The Newsletter of VanderWyden Consultants, Inc.
Providing Professional Counsel
INSIDE THIS ISSUE. . .
1. Wyden Your Horizons with Excitement! Click
In this fall edition of Wyden Your Horizons, we provide a variety of insights and strategies to promote Church Growth. Giving Development and Church Growth go hand-in-hand. Growing Churches constantly need to raise additional funds to expand their ministries, programs, and facilities to respond to their mission and to meet the needs of their community and congregation. Conversely, Churches that conduct Faith-Raising Capital Fund Campaigns every 5 -10 years, and inspiring annual Operating Budget Campaigns are growing churches. Churches and non-profit organizations who do not see this inter-relationship typically struggle for survival, and are bewildered about why their constituents and members don't give more generously and why they can't raise the funds required to fund their missions and to provide services for their members. Churches and non-profits that have the wisdom to realize that they will benefit from professional outside guidance regularly employ consultants to help them develop new programs and raise the funds required for their mission.
Wyden Your Horizons is provided as a free resource for organizations, churches, and individuals who are raising funds for good causes. We greatly enjoy our giving development ministry and are happy to share our insights and discoveries with others. Please feel free to contact us if you have a specific question about topics in this newsletter, or to share any of your perspectives, and feel free to forward this email to family, friends, colleagues, and co-workers who may be interested in subscribing themselves.
Many times when I am working with churches I am asked, "What are the things that growing churches are doing? Our membership is shrinking, and we can't figure out how to grow." I have the great fortune of working with many churches that are growing. Churches that conduct Capital Fund Campaigns are typically churches that are growing. They are stepping out in faith, taking a risk to increase their giving and their commitment, so that their church can increase its ministries and programs. Sometimes they haven't grown in numbers yet, but they have grown in faith enough to realize that they must embark on a Faith-raising Capital Fund Campaign if they are going to be able to grow. And they willing and joyfully re-commitment themselves to their churches.
I have found that there is one word that describes the principle dynamic of growing churches. This one word applies no matter whether the church is from a Fundamentalist, Mainstream Denominational, or liberal background. This one word describes the catalyst that causes these congregations to grow. The key descriptive word for growing churches is "Excitement!" And it's not just the Pastor who is excited.
When the members of growing churches are excited about what their church is doing, their enthusiasm attracts others, and consequently these churches grow. Often, lay people believe that it is the Pastor's responsibility to bring in new members, when in fact lay people are the primary conduit for attracting new members. Statistics indicate that over 70% of new church members come the first time because a lay person invited them.
Members of growing churches are inspired by their churches ministries and
and they invite others to come and enjoy the fun and the faith. These
invitations don't have to be efforts to pressure someone about your
faith. They are just enthusiastic invitations to come and find the benefits
and blessings that you have found in your church. If you have a good
friend, and you have found an investment that is greatly benefiting your
family, you certainly would tell your friend about it. Members of growing
churches have something beneficial to tell their friends and neighbors
about. Sometimes they have been going to the same church for decades
but now something exciting is happening at their church, and they're
thrilled. Even though their friends have known that they are church members,
they notice something different in their attitude, and they ask, "Remind me, which church do you belong to? Maybe I'll go with you some
Someone has said, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and wondering why there isn't a different result." Stagnant churches may talk about the fact that they want to grow, but they are unwilling to do anything different. Sometimes it is concern for power and control. The hidden thinking is "We really would like to have some more members to help pay the bills, but we wouldn't want those new members to change the way our church operates, or to change our attitudes, or to take our places on the governing boards of our churches." Often, long term members unwittingly sabotage their churches growth because they don't want their church to become different from what it has always been.
40-50 years ago, if you built a church in a growing subdivision, that church typically was going to grow. In those days, the three keys to church growth were, "Location, Location, Location." However, 95% of present day churches were built before 1950. There are not nearly as many "new" churches as there are long term churches. In these mobile times, individuals will drive many miles, past many existing churches, to get to the one where something exciting is happening. Today the three key words for church growth are "Leadership, Leadership, Leadership!" If a church has strong faith-filled lay and clergy leadership, you can trust that something exciting is happening at that church. These churches have moved beyond self-centered membership to faith-based membership.
