I will never forget for first in-person capital campaign sales presentation I did for INJOY Stewardship Solutions. I was visiting with a leadership team from a small United Methodist church in the southern part of Georgia. It was the type of environment a company sends you on for your first presentation. Smaller church. Not much campaign history. Aging congregation. Plateaued growth. Pastor with very little tenure. You can make mistakes and learn from them there. But I did not care. I went in with everything I had.
I met with the pastor about 30 minutes prior to the meeting to get his perspective on the church’s current state. I said, “Pastor, how can I serve you tonight when I meet with your team? What would make this a great meeting from your perspective?” The words he said I have never forgotten.
He said, “Brian, please talk my people into doing a capital campaign. My wife loves the school she is teaching in and if we do a campaign, the conference will let us stay here.” Not much pressure for your first presentation.
Pastors face a unique set a fears. The following are the ones I hear most often when either our relationship and/or their level of desperation has reached a certain point:
- “I’m lonely. I have few, if any, true friends. No one understands what I am going through.”
- “Do I have what it takes? Can I measure up?”
- “Does my staff have what it takes?”
- “If this capital campaign (or some other major initiative) fails, it could be all over for me.”
- “My kids are in a good school with a great set of friends. Am I going to have to relocate them?”
- “My wife enjoys it here. She likes our neighborhood and is part of a wonderful ladies group. Am I going to have to relocate her?”
- “Personal financial stress. Pastors are woefully underpaid based upon their level of education. Also, financial security during retirement. Will I have enough”
- “Do my leaders really have my back?”
- “Can I keep up this pace? It is unsustainable. The pace of God’s work is killing God’s work in me.”
- “Will people still show up this Sunday? There’s that new church down the street.”
- “Major financial leaders with personal agendas. I’m intimidated by them and if they leave, it would not be good.”
- “Keeping my family, especially my kids, emotionally healthy.”
- “Losing my family.”
- “My sin and the things I struggle with becoming public.”
- “I fear people are going to figure out I’m in over my head and don’t really know what I’m doing.”
- “A staff member having a moral failure.”
- “A child molestation issue. It is a church killer.”
- “Myself. I know what I’m capable of apart from God.”
- “Not pleasing God with my life and ministry.”
- “Finishing well.”
Pastors, if you are facing any of these challenges, you are not alone. Not by a long shot. If you want someone to pray for you, just reply to this post and send me a note.
And if you want to be encouraged today, please read An Open Letter To All Pastors And Church Staff. It will bless you.
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