St. Timothy’s rewrites mission statement – now conducting Feasibility Study

SttimothyswindowAfter a prayerful and thoughtful process, St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in Massillon, Ohio, completed a discernment exercise. The process allowed them to rewrite the church’s mission statement and draft a compelling preliminary case for support document for a capital campaign.

Evans/Davis will be on site for about a week in February to interview members to determine if a campaign is feasible. A final decision on a conducting one would be made in late February.

It is our prayer that St. Timothy’s, with guidance from the Holy Spirit, will continue Growing with God.

Charitable deductions and the new tax Laws

unnamedWhereas not for-profit organizations have had a plus, over the years, with donors able to deduct charitable giving on their income tax, the real reason for giving is the belief that your organization has a valid mission and a vision for future growth and development of programs and services.

Churches, especially, receive dollars from loyal members who see their ministries, mission and values as advancing God’s work on this earth. This is why that a review and possible redrafting of a mission statement and development of a long-range vision plan is crucial for spreading the gospel. Evans/Davis is working with churches in long-range planning with many needing to rewrite their mission statement.

Tax laws can change but those not for profit organizations, that has a sound plan for its future, will continue to grow and receive sufficient funds from its constituents.

Moving Forward

Do you have a vision you want to see come into reality this year? Has God put a new strategy or program or change on your heart that you want to enact this year? Desiring to have a healthy, Great Commission fulfilling church, you no doubt do! 

However, I’ve learned that having a God-given vision and bringing that vision into reality are often two different things. There are often obstacles that get in the way of taking action.  I’ve known many church leaders over the years who had great visions for greater ministry but couldn’t make those visions a reality. The challenge of starting something new when it means there will be change can be overwhelming. Change can mean loss, loss means pain, and if the potential pain is too scary, the vision never gets a chance.

 My wife travels a lot for her job. In her travels, she must deal with challenges like delayed or cancelled flights. She learned from her boss in those times to just keep moving forward. Whatever obstacle comes up to prevent her reaching her destination she just keeps moving forward. Like, go to the gate anyway and talk (nicely) to the agent, or make the call to the airline, or get a seat on the next flight – any flight – that will work, or whatever the next step is, take it! Eventually, even though it’s a struggle, the destination is reached. Stopping forward movement seldom gets you where you’re going.

 The same idea holds true when putting a vision into reality. Obstacles and opposition will come up. I can’t count the number of vestry meetings where a new vision was shared that someone didn’t immediately bring up “insurance liability” as a reason not to do it! Or bring up the cost, or say “it’s not the way we’ve always done it,” or “Mr. or Mrs. So and So won’t like it,” or any number of reasons why not to do it. Some of the reasons were legitimate problems. However, letting problems stop the forward movement of a God-given vision is not honoring to God and won’t lead to health and growth in the church.

 My parents started feeding me John Maxwell books when I was in college so I picked up a lot of leadership principles from him in my early ministry. A quote I read from one of his books was, “Problems are just obstacles to be overcome.” As a new rector in the early stages of bringing revitalization to a congregation, I printed that quote and taped it to the wall by my desk.  When the fear that the problems produced in me would start to overwhelm, I’d read the quote and remember this is just another obstacle to overcome and keep moving forward.

I remember well when I knew the Lord was directing me to add a new service on Sunday morning. It meant having to change an existing service to an earlier time. I was going to make the change in the new year. As the new year began and it was getting closer to enacting the vision, the Junior Warden came to me and said, “Some people are talking… and if you make this change half the congregation might leave because the service has always been at this time!” I was too new to know to ask him, “What people exactly?” I remained calm on the outside, but inside I was scared to death! I was called to help grow the church, not run half the people off. Yet I was convinced it was what God wanted to be done in this new year. So, I took the step forward on faith that even if half the people left, God would build it back up. We changed the service time, added the new service and I can’t think of even one person who left. And we grew! It would have been so easy to let fear prevent the vision from becoming a reality. 

I read another article recently about this idea that referenced Ecclesiastes 11:4 which says, “Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant. If they watch every cloud, they never harvest.” (NLT) It’s so true. You’ll never have the perfect, problem free, environment to enact a new vision. The important thing is with faith, to take the next step, and then the next and so on. Keep moving forward and the vision, even if a struggle, will come to reality.

To keep moving forward takes courage. As you know, courage is not the absence of fear. It’s moving forward, in Christ, despite the fear.

