What methods work for church debt retirement and fund raising?

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Our church is looking to retire its mortgage debt as well as raising some funds for a new projection system.  Has anyone recently been successful at this?   What approach did you use to inspire your congregation to open their pocketbooks?

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"Every dollar that goes to debt is a dollar that does not go to ministry." Experts suggest that you need a compelling vision, congregational trust, and unity among the leadership to lead a congregation in a campaign to lower debt.  The leadership will be responsible for creating a vision for ministry that can occur with the resources that previously went to debt reduction.  You will need to build ownership of this idea among the congregation and develop communication that provides a complete description of what church ministry could be achieved without the debt. 

A capital campaign needs to be integrated with a refocusing on the spiritual journey and bringing honor to God in how we support our ministries of the church. I have been involved in a building campaign and it is important also to understand the capacity of the congregation, set the appropriate goal, and set a timeline for the campaign that is not too short or too much time so you can sustain the momentum.  The campaign must be focused clearly on the vision for ministry and not just the dollars.  Many churches also use personal contact teams, prayer times, and messages from the pulpit on stewardship and vision for serving others.

Check out the resources on the web on church debt reduction plans.  You will get lots of ideas for a campaign and how to stay focused on the ministry vision.

"Every dollar that goes to debt is a dollar that does not go to ministry." Experts suggest that you need a compelling vision, congregational trust, and unity among the leadership to lead a congregation in a campaign to lower debt. 

Well, that depends doesn't it. Unless a congregation has the unusual capacity to fund large capital projects (new building, restoration of an older bulding), it will find it necessary to borrow -- and that borrowing needs to be done to clearly link the mortar/bricks etc of a congregation to its mission.  To say that debt acquired in support of a physical facility needs does not go to mission sounds profound, but it isn't.  We need to link mortar and mission and have the capacity to articulate that relatinship.

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