When churches decide to expand on their building or acquire a new property completely, they often do something called a building campaign. A building campaign is what it sounds like – a campaign to raise funds for a new building or buildings. But it’s important to view your building campaign as more than a fundraiser. Your building campaign is a communal event where church members get an incredible chance to serve the body of Christ and be an integral part of kingdom work.
Presenting the Building Campaign
Here’s what you don’t want to do. You don’t want to acquire a property, stand up on stage, and announce, “We’ve just bought a building! Now we need you to give us your money so we can pay it off.” That’s not what you do to church family. Think about it – would you do that to your own family? It’s important that the building campaign be presented to your congregation long before you acquire a building. At this point, there’s no fundraising. But there is something incredibly important happening: prayer. If you’ve already prayed about this with your leadership team and you’re all ready to move forward, that’s a sign that God is in this. Therefore, your congregation needs to get on the same page regarding the direction God is leading you all in. And the best way for a church family to be aligned with God’s will is through prayer. When your church is praying and ready for this new building, the fundraising step is done out of joyful dedication, not pressure.
Get Your Congregation Involved
After you’ve prayed with your congregation and acquired the building and property, you can start involving your church in the building campaign. There are many creative and exciting ways you can get them involved, beyond financial investing. If you haven’t already, show them a design of how the building is going to look and operate. Present updated designs with additional details as you go on. Whether it’s a new room for the youth group, a house for pastoral interns, or a bigger kitchen for ministry purposes, get them excited! Show them furniture ideas, paint swatches, etc. Speaking of furniture, you can create something called a furniture registry where people buy pieces of furniture the new building needs. Many churches do prayer walks over the property or have members write their name on the foundation. Remember ultimately who this new building is for: your present and future congregation. These events enforce that message, and that’s key for a successful campaign.
When and How Long?
You’ll notice many churches do building campaigns at the end of the year. Ultimately, there’s no rule book and your campaign should happen when you think it’s best. But the reason many churches wait until the end of the year is because of tax write offs and credits. Many people are looking for places to direct their tax credits, and your church can be one of them. The end of the year is also associated with Thanksgiving and Christmas, two holidays where people are often reflecting on gratitude and giving. We recommend being tuned in with your congregation. Perhaps you’re finding that the holidays are financially stressful for most of your church family. That wouldn’t be a good time to start fundraising. The best time to start is going to look different for every church, and we encourage you to seek the Lord’s wisdom in that area.
When your congregation is involved with your building campaign from the start, you save your church from getting push back in the future. No arm twisting had to happen because you sprung this on them last minute. If you make it clear that your church’s vision for this new building is so the gospel can be further expanded and have everyone on board from the start, your building campaign won’t be as stressful as you imagine. It can easily be one of the most exciting times in your church’s history.