Someone recently questioned the tactics her new church is using for a building fund campaign. This friend left their old church because they felt it was stagnant with no new growth. The new church they admitted had a lot of new growth in the church. There was some frustration expressed because there had been multiple sermons on giving and even a pledge drive where cards were handed out and those that were going to commit went up to the front. This was awkward for her and her husband because they did not feel comfortable committing at this time and felt rather put off by all the sermons on giving.
Having grown up in church, I have seen multiple church building fund campaigns. Some of them successful. Some of them not. I can tell you that a building fund campaign (in my opinion) is essential if your church has a sudden growth spurt. Your church may not have the means to handle the sudden growth. But I do understand that how a campaign is handled can also push some of that new growth out of the door. It can literally make or break a church.
Here is some of the advice I gave.
1. Money is the one thing that will divide friendships, family, destroy companies and yes, even churches. Money evokes a lot of emotion in us. If you are like my family, we have to budget and that budget is tight. I encourage you to not make an emotional decision on leaving your church, but to make an informed and prayerful decision. Emotional decisions leave room for regret and hurt. Informed and prayerful decisions rarely do.
2. Get to know the Pastor and his staff. (Informed decision) Meet with him, talk with the staff. Call and ask questions. This is your church, you have a right to get to know the Pastor and the administration. You may not always like what you hear, but building a relationship puts you in a position to be able to go to the administration when you do not see eye to eye with them.
3. Get involved in the church. You don't really know a church unless your involved. Teach Sunday School, be door greeters, offer to clean the church, usher, nursery, etc. Getting involved helps you to A. See leadership and how it does or doesn't work, B. Helps you see the true needs of the church and C. Puts you in a position to be an influencer.
4. Churches grow and that means new members. A lot of our recent new members in our church have not set foot inside a church since they were real young, if at all. Doing a yearly series on giving isn't terrible. I say this as gently as I can. Be careful of your heart, if you think teaching biblical giving is wrong.
5. Do not partner with other saints to get their feeling on this. This is like anything in life. If something is bothering you and you sit down to talk with other people that are bothered by the same thing you are it becomes dangerous territory. It only leads to gossip, strife and hurt relationships. Go to the source - the Pastor and administration.
6. I'll say it again. Be careful of making an emotional decision. Once done you will never find happiness in a church. You will always want to leave when something doesn't mesh well with you. I say this with experience of having walked away from my church. I thought moving to a new city and church would make me feel better, but it didn’t. I have been hurt a couple more times. I have walked away from church, but there is one thing I didn’t do after that first time. I didn't change churches. I knew that my problem was not the church, but my heart and the hearts of those that had offended me. I have handled it a couple of ways, but never again did I go search out other churches because I was offended.
Remember, churches are made up of people. Everyone is human, even the Pastor. Everyone makes mistakes. And not everything will be done the way we think it should be done. It's kind of like a work place. You cannot please 100% of the people 100% of the time.
If you are going through a church building campaign and you have any questions or would like an impartial ear let me know. I've been on both sides of these campaigns and I understand the need for one and I understand the feelings being on the "listening" end.