help people see how their help can help.


That’s how much our church owes the bank.

It’s a mortgage. We doubled the size of our building a few years back, with classrooms and offices and youth space and a gym. The people here did a great job of seeing what they needed and planning it and raising funds.

But this isn’t a story about the building. It’s a story about the number.

We are in the middle of a capital campaign. On the first Sunday of the campaign we wanted to tell the story clearly and simply. We wanted to tell the amount.

In early drafts, we talked about the fact that we had said $1.3 million in one place and $1.2 million in another. As we started to decide which it was, we agreed that the best thing to do–the simplest line to draw in the sand–was the loan balance as of the Friday before.


And so we showed that number on the screen, read it a couple of times. It’s a long number to read.

It’s also a very powerful number to show to a group of people who are all ages and socioeconomic levels. I didn’t understand how powerful until I watched the video.

Sitting still, listening to my own voice, I realized that if we had said that we were raising $1.3 million, most people watching would have struggled a bit with how much they could give, how much their little bit would matter.

As soon as we needed $144.44, everyone could see that they could help with at least forty-four cents. Everyone. Even the person with only two quarters in their pocket.

When you have a big project, see if there’s a way to simply describe it so anyone could say, “my little bit matters.”


If you are curious, here’s the video.


9 responses to “help people see how their help can help.

  1. Hi, a non-Christian friend from Madrid sent me this link. She got it via a tweet from Chris Brogan.

    I met her in London yesterday, and told her about the capital campaign at our Nottingham (UK) church ( I will share your post with our leaders. I’m sure it will encourage them.

    May God bless you and enable you as a community of faith to live your lives according to His words about time, talent and treasure. I’m sure the rest will follow.

    Sean, Nottingham UK

  2. thanks, Sean, for stopping by.

    A great fundraising guy I know, who is good at understanding that we are about conversation and relationship, is Marc Pitman (who was a Vineyard pastor for awhile).

  3. Jon,

    Great video. I love how you emphasized “relationship” and “obedience” in the text. Your voice made me smile as I thought about the faith that it takes to say you will celebrate what God has done. (not about reaching the goal, but about God.)

    What a gift you have. Communicating complex matters, simply.

  4. Hi Jon, I woke up early to review e-mails and your post caught my attention. I read it and liked it, especially how the specific goal brought reality to how people could help. I don’t always play videos but I did this one.

    WOW! Cheryl’s right, you have an amazing gift. I loved the beginning of the video and I think I will play it again when I need inspiration or to refocus. You really captured the essence of what it is to believe.

  5. Cheryl and Julie: practice. focus. actually thinking about a specific person listening. That’s all it takes. But thank you.

  6. Pingback: Point to the destination – Switch chapter 4 « Levite Chronicles

  7. I saw your post from Chris Brogan you are getting serious traffic from this…and you deserve it. I love what you are saying about this, I cant count how many times I have seen an issue and decided it was too big to tackle. Great insight… Scary to think how much good I havent done because I thought the task was too big. (I know its not the Christian answer but its honest)

  8. Nice video, Jon.

    And thanks for your kind words! 🙂

  9. no problem. You get relationship.