The Assessment/Study – a Valuable Tool

Evans-Davis Processes for Community OrganizationsEvans/Davis was recently contacted by a church and asked to explain the value of the Assessment/Study. It was interesting because the church contact stated “There are about five individuals in our congregation who will determine if we should do a capital campaign. If they are on board, we are good…if not, we won’t do one.”

Well, this statement is only partially true. Of course, the major donors need to be interviewed to determine if there are sufficient dollars available to reach the desired amount, but much more is gained through a comprehensive assessment/study.

Besides determining the potential dollar amounts a capital campaign could raise, a well designed and executed study gives other valuable information from the congregation, information that will significantly impact a capital campaign. The information collected will include:

  • The interviewees perceptions of the abilities of both the current lay and clergy leadership
  • The interviewees feelings on the long-range vision plan for the church
  • The assembly of a composite priority of how best to deal with the needs of the church
  • The perceived strengths and areas of church life that need help
  • The potential for campaign leadership
  • The best timing for as well as other influences, both internal and external, that could have an impact on a campaign

An assessment/study is especially good for medium to large size congregations that are less intimate and more likely to have different perspectives on both church values and its long-term direction.

We suggest you contact us so that we can give you additional information that will help you in determining if an assessment/study is right for you.

Grace Church Completes Vision Planning Program

easterEvans/Davis, working with the leadership at Grace Episcopal Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, has completed their Vision Planning Program. During the process they have developed their core purpose and values and have envisioned a plan for their future.

We received this note from one of the Church leaders.  “I am writing you on behalf of Grace Church’s Mission Council and Visioning Committee.  We would like to thank Evans/Davis for your guidance and leadership in helping us design and frame an initial vision for Grace Church.  As a Common Ministry Mission Church, Grace was not the “normal Episcopal Parish” that you company helps. We presented you with a unique set of challenges and you worked with us to craft a vision thatauthentically represents who Grace is at the current time. “Again, on behalf of Grace Church, we thank you for going the extra milewith us in helping us delineate our goals, hopes and dreams and then usingyour contacts to help us put real costs next to each item on our plan/wishlist.”

Evans/Davis is happy to receive this message and will monitor the church as it proceeds through its vision plan. Please contact us to learn how we can help you with long-range vision planning.

Finneytown Schools Educational Foundation to Begin a Discernment/Visioning Period

VisionOver the years, the Finneytown Schools Educational Foundation (FSEF) of Springfield Township near Cincinnati, Ohio, has raised funds to provide teacher grants and to fund special projects. In addition, it has been a funnel for student scholarships. The Foundation is now at the crossroads and needs to determine future funding needs and determine where these funds can be developed for these needs.

For this reason the FSEF is moving forward with a vision/discernment program and development of a revised mission statement. Once a vision for the Foundation’s future is determined and a revised mission statement has been written, Evans/Davis will conduct a fundraising feasibly study to determine if there is a sufficient dollars from the FSEF donor base to make the long-range plan a reality.

Evans/Davis specializes in long-range planning. Please contact us if you would like more information.

Does your Church have a “Green Light?”


Many churches have difficulty beginning new ministries or enhancing current ministries because the congregation doesn’t have the necessary tools to launch, maintain and enhance such ministries. One major tool for such ministries is the church facilities themselves. If the facilities are not adequate for potential ministries, it becomes very difficult if not impossible to begin or enhance such ministries. For instance, the facilities may not be accessible for those who are physically challenged or the buildings have not been upgraded for modern communications. Perhaps there are parts of the church plant that have been “grandfathered” under the building codes, but will need to be brought up to code when a new ministry begins. Other church facilities may simply have renovations and repairs that, due to tight budgets, have not been addressed for many years.

Evans/Davis, working with an architectural firm, has included inspection of your churches facilities as part of its Vision Planning Program. This architectural firm will provide you with a color code to let you know how accessible your physical plant is in the conduct of daily church life. “Green” means you are full-go and little to nothing is needed. “Yellow” is cautionary suggesting that your current church ministries and other activities may be impeded or slowed due to the barriers in your facilities that will require some restorations or enhancements. “Red” means that most church ministries and other aspects of church life are in jeopardy as the physical plant is virtually unusable and work to it is drastically needed!

Again, this service is provided in our Vision Planning Program as part of this long-range planning exercise. Please contact us for more detail on the program.


When is the Best Time to Begin the Planning Process?

Anytime is a good time to begin developing a vision plan for the long term growth and development of your church. It just depends on church schedules and key dates on the church’s calendar.

A number of churches begin vision planning immediately following their annual meeting. For some, the arrival of spring and the celebration of Easter mark a good time to begin the planning process. No matter the timing, it is imperative that your leadership is on board and willing to move forward to discern God’s call for the church’s future, then, developing a plan in an orderly and a prayerfully thought-out manner.

Hiring counsel early in this process is critical in developing a solid cohesive long-range vision plan.

Do You Have a Long Range Plan

assesWe are experiencing challenges in changing times. Many of our congregations are diminishing in size. Now, more than ever, church leaders must discern God’s call for their future. This means looking at all aspects of church life…worship, fellowship and ministries to determine the best ways to grow both spiritually and numerically.

The bible encourages both planning and involvement of counsel in this process. Here are just a few:

Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision the people will parish.

Proverbs 15:22 Without counsel plans go wrong, with advisors they succeed.

Proverbs 19:20 Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom for the future.

Evans/Davis can assist you in customize a long-range plan, within your budget, to assist your church in this discernment/visioning exercise.