That explains why Faith-raising Capital Fund Campaigns with ambitious, challenging goals, are so effective in enabling a church to grow. If members are going to dramatically increase their giving, they have to have the courage of faith to be able to stretch beyond their comfort zones, to consider giving up some money or possessions that they think they cannot live without, to review their priorities, to consider what is important in their lives, and to give sacrificially more than ever before, and to re-commit themselves to their church. In this act of recommitment, these members invariably grow in their faith in God's providing, and find that joy-filled way of life that Jesus talked about, and others are attracted to their church, and these churches grow!
On the other hand, churches that avoid significant Capital Fund Campaigns, and take out long term mortgages to finance renovations of their facilities, typically are not growing churches. Their leaders are not willing to lead by example by giving generously. They are expecting the next generation to help pay for the needs of the present generation. However, since there isn't much excitement in these churches, they aren't growing, and there isn't another generation coming along to help pay the bills. A few years into paying the mortgage, the trustees have a choice to make, "Do we give the present staff a raise so that we can keep them, or do we pay the mortgage? Well, of course we have to pay the mortgage!" So these churches lose the excellent paid staff that they have to other churches that have more faith. Unfortunately this explains why the many churches in our country are not growing. They have buildings that are more and more empty each year, because the church "leaders" are not acting out their faith, and nothing exciting is happening to draw new members.
There is not enough space in this newsletter to share all of the insights about church growth. Since we are getting many inquiries about church growth, we are adding a new service. VanderWyden Consultants is now providing Workshops on Church Growth. These workshops provide professional training on how to enable your church to grow, including tried and true strategies and activities that have enabled churches to grow, and many more insights that we have learned about church growth from our work with faith-filled growing churches.
If you have any questions about the above article, or would like to share your insights about church growth with our readers, please let me know. Blessings, Bill VanderWyden. Top
This year marks the 10th Anniversary of the founding of VanderWyden Consultants. We aim to equip churches to raise all of the financial resources they require, and to grow in faith as a result, in order to advance their essential programs and ministries. To celebrate our 10 years of service, we are conducting a research survey to ascertain the types of fund-raising services that are required by growing churches. We want our research to benefit as many congregations and individuals as possible, so we will make our findings available to consultants, conferences, judicatories, and denominations. If you would like to participate, please Click Here to Take Survey. The survey only takes about 2-3 minutes to complete and is structured to ensure that all responses are confidential. Thank you in advance for assisting us in this important effort. Top
Due to increased demand for our services, VanderWyden Church Financial Development Consultants (www.WydenYourHorizons.com) is hiring new associates. Are you interested in learning the art of fund-raising through faith-raising? We are looking for faith-filled, generous, dynamic individuals who want to join us in serving the church as professional fundraising consultants. Training will be provided in our unique and successful approach to this important ministry. Willingness and ability to travel is essential. If interested, send your resume to the Rev. P. William VanderWyden, CFRE, Bill@WydenYourHorizons.com. Top
Many times a church's facilities will inhibit its ability to grow. No matter how hard the church's leadership works to provide services, inadequate facilities will limit its ability to provide the ministries required by its community and its congregation. VanderWyden Consultants created this Review as a tool to enable a church's leadership to conduct a thorough assessment of the condition of its facilities to identify factors that may be limiting the church's ministries and growth.
Neglect in the areas listed below will limit your church’s growth. Check
areas that require attention.
A recent survey by Leadership Journal found some interesting dynamics that affected church growth. This study found that the top five changes that initiated turnaround in the churches surveyed were:
The top five signals for change were:
85% percent of the pastors of those churches looked to outside resources to help initiate or stimulate the turnaround, 95% of the turnaround churches had widespread congregational support soon after initiating their plans, and 42% of Pastors reported that the church board was the number one source of resistance to the turnaround plan. Top
However, the church also had over a million dollars of debt for its present facilities, and the renovations and the new addition would cost over $2 Million Dollars. Based on its previous experience with other consultants, the church leadership considered conducting a Capital Fund Campaign with a goal of around $1,000,000, and taking on additional debt.
When we met with the church leadership in the fall of 2005, and studied the church’s potential, we recommended aiming to raise all of the required funds and reducing the debt. From our experience in working with hundreds of churches, we know that if a growing church incurs significant amounts of debt, it can limit the ability of the church to employ adequate staffing and to provide services and ministries, which can eventually lead to declining numbers of members.
