What do you do if your church needs an outside perspective but you don’t have room in your budget to support getting help?
Strategic planning or coaching is a key step in helping your church build team alignment and create the systems, structures, and vision you need to thrive. Especially right now. During the pandemic, we’ve seen a lot of pastors stuck in a pattern of reactionary decision-making where they are feeling overwhelmed and burnt out by the rapid change.
In order to build a church that doesn’t just survive this season but thrives well into the future, you need to lead change well and reach new people. Having a coach and consultant with expertise and an outside perspective is key to doing that successfully.
Even if there isn’t room in your usual budget for this, a key giver in your church might be willing to step in and make an investment in the church’s future by supporting a special project like this. We’ve seen this work well for a number of churches that we partner with.
I have worked with a variety of non-profit organizations in their major donor departments and with donor development strategies. There are a few key steps to take when presenting an opportunity like this to a key giver and asking for their support.
Build Your Case
Prepare a couple of talking points and some materials for them that outlines why Strategic Planning or Leadership Coaching is critical for the future health and growth of the church. And define the reality by answering some questions like these:
- What challenges is your church facing without planning and coaching?
- What opportunities do you see from partnering with a coach?
- What growth goals do you have for the future of the church?
Make sure that you also express appreciation and gratitude for how they have invested (financially, spiritually, etc.) in the church. Think of saying something along the lines of: “Because you’ve been such a faithful partner with our vision for the church and so integral in helping us move forward, we wanted to make you aware of a new opportunity we’re pursuing and see if it’s something you’d like to partner with us on and be the catalyst for helping it become a reality.”
You want to connect them both with the emotion behind the vision and the data driving that. Show how it will help revitalize the church and increase the impact of the church in the community.
You don’t need to be excessively detailed, but give enough information to show them that you will steward their investment in the church well. It may be helpful to share a full proposal with them that outlines what the process is like and gives some testimonials of other churches that have gone through the same process. Or if you want to look at what other pastors are saying, you can pull from our Testimonials Page on our website here.
Approach in Person
If it is possible to safely do so, making the ask is best done in person.
We recommend an initial ask via the phone or email that introduces them to the idea and then approaching them in person over coffee or lunch once they’ve agreed to learn more about the opportunity. This builds on the relationship you already have and gives you an opportunity to connect.
Make the Ask
Don’t shy away from making the ask. You should have an established relationship with this member of your congregation and it’s essential to be open and honest with them. You’re asking for an investment in the future of the church.
Give them the chance to evaluate what you’ve told them, and if they aren’t comfortable making a decision in the moment, let them know you’ll follow up with them in a few days. Of course, regardless of whether they choose to invest in the church in this way, thank them for their time and consideration.
If you’re not able to find funding, we recommend joining our Coaching Subscription at a lower level and starting to build the foundation you need. Then, once you have some “wins,” you can re-approach your key giver about supporting a more personalized, tailored Leadership Coaching experience.