Book Review: Capital Campaign Playbook: An Insider Look At A Church Consultant’s Game Plan


Church leaders finally have a resource they can use when preparing for, and potentially leading a capital campaign. Greg Gibbs book, Capital Campaign Playbook, is a must read prior to your church launching such a massive effort. For a little personal perspective, before becoming the Director of Lifeway Generosity I was in the capital campaign business. I served two stints on a church staff directing two major staff-led capital campaigns raising over $35,000,000. Then, I spent another 15 years on the road consulting hundreds of churches and raising hundreds of millions of dollars. So when I read Greg’s book, it was with more than a novice eye.

If you are a church leader and have never led a capital campaign, I would pick this book up and start filling it with notes at least one year prior to beginning your plans. Also, if you are a church leader that has been seasoned by several capital campaigns, I would pick up this resource six months prior to your planning phase to assist you with your design.

The book is no joke, nor It is not a marketing ploy by Auxano. Greg will expose the common mistakes, stretch your thinking, reveal trade secrets, and train you to think both deep and wide before your launch. When you pick up the book there are some things you will discover.

  1. Greg immediately points out the most significant oversight of experienced church leaders when it comes to campaigns. We tend to remember the big events, but forget the process. The process behind the campaign is the actual work. It is the engine and is why churches succeed or fail. Greg then helps your thought process moving forward.
  2. If you are looking for calendars, charts, meeting agendas, teams, and preaching themes, Greg provides all of this and more. If you are wired for process and detail you could actually create your own capital campaign playbook prior to launch.
  3. Vision is critical.  A clear vision leads to measurable generosity. Giving experts have concluded this over and over. Six sermons on money and a few key giver banquets will not get the job done. Givers are savvy investors these days, and they will see right through a shallow vision.
  4. Discipleship really is possible. Capital campaigns are about fundraising, but that should not limit our view of how God desires to speak, lead, grow, and unite. Greg says, “The is the best-kept secret of capital campaigns. People can grow to a new level in their devotion to Christ and his church.” Greg is not blowing smoke when he says this. My family is a personal testimony over and over again of this truth.
  5. Finally, here are a few quotes that are 100% spot on.
    1. “There is nothing that exposes our organizational soft spots like a campaign.”
    2. “Three conditions for generosity: trust in leadership, clear and compelling vision, and sense that we are winning.”
    3. “A campaign is not a mission and a building is not a vision.”
    4. “Campaigns allow us to fuel vision.”
    5. “Discussions about giving and generosity are ultimately an issue of discipleship.”

Church leaders, I would make this book my personal checklist when debating whether my church was ready for a capital campaign. Then when I was interviewing consultants, it could serve as my grade sheet on whether or not they could lead a vision-clear, discipleship-based process. Finally, with enough personal experience and a seasoned team, I could use it to create my own campaign design. This book is a really helpful resource, and I personally do not know where you can get this type of information anywhere else. Great job Greg Gibbs on a tremendous resource for helping the church.


Download the first two chapters for free, here!