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

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