Many churches enter a building project unprepared for what lies ahead. Horror stories abound about church construction projects that result in division within the Body of Christ and loss of credibility for the leadership. The church’s selection of a partner in managing their capital fundraising campaign is crucial. Here, Lamar Slay uses his long-time experience as a church consultant to help mitigate the risks:
Once a church has gone through the task of selecting the campaign company, it is time to get to know the consultant. Unfortunately, this is an “on the job” experience. While every church should insist on the sales presentation being made by the consultant who will be assigned to them, the relationship is not developed until the work begins. While evaluating the decision you have made, here are 5 things you should never hear your consultant say.
“I can raise 2 to 3 times your annual budget.”
The truth is, neither your consultant nor your staff can raise a penny. God holds all the resources in His hands. It is the consultant’s job to assist the pastor in leading his people to get in a spiritual position where God can lower the resources needed to accomplish the vision of the church. The campaign must be about the vision, not the building.
“I need more time in front of your congregation.”
Other than training sessions, your consultant shouldn’t need time in front of the congregation. The Senior Pastor is the shepherd. The sheep hear his voice and follow him. The consultant is a hireling.
“It will be 3 weeks before I can be there.”
A key ingredient in a consultant doing a good job is his availability during the campaign. When your consultant says he cannot get to your campus to help you deal with an issue for at least 3 weeks, he is telling you he is working with too many churches. Up front, ask how many churches your prospective consultant will be assisting during this time.
“I told ya’ll that wouldn’t work.”
A church hires a consultant to give them sound counsel, and his counsel should be trusted and followed. However, the role of the senior pastor must be clearly understood. Under God, he is the final authority. He knows his church better than the consultant ever will. When the decision is made to go a different route than what the consultant has suggested, that becomes the plan. No one outside those in that meeting should ever know the consultant suggested a different plan. It then becomes the consultant’s job to make the chosen plan as successful as possible.
“Follow-up visits are limited.”
The public phase of the campaign is just the beginning. The 2 or 3 years of the giving period is the key to the campaign’s success. Assistance and visits by the consultant should not be limited. He should be available to the church to lead them throughout that giving period.
To keep from hearing these statements from your campaign consultant, ask the right questions before you hire the company who will assist you with your campaign.
[As President of Partners in Church Consulting, Lamar Slay oversees all aspects of the consulting work done by PCC consultants. He has over 35 years of experience working with churches of all sizes, styles, and denominations. He has served on the teaching teams of Saddleback Community Church and Fellowship Church. His many years of experience with churches on the cutting edge of reaching people for Christ can be great resource for your church.]