How one church raised millions of dollars in the midst of COVID-19


Pastor Lee at Radiant Church in Jackson, MI is currently leading his church through a capital campaign to help secure funds for desperately needed updates to their facilities at two campuses. Through INJOY’s proprietary Financial Analysis tool, we were able to analyze the last several years of their church’s giving. We projected they could receive between $6M and $9M with 1,010 participants for their campaign.  

Then, COVID-19 happened. Suddenly, Radiant Church was faced with the possibility of canceling its greatly needed campaign altogether. 

But, with the help of their INJOY Consultant, Jeff Shortridge, Radiant Church was able to completely change the approach of their campaign altogether. God is not surprised by a virus, by an economic slowdown, or by a time when churches across America are having to physically close their doors. He was still calling Radiant Church to something great. 

Pastor Mike made the decision to move forward with their campaign after speaking to his staff and the financial leaders God had placed in their church. To Pastor Mike’s surprise, he found that his financial leaders were saying, “Yes. God has called us to move forward with this!”  

So, instead of a traditional campaign approach, Pastor Mike and Jeff worked together to craft a new strategy for their campaign. INJOY’s normal approach to a campaign follows the biblical model laid out in 1 Chronicles 28 and 29, where David asks the leaders of the tribes of Israel to help build the temple. In a typical campaign, the leaders go first and are asked to sacrifice before the congregation.   

But, we all know this season that the Church is currently in is anything but typical. So, the decision was made that the church would only launch the campaign to those in the church who are able to give and have not been impacted negatively by the current economic situation. 

The language of the campaign changed. Instead of calling leaders to commitment, the language moved to “Intent to give,” to better show understanding that the future may be uncertain for some leaders. A commitment is a promise, but intention shows a measured goal, with respect to current outcomes. 

In the end, Radiant called its leaders to give in the middle of an unprecedented epidemic. They saw almost $750,000 in first fruits with total campaign commitments at $2.7 million. 5 days later, an additional $500,000 was given to first fruits, and an additional $500,000 in commitments came in. 96 couples within the church dedicated themselves to giving $3.2 million to what God was calling Radiant Church to do in the middle of extraordinary circumstances. 

What can we learn from this? 

God is still God. He’s in control, and He’s still calling us to advance the Kingdom.

Psalm 27:1 “The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?”

If God is still trying to do something in the midst of this season, who are we to stand in the way? None of this came as a surprise to Him, and he is still on the throne. He calls us not to be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, to present our requests to Him. The life of faith is filled with challenges and risks, but the good news is He is always with us. 

 The most powerful thing a pastor can say to his leaders is, “I can’t do this without you.”

Proverbs 15:22 “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors they succeed.”

Your leaders are the front lines of your church. They will work tirelessly for you, sharing the vision, recruiting others, and are willing to make the greatest sacrifices. Make sure they know how valued they are, and how important they are to advancing the vision God has given you. In this season, more than ever, the pastor must allow his financial leaders to help set the pace. If they’re willing to move forward, the pastor may move forward. 

Pastors must allow leaders to go first. 

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” – John C. Maxwell

When Israel was crossing Jordan, the spiritual leaders crossed first before everyone else. Let your financial leaders step up and take the lead in this season. Leaders will step up and do what needs to be done, that’s why we call them leaders. Leaders pave the way. They go first so others can follow behind. 

Pastors must be willing to analyze their church’s data. 

Luke 6:39: “He also told them this parable: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit?””

It’s integral to use accurate data to guide decisions in your church. Some people in your congregation will need help. Others may not have been impacted negatively at all. Identify where your congregation is, and be able to work with them where they are. Once you have a clear and accurate picture of your congregation, you’ll be able to effectively execute the plans God has called you to do. 

Pastors must be willing to embrace change in this season. 

“Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.” – John C. Maxwell 

We must be willing to innovate and change how we approach our congregations during this season. Yesterday’s solutions will not solve today’s problems. We must be willing to decide that we want to grow. So, what are you going to change today in order to grow tomorrow? 

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