Fear not!

Throughout the Christmas story, angels visit people to tell them not to be afraid:  God is about to do something wonderful, or has done something wonderful, or will do something wonderful if you can just believe (if you can’t you might lose your voice for a while, but) fear not! God is with you!

Then comes the feasts of Stephen and the Holy Innocents, two not-so-gentle reminders that life on earth includes all kinds of evil.  This is followed by a resumption of church meetings to tackle the budget deficit, a cranky furnace or leaky roof, staff changes, etc.

Every year provides opportunities for church leaders to join the chorus of angels still proclaiming: Fear not!  One of the joys of my work with congregations is witnessing what happens when faith and good work overcome fear. As they move through the steps of a capital campaign, I see congregations energized by renewed allegiance to their faith community. They remember why they love it as they share stories and work toward a shared vision for what their church can become.

I see congregations come together with a shared understanding of what’s important: to be the best representative of Christ they can be. It isn’t so much about the projects themselves – windows, remodeling, adding space, an organ – it is about which projects make the most sense given their shared vision for their future ministry.

I see congregations achieve what they didn’t think was possible financially. They learn lessons that strengthen their stewardship ministries. Lessons such as: communicate the need, tie it to a vision, set a reasonable goal, explain the different ways to give. Annual and planned giving are explained as well as extraordinary capital giving.

Fear not, church leaders.  As Paul wrote to Timothy, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7, NKJV). May your faithful work for God’s glory be fruitful in this new year.

Linda Buskirk, Core Capital Campaigns provider, January 2024

Arise and Shine, Stewardship Team!

The Annual Giving Campaign is over –

A new budget year has begun.

What’s next in promoting gratitude,

or is “stewardship” over and done?


Dear God, what other ways can we reach

someone sitting in a pew,

To help her see that what she has

Has really come from You?


To help her explore and understand

The riches of your grace

And contemplate your Holy Spirit’s

way of finding us in this place.


“Stewardship” is so much more

than asking as the budget guides

It’s a ministry meant to deepen faith,

inspiring trust in how God provides.


There are many ways to speak to this

And not just for today’s brief living

It’s good to explain that gratitude to God

Can leave a legacy through planned giving.


So arise, shine, faithful stewardship teams –

There is joy, hope and gratitude to be found.

Be intentional about finding ways

To keep your ministry strong year ‘round.


And if you’d like some help or ideas

for stewardship ministry to make new gains

We’ll customize a plan for you – it’s what we do –

at Core Capital Campaigns.

Appreciating Potential

One of our favorite activities with clients is touring their buildings and grounds. As they explain original features and why additions or changes were made, we learn much about a faith community’s history and values.

Sometimes these conversations also reveal regret over changed reality. Many an education wing was built post WWII, when babies were booming and church membership was a societal expectation. Architectural designs with multiple levels accessed by three-steps-up then four-steps-down and no elevator, with the only bathrooms 3 levels back, are an embarrassing frustration today. And all those empty classrooms…

Looking at one’s assets appreciatively can help leaders see potential rather than problems. It helps us see ourselves in the same way God sees us: gifted, strong, a clean slate.

Areas to examine appreciatively include people as well as buildings. What gifts for ministry has God assembled in your congregation? What do people love to do? What needs in the greater community are speaking to the hearts and minds of many in your congregation?

Regarding the greater community, invite some “outsiders” into your building, particularly those doing good works that align with your congregation’s values.  What outside needs could be beautifully met by those empty classrooms?  These potential partners, unaware of your dashed dreams of the past, may jump up and down with excitement about what could be done in the future – and they may even pay rent to do so.

Appreciative work results in a shared vision for a congregation’s future, directing strategic decision-making. It inspires support for changes such as a new partnership with a social service agency to use your space, or launching capital campaign to update buildings in order to make them accessible and comfortable.

Linda Buskirk

Free Consultation

Core Capital Campaigns is giving back in gratitude for God’s generosity. We are offering a free one-hour phone or online consultation about any fundraising, stewardship or strategic planning topic. Please email or call one of us to set up an appointment.