Case Studies

Circle of Peace:
A Church of the Brethren since 1892

Peoria, Arizona
Ron Faus, pastor

Circle of Peace Church of the Brethren is committed to its future, but cognizant of its past. Formerly the Glendale Church of the Brethren, Circle of Peace was founded almost 108 years ago by pioneers intent on living their lives in discipleship to God and each other. That devotion remains just as strong today, as the church embarks on a building project that will take it through the next 100 years.

"Taking up the cross is active," says Pastor Faus. "It’s something you choose to do, rather than something that happens to you."

In the late ’80s and early ’90s, the Circle of Peace congregation seemed to be coasting. It was hard to attract visitors to the building that had served them well for so many years. Church leaders began imagining what a new building in an expanding part of the Phoenix metro area might require. In 1996, after much discussion and debate, they decided to gather the resources to purchase a piece of land as an investment in the future. The only problem: the church had never conducted a capital campaign.

"We knew we needed to move," explains Shawn Merrifield Carothers, campaign chair. "But finding a location and the funds were our biggest hurdles."

Realizing they needed help, church leaders contacted Myers-Bowman Consulting. With the generous support of a major donor, they then hired us to direct the church’s first campaign.

We started with a set of parameters to guide our work:

  • The campaign should be done in a way that would make future campaigns more successful (in other shortcuts).
  • Taking time to listen to members of the congregation about the possibility of moving was important.
  • In the close-linked community, trust was already high, and open communication would be our strongest persuasive tool.
  • Campaign expenses would be kept to a minimum.

With our help, campaign volunteers invited the members of the congregation to participate in the project with gifts of cash, stock and other devices. Our responsibilities included:

  • facilitating the committee process to develop the fundraising plan
  • assisting in the creation of potential donor lists
  • coordinating the rating and cultivation of all prospects
  • preparing position descriptions for all leaders and volunteers
  • planning and coordinating the selection of top campaign leadership
  • preparing and implementing volunteer and staff training
  • coordinating and establishing procedures for the collection of gifts and pledges
  • reviewing and preparing campaign strategies and materials with staff support
  • developing and supervising the preparation of all campaign materials
  • assisting with the solicitation of lead gifts

Our impact on the campaign was two-fold, as Pastor Faus explains. "Myers-Bowman Consulting provided us with the tools to do the job ourselves, while also providing a great model of how to conduct ethical, responsible and compassionate fundraising. Their approach was ideal for our situation and will help us succeed with our project."

At the conclusion of the first campaign, over $170,000 (105% of goal) had been raised from 63 donors—an amazing feat given the giving history of the church. Even more amazing is the second phase of the project. Kicked off in April 2000, it has already surpassed the $700,000 mark from just 53 church families. Pastor Faus summed it up best when he said that "taking up the cross means doing more than you think you can on behalf of Christ and the church."

The Circle of Peace Church of the Brethren has indeed chosen an arduous route, but because of their tenacity and vision, success is assured.

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