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Frequently Asked Questions about a Capital Campaign at Messiah

Q & A provided by the Church Leadership Team. 

Q: When would the Capital Campaign take place?  

A: The Campaign would be conducted in the Fall of 2018; beginning in September with detailed information about the maintenance and building improvements needed at Messiah and the expansion of the congregation's ministries that would be enhanced as a result of the raised capital over the next 3 years.

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Q: What amount of money do we hope to raise during this 3-year period?

A: Accomplishing all the goals of the campaign requires $1 million of funds raised over 3 years. Our Base Level of $770,000 would complete most of the goals of the campaign. (Please see details of how monies would be allocated to what objectives.)

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Q: Can you tell me what specifically would the money be spent on?

A: There are 3 categories that we hope to accomplish as a result of funds raised.1) Overdue maintenance of our building that would include a new roof, repair of siding, basement flooring repair, setting up a contingency fund for future expenses. 2) Paying off the remaining mortgage on our building. 3) Seed money to hire an additional staff member/mission developer to expand and enhance our outreach ministry.

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Q: Can you give me an idea of how much money we need to raise for these 3 different projects?

A: Building maintenance, improvements, contingency fund: Top goal: $350,000. Base goal: $300,000

A: Mortgage: $200,000 (when paid off, monthly cash flow freed will be $4170 or $49,440/yr)

A: Mission Developer for Outreach: Top goal: 5 years of salary, benefits, program costs = $450,000Base Goal: 3 years = $270,000

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Q: I see that part of the Capital Campaign is to raise money to pay salary and benefits for additional Messiah personnel (Mission Developer). Is it proper to use a Capital Campaign to raise funds for non-capital expenditures like salaries?

A: Yes.The purpose of a capital campaign is to raise capital (cash) over a period of time to accomplish specific goals. The institution then uses that cash to complete the goals. The objectives do not need to be capital expenditures like buildings or physical plant improvements. For example, in Messiah's first capital campaign started in 2007, some funds raised went to the goal of starting our North County campus. These start-up costs included several years of rent and salaries for additional staff time.

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Q: Does Messiah have the capacity or ability to raise $1,000,000 in a capital campaign?

Q: What has been Messiah's experience or track record of past capital campaigns?

A: Experts say that a congregation should be able to raise 1.5 to 3 times their annual income in a capital campaign. Messiah's current income from contributions to the Operating Fund is approximately $800,000 per year. In addition to the operating fund, Messiah's members also contribute approximately $125,000 per year to the special ministries of Messiah. Therefore, using only our income to the Operating Fund and the lower 1.5 factor, we should be quite able to raise $1,200,000 in a capital campaign ($800,000 X 1.5).

Messiah began a capital campaign in 2007, when our previous year's (2006) income to the Operating Fund was approximately $480,000. That campaign raised $1,067,842 over the next 3 years – right in the middle of that 1.5 – 3 times annual income range.Messiah had a second capital campaign in 2010 to pay down debt and total amount raised was $803,000. This was just a little under the 1.5 times our 2009 income of $582,000. (The second of back to back capital campaigns is expected to raise less.)

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Q: Will the congregation hire a capital campaign consultant to help us with this capital campaign?

A: Messiah hired capital campaign consultants for our 2 previous campaigns in 2007 and 2010. A decision to do so again has not been made. If the congregation gives the approval to conduct a fall campaign, then the Church Leadership Team will discuss and study whether it would be prudent to hire a consultant or not.

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Q: Do capital campaigns tend to take away or reduce contributions to a congregation's general fund during the campaign?

A: No. Contributions to a capital campaign are expected to be above and beyond a member's normal annual giving. Many times as a result of the new energy and growth of ministries created by a capital campaign, congregations will see an increase in membership and an increase in general fund contributions. During the 6-year period (2007–2013) of Messiah's back to back capital campaigns, contributions to the general fund grew every year from $480,000 in 2006 to $721,500 in 2013 (50% increase). This was in addition to the $1,871,000 raised in the 2 campaigns.

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Q: What do we hope to accomplish by hiring a Mission Developer?

A: In hiring a Mission Developer, we hope to gain the ability to effectively form new faith communities within the greater community we call Messiah Lutheran Church. Currently Messiah has different worship communities (Saturday night, North County, early and late services at Messiah Hazel Dell.) All of these worship experiences expect people to come to Messiah. With the Mission Developer we want the ability to also go out to create new worship and faith forming communities for those who might not be comfortable inside the walls of a church or a traditional worship experience. We also hope that as we work alongside our Mission Developer, we too will grow in our faith walk in growing the Kingdom of God and transforming lives.