So, what vision has God put on your heart for this new year? By faith, don’t let the obstacles and opposition prevent you from taking action. Take the next step, keep moving forward, and see that vision become a reality this year!

Mark Eldridge




The Rev. Canon Mark Eldredge is Director of Church Revitalization and Coaching at the American Anglican Council.

Value of Personal Visitations

solicitationPersonal Visitations of individual church members/couples to other church members help to strengthen your church’s ministry. The reality is that most individuals/couple enjoy personal visitations among each other. Often, it is the only time when families can visit other families outside of Sunday worship. Gathering with fellow members is the best vehicle to share the “vision” for ministries and the mission of the church.

Personal visitation, especially through a capital campaign, also develops new leaders and strengthens the church’s volunteer base. The story of the church and its long range plan can be told so that a sufficient amount of dollars can be raised to make the vision a reality.

We advise churches that if structured properly, personal visitations are a very powerful ministry and can be continue long after a capital campaign is over.

Ashland Child Development Center Begins Capital Campaign Preparation

ACDC SnipAshland Childhood Development Center (ACDC), Ashland, KY, has begun the preparation for launching a capital campaign this fall. ACDC, with assistance from Evans/Davis, has drafted a campaign brochure, formed a campaign committee and begun the process of soliciting possible major gift donors.

The plan is to complete major gifts solicitations, as much as possible, over the summer. In that way, a campaign kick-off can be held early in the fall this year. The initial objective is $350,000.

Are You Ready for a Campaign?

This article contributed by Al Boren.

RUReadyAre you among the many smaller community and faith based organizations with heartfelt needs that can be met with capital funding projects IF you can only raise the money?  Well established cornerstones of successful capital/project campaign development such as a sound strategic plan, board leadership, stakeholder involvement, business sustainability, and compatible donor prospects are not always in place, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be successful!

In my experience, the best investment an organization can make for a major funding campaign readiness in today’s challenging environment is to develop a thorough vision plan as a well as executing a fund raising feasibility/assessment study. It may not produce what you want to hear, but what you need to know.    

The first step is for the organization to work with reputable fund-raising counsel to assist in discerning the vision plan, assess the findings, and undertake the necessary steps for ensuring campaign readiness. Essentials of a quality assessment/study will highlight strengths and weaknesses in the case, timing for philanthropic participation, perception of the organization, commitment of key leaders, plan for sustainability and the reception of top donor prospects.

Passion is a major driver of nearly all visions.  And, when supported by time-proven prerequisites for successful campaigns, your organization will achieve its vision at some level.


Al Boren is a development professional that has conducted numerous capital campaigns and feasibility studies with a successful career in the management of not for profit organizations.

St. Mark’s Begins Construction


imageSt. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Erie, PA, has begun construction of an enhanced and expanded parish hall. Evans/Davis conducted a successful capital campaign for the church in 2014. Additional work will be coming in the near future.

Vision Planning for Your Church

VisionEvans/Davis was recently asked how long it should take to develop a long-range vision plan. Obviously, it depends on the church and the schedule they wish to develop. Most often, a plan can be developed inside of six months.

Be aware that a number of organizations and firms may suggest nearly a year to a year and a half to develop a long-range plan. We feel that timing much over a half of a year is too long and will tire volunteers and delay beginning the plan’s implementation.

Evans/Davis has developed a Vision Planning Program that is both cost effective and efficient and is designed to enhance both numerical and spiritual growth. And, above all else, it is centered on further developing both ministry and mission …not just the use of the building and grounds.

It is our mission to assist churches in setting hearts on fire for Christ. We want to help you with both numerical and spiritual growth. Please contact us to learn more. We will be happy to meet with you to discuss our services and make recommendations for next steps in the planning process.

Firm in the Process of Scheduling Workshops

workshopsAs in past years, Evans/Davis will provide stewardship/visioning workshops to Dioceses, Synods, Conferences and other regional associations in late winter and spring this year. The firm does not charge for this service so it is recommended that, if you wish to provide churches/missions in your regional association with such a workshop, you contact our office soon. 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.

Ashland Child Development Completes Feasibility Study

acdAshland Childhood Development Center (ACDC), Ashland, KY, has recently completed a study to determine if a capital campaign for them is feasible. ACDC, with assistance from Evans/Davis, has developed a list of needs and prioritizes. After conducting a number of interviews with potential donors and community leaders, the firm has drafted a study report. It was presented to their leadership that suggests that a capital campaign is feasible.  ACDC will begin their capital campaign this winter that should be will be completed in spring of this year. The initial objective is $350,000.