The firm can shepherd you through the entire development process…from vision planning, conducting a feasibility/ assessment study to providing guidance and counsel for both annual and capital campaigns. Evans/Davis can also assist in the development of Legacy Society or other planned-giving program.

The mission of Evans/Davis is to assist churches in setting hearts on fire for Christ. Please contact us so we can explore possibilities and discuss options.


Sean Rowe is the Bishop of the Diocese of Northwestern PA and Bishop Provisional of the Diocese of Bethlehem. He recently made a provocative statement during a discussion hosted by the TREC Task Force of the Episcopal Church: Bishop Rowe said, simply and bluntly:

“The Episcopal Church is over-led and under-managed.”

VisionOriginally I scoffed at that comment (if anything, I thought we were under-led and micro-managed), but I have come to repent of that assessment.  My assessment today is that both effective trained leadership and effective trained management – working together – are needed in the church more than ever.

Since Bishop Sean made his remark, lots of people both inside and outside the church have responded to his provocative statement.  Most of those responses are far more insightful than anything I can offer here. I am, however, going to reflect on how Bishop Rowe’s statement relates to vision casting and fund raising, and the role of both leadership and management ministries in the church to successfully carry out vision and fund raising efforts.

I summarize my thoughts on Vision and Implementation as follows:

1)      It is the task of the Leadership team of a congregation/Diocese to cast a passionate, compelling and understandable Vision and to broadly outline what resources (time, talent, treasure) will needed to accomplish that vision.

2)      It is the task of a Management team (either already in place or assembled for the task) to first understand the vision as articulated, and then to solicit the necessary resources ( gifts of time, talent and treasure) needed to implement the articulated vision. The Management team that carries out these tasks is usually designated as a Fund-Raising or Resource-Raising Team.

Here’s a bit more detail:

In order for the vision to become a reality, the Leadership team must articulate the vision in such a way that it will be clearly understood and embraced by those who will be asked to commit their own resources to the implementation of the vision. The Management (Fund-Raising) team will in turn coordinate the solicitation of those resources that will be applied to making the vision a reality. In many cases, a given individual may find themselves serving on both the Leadership and the Fund-Raising teams.

In a successful endeavor, both the Leadership team and the Management (Fund-Raising or Resource-Raising) team must be equipped with the skill sets needed to accomplish their part in making the vision a reality.

This development of skill sets is where vision and fund-raising counsel (such as Evans/Davis) proves invaluable.

First, when the Leadership team develops a vision, it is always wise to ask if that vision is understandable to anyone who may be called upon to provide the resources needed. Too often, that articulated vision is only comprehensible and compelling to the Leadership team! Helping the Leadership team to form, articulate and communicate a compelling vision is part of our mission at Evans/Davis. Are the resources needed too much or too little to implement the vision? What is the potential within the circle of donors to achieve the acquisition of those resources, and under what time frame? Again, Evans/Davis has the skills necessary to provide guidance for answering those questions.

Secondly, there is a specific set of skills that are required by the Management (Fund-Raising) team to successfully solicit the resources needed. Does the Fund-Raising team have the necessary skill set, or do they need to be trained in the skills needed? I can’t emphasize this enough: if the team responsible for successfully soliciting the resources does not have the skill set needed, this critical aspect of the vision implementation will fail. The skill set necessary to conduct a successful fund-raising campaign is a skill set that Evans/Davis is able to share with our clients.

Again, I’m trying to be brief here, and I will have much more to say in future newsletters, but in summary, a successful Vision and Fund-Raising effort in our congregations involves the Leadership team clearly articulating a compelling vision and describing the resources needed to turn that vision into a reality. The solicitation of the resources needed to bring that vision to a reality is carried out by a Management (Fund-Raising) team that has been trained to clearly communicate that compelling vision to others and to successfully solicit and gather those resources. These are not skill sets learned in seminaries or in the business lives of most people, but they are skill sets that can be taught to those who wish to acquire them. Evans/Davis stands ready to help your congregation acquire these skill sets and provide overall direction, leadership and management to turn your vision into reality.

Rev. David Bailey

Evans/Davis to meet with the Bishop of the Diocese of Springfield, IL

Just before Thanksgiving, the firm will be meeting with Bishop Dan Martins, of the Episcopal Diocese of Springfield, to discuss professional services. Evans/Davis will be recommending and discussing a number of services that includes vision planning for Diocesan churches as well as growing their current endowment.

The mission of Evans/Davis is to assist both churches and dioceses in setting hearts on fire for Christ. It is hoped that the firm will becoming active in the Diocese of Springfield in the months ahead.

St. Margaret’s to Begin Vision Planning/Study

St. Margaret's Trotwood OHWe will be meeting with St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in Trotwood, Ohio this month to finalize plans to develop a long-range vision plan and conduct a feasibility study in preparation for a capital campaign sometime in 2015.

The parish has several areas that need to be addressed. Through a vision planning process, the church leadership will discern God’s call for their future and determine if a capital campaign, to cover the costs associated with these needs, is feasible. If it is a “go,” a capital campaign will be used as funding for these needs.

We are Scheduling Stewardship and Visioning Workshops

workshopsAs in past years, Evans/Davis will provide stewardship/visioning workshops to Dioceses, Conferences and other regional associations in late winter and spring next year. The firm does not charge for this service so it is recommended that, if you wish to provide churches/missions in your Diocese with such a workshop, you contact our office before the end of the year. Every effort will be made to work within your calendar.

It is our mission to assist you in setting hearts on fire for Christ. Please let us know how we can help.