Whenever possible, it is always best to aim to raise all of the funds that are required, and incur as little debt as possible. Since our programs are based on Faith-raising, we typically recommend that churches set far higher goals than other consultants would advocate, because we have learned that God does provide when we step out in Faith.
The Church leadership decided to follow our recommendation, and took a leap of faith, and set a Capital Fund Campaign Goal of $3,000,000. Exceptionally talented lay leaders were recruited to lead the campaign. Although the church has outstanding clergy leadership in Co-Pastors Richard and Jill Edens, we strongly believe that Capital Fund Campaigns must always be lead by laity.
We provided our Joy of Generosity Campaign Program, and created tailor made Campaign Plan Manuals and the training required for the campaign leadership, and they followed our guidance carefully. The Campaign Leadership developed an inspiring "Faith Forward" theme for the campaign, and recruited a multitude of extremely talented church members to assist in caring out the campaign activities. By Decision Sunday morning, on May 21st of this year, the church had received lead gifts indications that provided about 90% of the goal of $3 Million Dollars, from about 20% of its membership. That afternoon, the remainder of the membership was called on for their gifts.
When the final results of the campaign were tabulated, the giving of the congregation exceeded even our projections, committing to give $3.4 million dollars, or about 5 times it existing giving. This will enable the church to build its additional facilities without incurring additional debt, and during the giving period the church will be able to eliminate its present debt, so that it can provide more ministries, services and programs. The final touches are being completed on the architectural plans, and the church expects to break ground for its new facilities this fall. It was our great privilege to work with this wonderful, talented, faith-filled congregation. This campaign truly was an inspiring experience for us, as we saw the members of this congregation move "Forward with Faith", working with great dedication, and giving sacrificially and generously for the future of their community.
Campaign Co-Chairs, Wanda Hunter and Andy Short, and Co-Pastors, Rev. Jill and Rev. Richard Edens, made the following comments about their experience in the campaign and their renewed faith in God's providing:
"This was our 4th capital campaign in 12 years and, before we began, many in the congregation were already complaining of campaign fatigue. More than half of our members were new to the church and Bill VanderWyden suggested a goal three times higher than any goal we’d ever had before. It seemed as if we had quite a mountain to climb! Enter the Joy of Generosity campaign with its structured timeline of tasks that ultimately pulled in hundreds of our members as campaign workers. With its focus on the abundance of God’s grace in our lives, this person-to-person campaign unleashed renewed commitment, energy, and dollars we didn’t know we had. We’re now moving forward more convinced than ever of God’s call for our church. Nothing can stop us now." Wanda Hunter, Campaign Co-Chair
"VanderWyden Consultants gave us the confidence and the methods to generate a level of commitment in our church that few thought possible. At the outset, we faced the prospect of completing our building by building our debt. In the end, we were provided with guidance that enabled us to exceed our goal, so we can build the new space and greatly reduce the debt. Our growing congregation will flourish in new education and fellowship programs, and we will pursue exciting new mission initiatives with the inspiration and resources we developed through the campaign." Andy Short, Campaign Co-Chair, Faith Forward Campaign
"We had remembered Bill's work with us in our first capital campaign more than 15 years ago and were anxious to have his leadership in this critical moment of our church's life. We were not disappointed. Bill's experience, insight and Christian integrity together with the solid lay leadership of our campaign opened the way for a response beyond what we had imagined."Co-Pastor, Jill Edens "When Bill first proposed that we set $3 million as our goal, we were both stunned and excited. Initially we all wanted to say why it was impossible, but we also were excited about cutting the Gordian Knot of servicing a mortgage and a burgeoning program that was constricting our life as a congregation. Bill consistently provided confidence in God’s goodness and abundance as we journeyed through our Faith Forward Campaign. We will be a healthier congregation for years to come as we complete this building phase, pay down our mortgage and have more capacity for service!" Richard Edens, Co-Pastor, United Church of Chapel Hill Top
VanderWyden Consultants provide professional fund-raising
guidance to non-profit organizations and churches who need assistance
with their fund-raising. We provide professional guidance for Capital Fund Campaigns, Stewardship
Operating Budget Campaigns, Planned Giving Campaigns, Comprehensive
Financial Feasibility Studies, and Workshops on the dynamics of stimulating growth in
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Rev. P. William VanderWyden, C.F.R.E.