, next step? You can download two free chapters of the Capital Campaign Playbook here, purchase the entire book here, or learn more about the Capital Campaigns I help churches with here.