The Little Stone Church: A Story of Renewed Vision for Riverside Church

As your church gathers in the warmth of the Advent season, embracing the spirit of hope, peace, joy, and love, I send my heartfelt wishes to you and your congregation. 

This festive time invites celebration and provides an opportunity to envision a future filled with promise. Amid the joyous festivities, consider the profound gift of a renewed vision for your church’s tomorrow. The turning of the calendar to 2024 beckons us to dream, plan, and invest in the future of our congregations.

The holiday season, with its messages of hope, renewal, and the coming of the Light into the world once again, sets the perfect stage for contemplating the future of our church communities. It’s more than a seasonal transition; it’s an opportunity to unwrap the potential of a well-planned capital campaign, a gift that keeps giving.

A Capital Campaign is Not Just About Money

Imagine the transformative power of a shared vision. A capital campaign isn’t merely a fundraising initiative; it’s a strategic endeavor that unites your congregation in a collective mission. It’s about rallying together to achieve a common goal that uplifts and sustains the community.

A unified vision has the strength to bridge gaps, strengthen bonds, and inspire a sense of purpose. Countless churches have undertaken successful capital campaigns, emphasizing the financial outcomes but also the profound impact on the life of the congregation.

The Little Stone Church Needed TLC

Consider Riverside Presbyterian Church near Chicago, IL. In early 2018, their pastor contacted me about their building. Through fires, economic downturns, tight budgets, difficult pastorates, and fluctuating membership, the congregation had been committed to the upkeep of “The Little Stone Church.” 

Riverside had used its facility over the years to further its gospel mission through worship, a preschool, scouting programs, a food pantry, an annual Messiah concert, and many other vital ministries. 

But there were numerous places where the building was showing its age. The Little Stone Church needed some tender loving care. Make-do solutions worked for some time, but it was apparent that significant work was necessary for Riverside’s ministry to thrive. 

As Advent led into Epiphany and beyond, anticipation filled the air. The church leaders gathered, and with a spirit of unity, they embarked on a journey fueled by a shared vision for the future. They knew their beloved Little Stone Church could be more than stones and mortar. It could be a vibrant hub, pulsating with life and purpose.

This shared vision became the cornerstone of their capital campaign, aptly named “Let Us Build a House,” inspired by the hymn of the same name. The leaders, led by their faith and the hope of positive change, set out to align their dreams with reality.

Creating a Capital Needs Assessment

Guiding your church towards growth starts with identifying tangible projects aligned with your overarching mission, whether it’s renovating sacred spaces, enhancing community outreach, or investing in vital programs and ministries. 

Back at Riverside, the Trustees began identifying specific areas needing attention. They created a list of capital needs:

  • Restoring the beloved “Good Shepherd” stained glass window
  • Replacing the roof and draining system
  • Tuckpointing and stone repair
  • Redesigning the choir loft and chancel.

These were just some of the projects they hoped to accomplish. 

The campaign kicked off in late 2018. As stories were shared during Sunday services and community meetings, the renewed vision began to take root in the hearts of the church members. The church wasn’t just asking for funds but inviting everyone to participate in a transformative journey. The spirit of giving soared, tapping into the deep wells of generosity that had been the legacy of Riverside Presbyterian. Young and old found joy in contributing to the legacy and future of The Little Stone Church.

The campaign became a celebration of their ministry and a testament to the power of shared dreams. 

Connect with CCS for Expert Guidance

As you light the candles of Advent, consider this an opportune moment to embark on your church’s transformative journey through a well-planned capital campaign. The goodwill and generosity ignited during the holiday season can seamlessly transition into the early months of the new year, becoming the catalyst for a purposeful and successful campaign.

As you ponder these possibilities, I invite you to reach out. Let’s walk the path together and explore how Church Campaign Services can be your guiding light in navigating the intricacies of a successful capital campaign. Your vision for tomorrow starts today, and we are here to turn those dreams into reality.

We wish you a season filled with joy, hope, and the anticipation of a bright future.

Warmest Advent regards,

Rev. Michael Erwin, Director
Church Campaign Services 

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