Capital Campaigns: Benefits Beyond the Obvious


For many years, ADF has partnered with Christian Investors Financial (a part of the Evangelical Free Church of America) to provide capital fundraising consulting for Alliance churches. I've asked the vice president in charge of capital campaigns, Steve Johnson, to write a guest blog emphasizing the benefits of a consultant-based capital campaign. ADF is a firm believer that capital campaigns are a critical element of any capital project, so I encourage you to read what Steve has to say:

Many think that a capital campaign is something that must be endured, a necessary evil—like a root canal. But there are many benefits to a successfully planned and executed campaign.

First, successful campaigns are built on and around vision, a picture of God's preferred future for your ministry. Vision answers the question, "Why are we doing this?" In 1 Chronicles 28, King David explained why the temple was to be built. God placed it in his heart to build a palatial structure for the dwelling place of The Lord. This was a clear picture of what and why. During a campaign, time must be invested in communicating the vision and building the case for the project that is being funded.

Campaigns create the opportunity to evaluate the ministry's vision, providing answers to these vital questions:

  • Is the vision clear? Do people know and understand it?

  • Is the vision concise? (Not necessarily able to fit on a tee shirt, but also not a novel.)

  • Is the vision compelling? Does it cause your heart to beat just a little faster?

  • Is the vision contextual? Is it specific to your ministry? Does it make sense?

  • Is the vision catalytic? Does it invoke action?

These questions should be asked of your vision at any time, not just in preparation for a campaign. But during a campaign, they provide the opportunity to sharpen the focus of where God is leading you.

Second, campaigns afford the opportunity to focus on stewardship, a topic that many shy away from. Our experience confirms Barna's research that the number of individuals that give less than $500 annually to their church is growing. Moreover, the number of those giving nothing financially is increasing. Our experience also shows that campaigns can be an on-ramp to ongoing stewardship and generosity. Through a campaign, ministries can develop discipleship approaches that help people move from non-giver, to occasional giver, to regular giver, to obedient giver, and on to being a generous, love-made-me-do-it steward. It is possible to transform a ministry, creating a culture of generosity.

One surprising benefit during a campaign is that giving to the annual or general fund usually increases. The additional time spent on vision, Biblical stewardship, and a bold invitation does have impact.

Back to 1 Chronicles, David concluded chapter 29 with a prayer that declares, "Who am I, and who are these people that we could be able to give as generously as this? For all of this is from God." A great conclusion to a vision-filled stewardship journey.

Even given these benefits, a campaign can still feel daunting. But… you don't have to go it alone. There are many advantages to using a consultant to help you through the process. A consultant comes with expertise and experience in leading a successful campaign. Consultants have been through it before and know the key components that need to be in place. Consultants also know the problems to be avoided. Recently, one of our consultants was described by a client ministry as a Sherpa, a wise advisor providing guidance and choosing a route to a successful, God-honoring, people-honoring campaign.

Finally, a consultant brings a tried and true plan to guide the entire campaign process and help you stay focused on that plan, establishing clearly defined checkpoints along the way. They monitor and motivate the campaign leadership team, helping them stay on track and on time. This accountability builds confidence that the goal can be achieved.

Bottom line —Campaigns can be a very special time in the life of a ministry. If you would like to talk with Steve regarding capital campaigns, he can be reached at 800-955-8571 or at

David Graf