Planning and Preparing
January 4, 2022 |David Graf
One of the most disheartening aspects of our work here in the Lending area of Orchard Alliance is the all too common need to inform a church that it cannot possibly afford the building project it had hoped to soon undertake. The disappointment in the pastor’s voice at this news is palpable. And it’s understandable, especially in a case where they have invested a year or two in designing a new worship facility. Not only do they have to tell their congregation that all they’ve been working toward is not going to happen, they also have the added burden of having spent many thousands of dollars for building plans they now cannot use. What makes this the most frustrating for us is that such a scenario can usually be avoided.
The easiest way your church can dodge such a situation is to include Orchard Alliance in your planning process from the very beginning. At the very least, provide Orchard Alliance with your most recent financial statements in order to begin a dialogue about how much money you can likely borrow for your future project. Armed with this knowledge, you can look for a building solution within your means and avoid much disappointment. Orchard Alliance can also provide insights on project planning. We’re just a phone call away!
The second way to avoid the discouragement of a failed project is to raise much of the money yourselves.
The second way to avoid the discouragement of a failed project is to raise much of the money yourselves. Most church leaders today come from a generation that is very comfortable with debt. Consequently, they often fail to challenge congregations to raise the money necessary to pay for their projects – they simply rely on debt as the first-choice solution to the funding challenge. Perhaps borrowing seems quicker and easier, or there is a fear of talking about money. Not only is this poor fiscal planning, but it also robs the congregation of the joy of giving sacrificially to Kingdom work.
Statistics show that a church will raise 50 percent more by engaging the help of a consultant than if they try to raise the money alone.
For this reason, Orchard Alliance strongly recommends that every church engage in a capital fundraising program as part of any major facilities project. Real estate projects are extraordinarily expensive these days, and relying solely on debt as the way to pay for them is only asking for trouble. Most church leaders underestimate the giving potential of their congregations. There is much money that would be readily given to a vision-driven project if people were simply approached in the right way. Orchard Alliance recommends that your church enlist the help of Christian fundraising consultants. Statistics show that a church will raise 50 percent more by engaging the help of a consultant than if they try to raise the money alone.
Orchard Alliance recommends that your church enlist the help of Christian fundraising consultants. Statistics show that a church will raise 50 percent more by engaging the help of a consultant than if they try to raise the money alone.
For your convenience, Orchard Alliance partners with the campaign consulting group of the Evangelical Free Denomination – CIF Campaigns. The godly consultants of CIF have helped many Alliance churches clear the hurdle of inadequate finances by helping them raise significant funds from within their own congregations. These efforts have reduced the amount each church has had to borrow, thus helping them qualify for the necessary financing.
So please — let your first phone call be to Orchard Alliance for an uplifting conversation at the beginning of your planning process rather than a discouraging reality check at the end. Enlist our help in planning an affordable project and allow CIF Campaigns to help you in challenging your people to give in biblical proportions. We both look forward to serving you!
Vice President for Lending
*Originally published in 2014, revised and reposted Jan, 2022