Lake Hills Church is experiencing a rebirth. Founded over a century ago, the congregation, formerly known as New Morgan Hill Baptist Church, was in decline. Then God called Pastor James Walker back to his hometown to serve this church. His leadership sparked a renewal. Now recognized as one of the fastest growing congregations in Western North Carolina, Lake Hills’ facilities were no longer meeting the needs. So the church launched a building project, and hired Dickerson, Bakker & Associates to plan and implement a capital campaign to help raise money to fund it.

The Vision

Pastor James envisions the church as an oasis in a dry and dusty world — A Place to Belong — where God’s people can re-energize their faith and band together for ministry. A major refresh of the facade was needed to enhance the church’s “curb appeal” and make it more inviting to visitors. Inside, Lake Hills Church needed space in almost every ministry area. Sanctuary space was needed at both campuses to accommodate swelling attendance. Children’s ministry space and adult classrooms were in desperately short supply. The Lake Hills family loves to gather for fellowship over meals, so the kitchen and fellowship hall needed updating too.

The Challenge

Initial estimates for these improvements amounted to more than three times annual giving. An additional challenge was that the congregation was comprised of two categories of people: longer-term members who in truth were a little shell-shocked by all the changes, and a slew of new attendees who were just settling in. We were uncertain how enthusiastically either group would embrace the vision and give to the campaign. And time was of the essence, since space was needed right away. Our firm was hired in June, with hopes that a campaign could be completed before Thanksgiving.

The challenge was clear. We were going to need to run one campaign across two campuses to help the church raise three times their annual giving – mostly from new members – and we were going to need to do it in record time.

Planning & Preparations

Buy-In. To ensure we had buy-in from the entire church, the first step was to hold an all-congregation meeting to lay out the vision. Remarkably, the plan was passed unanimously, with not a single vote against it.

Communications: A communications team was recruited, and immediately went to work crafting printed materials and producing a campaign video based on samples and direction provided by Dickerson-Bakker, built around a theme of “Immeasurably More”.

Events: An events team was formed to begin planning a series of Leadership Challenge meetings over the course of the summer, followed by a major launch event scheduled for October.

Children & Youth: Leaders of the children and youth ministries were encouraged to get involved, and we met with them to brainstorm ideas and frame up a plan.

Teaching & Preaching: Finally, we sat down with Pastor James and his teaching team to construct the framework for a series of sermons and teaching materials on generosity, which would anchor the campaign. This was a high priority, since giving data showed that the church was not yet meeting its potential for giving.

Leadership Giving: While all this was going on, we also worked closely with a small team of leaders from the church to conduct a series of one-on-one meetings and small-group Leadership Challenge Meetings with members who were able to make a generous commitment in advance to help build momentum.

The Campaign

Launch. The campaign was launched to the congregation during Sunday services in the middle of October. The author of the devotional used for the campaign was the guest speaker, and he delivered a stirring message on Biblical stewardship. The entire congregation was challenged to walk through a 40-day journey of generosity, using materials provided, which was coupled with a daily prayer message in their email.

Week Two. Pastor James launched a three-part sermon series with a powerful message, casting a vision for the future of Lake Hills church. Several church members shared their personal testimonies about how the church was having a positive impact on their lives. This was followed by lunch under a big tent behind the church. Architectural renderings were unveiled, and campaign materials were distributed to all members.

Week Three. Leadership giving totals were announced — resulting from the one-on-ones and small group Leadership Challenge meetings, totaling nearly half the campaign goal!

Week Four. Children and youth came forward during the service to provide another powerful demonstration of generosity, having raised nearly three times their goal.

Week Five. Commitment cards were handed out, and the entire congregation was challenged to begin praying and thinking about their commitments, in advance of Commitment Sunday, scheduled for the following week.

Week Six. Dozens of church members gathered for a 24-hour prayer vigil beginning on Saturday morning and leading into Commitment Sunday services.


  • Target goal of the campaign was achieved
  • Rate of pledge fulfillment exceeding 100%
  • Construction underway, on pace for completion later this year
  • Annual budgeted giving held steady throughout the campaign
  • Total cost to conduct the campaign amounted to less than two cents per dollar raised


"One of the most important things to us was to make sure this capital campaign didn’t feel like we were ‘strong-arming’ our people for money. We wanted to focus the campaign on the vision of what God is doing in the life of our church. If you talk to any of our people, they will tell you that this has been a rich spiritual experience. Their commitment to the Lord, and their commitment to the church has grown as a result of their participation in this campaign… We have been extremely pleased with how this campaign has gone. If we ever do a campaign again, we will definitely use Dickerson-Bakker."


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