June 16, 2017
A Culture of Generosity
“Doesn’t having a capital campaign negatively impact annual stewardship?” This question is one of the most frequently asked by churches anticipating a capital drive.
And “No!” is the most frequent response! In fact, evidence shows that annual stewardship usually goes up in tandem with capital fundraising.
“That is certainly our experience at Church of the Advent,” reports the senior warden of this small southeast Florida congregation. “Our annual operating fund is up more than 7% since we launched our building campaign in August of 2015,” she notes.
She knows first-hand what these numbers mean. When the church entered its discernment phase, she was the treasurer of the vestry. Graciously offering to chair discernment, she went on to chair the overall capital campaign and then became senior warden. “The whole process, beginning with discernment and proceeding through the feasibility phase, really opened up the awareness of the parish about the funding needed to operate all aspects of our mission, not just what we needed to repair the roof.”
She continues, “The process helped us create a culture of real transparency. Today, our parishioners are confident; they appreciate knowing what it takes to do what God is calling us to do. I think of the passage from Deuteronomy (15:10): “Give generously to Him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put our hand to.” I think of several individuals who have more than doubled their personal gifts to our church, another who checks in every quarter to see what we need… We are able to converse openly and comfortably and with joy, too, about being able to see our Church of the Advent making a tangible difference in our community.”
The original text of this article has been edited to reflect ECF's current programs.