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Q: A good portion of this capital campaign is to hire a Mission Developer to enhance Messiah's outreach into the community. Didn't we try that in our 2007 capital campaign in starting North County and how did that work out?

A: Yes, a component of our capital campaign in 2007 was the start of a North County site/ second campus of Messiah. 10% of the funds raised were set aside to use as our seed money for North County. Consider the following information in measuring the success of this endeavor.

  • In 2017 North County averaged 31 people per Sunday worship which represented 10% of Messiah's worshipping average per weekend.
  • Across the country, 37.6% of ELCA congregations worship 50 or fewer each Sunday. The average worship attendance of these small congregations is 31.
  • Even though North County's attendance has been level for the last few years, new members have joined, making up for families that have either moved out of state or have begun to worship regularly at Messiah's Hazel Dell campus.
  • North County is an important contributor to the Ridgefield community and the Ridgefield Resource Center to aid schools, thus extending Messiah's One Mile Mission's reach into Clark County.
  • If North County didn't exist, would these people be attending and joining Messiah in Hazel Dell? Maybe – maybe not.What we do know is these folks find North County an attractive community that meets their needs as Christian people growing in their faith. They are also members of the larger church body and specifically Messiah, as we collectively reach out and serve the greater Clark County community.

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Q: With the proposal to hire a Mission Developer, is Messiah changing directions in how we reach out? Specifically, will North County be dissolved?

A: No. North County is a healthy worshiping community of Messiah and will continue. By hiring a Mission Developer, we are adding, not subtracting nor replacing, how we will reach out. Consider how Messiah over the last 15 years has added opportunities for growth of the church by offering different worship experiences.We started a Saturday night worship time. It has grown to be 21% of our worshipers on any given weekend. Ten years ago we began North County (see above info). We have a full capacity pre-school (126 students) and once a week we worship with pre-school children, parents, and teachers in a chapel service.

Now is time for us to reach out again in additional, non-traditional ways in an effort to touch more people who probably would never feel comfortable in traditional worship. This expansion of Messiah's outreach will require expertise we currently do not have, and thus an additional staff person is needed.

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Q: By hiring a Mission Developer, are we saying that Messiah is failing as a congregation in its outreach?

A: No. Messiah is among the healthiest of Lutheran Congregations, as measured by number of members, average attendance, growth of membership, and financial well-being. However, our growth in membership has plateaued over the last few years. We feel we need to do more.

Consider this analogy: I am reasonably healthy, I take no medications, I eat healthy, I am not over weight, blood pressure is good, and I do some walking for exercise. But I know I should do more. I need more exercise. I don't have the strength nor the flexibility I used to have. To stay healthy and fit as I age I should be working out in the gym. My choices are to try this on my own or to hire a trainer. Studies show, people who hire trainers will be more successful in accomplishing their fitness goals than those who try it on their own. I know myself. Without the outside motivation and expertise that a trainer will provide, I will revert to my old habits and ways.

Messiah is healthy. But to stay healthy and even improve on our well-being, we need outside expertise. We need someone to help us exercise new muscles and to push us to uncomfortable positions. We are an aging congregation whose ligaments and tendons are shrinking. We need to be stretched to maintain our flexibility and ability to reach out.

We need to hire a trainer.
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Articles and documents that provide background information to the CLT's discernment process and Capital Campaign proposal to the congregation.

Capital Campaign One-Page Overview from the CLT
Capital Campaign Cash Flow Model from the CLT  
Reflecting on 40 years at Messiah and Its Future by Doug Ruecker
A Whole New World by Pr. Peter
Report of the CLT's Year-Long Discernment Process by President Kris Ann Bial
Reflections on the Past Year. Hope for the Future by Pr. Kathy Braafladt
Of Pastoral Interns and Missional Directors by Greg Rhodes
Stewardship of Community by Pastoral Intern Ryan Dockery

VIDEO LINKS
Pastoral Intern Ryan Dockery shares some of his frustration in pursuing pastoral ministry and his hopes for a Mission Developer at Messiah (4.0 minutes).
Vice President of the Congregation Mike Odren reviews the 3-year process that brings us to this point (6.0 minutes).

40 days of Lent - Reflecting on 40 years at Messia...
Of Pastoral Interns and Mission Developers