By Diana Durie
Thanks to committed and engaged leadership, the congregation’s generous support and a customized fundraising plan executed by the Georgia United Methodist Foundation, the “Going Forward” campaign at First UMC of Greensboro was a Kingdom success that unified the church while raising $1.1 million for debt reduction and capital repairs.
First UMC of Greensboro traces its roots back to 1797. The Broad Street church building, located in downtown Greensboro, was built in 1911 and underwent expansions and renovations in 1959, 1973 and 1994. The Family Life Center was dedicated in 2000. The Carey Station Road campus, situated near Reynolds Plantation and Del Webb, opened for services in 2009.
The church opted to build this second campus based on forecasted growth for the Lake Oconee area. “Unfortunately this anticipated growth came to a screeching halt when the economy took a dive,” said capital campaign chair Gene Kirby. “The total project with the land and the building was $9.3 million. Even with an initial campaign that raised $4.8 million, we ended up with a $4.5 million debt.”
First UMC of Greensboro turned to the Georgia United Methodist Foundation for help in conducting a new campaign that achieved the desired financial results while creating a powerful sense of unity and success among its members. Leadership established that 90 percent of the monies raised would be used toward reducing debt, while 10 percent would be reserved for maintenance and repairs.
There were several keys to this campaign’s success. “The support that the Foundation provided was invaluable. Nancy Young (Foundation director of fundraising services) gave us a road map for success,” Gene said. “She shared resources and information from past campaigns and also helped us understand the importance of conducting an advance gifts phase with major donors to give the campaign momentum. Support from our long-term members allowed us to reach around 35 percent of our goal before we kicked off the public campaign.”
Interim senior pastor Rev. Dr. Jay Hodges helped both church campuses grow together spiritually as a family in the midst of a leadership transition. “Jay did a terrific job in helping people understand that this campaign wasn’t just about money,” Gene said. “It was about focusing on the “Going Forward” theme and how God was going to impact the lives of the members of the church and this community. Our church family rallied together and raised $1.1 million in pledges over the next three years.”