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Case Study

church tithes

Senior Pastor
Grace Bible Church
Bakersfield, CA

Steve Swartz

Dear friend,​

From one Grace Advance pastor to another, greetings in the name of the Lord Jesus, the Head of the Church (and our little churches?). 

I am cc’ing Dr. Rod Rogers, the consultant we are using for our current capital campaign.

I apologize in advance…this email is going to be in two parts: the short version and the long version.​


You should contact Rod and use him NOW.

He is a former preaching pastor, like-minded concerning the gospel, and has experience you and I won’t get in five lifetimes. ​


I spoke to Rod almost two years ago for some exploratory talks. He walked me through the “system” he uses for a capital campaign.

I put “system” in quotes because it is basically a real-time modern-day fleshing out of clear principles found in Exodus 25, 35, 36, and 2 Corinthians 8-9.

I was born a skeptic but as I listened and then looked at his website, I became convinced that his driving motive was to help us change the hearts of our people which then results in giving increasing. 

Fast forward several months. I presented the vision of taking our building savings program to a new level to our elders and they agreed that in order to proceed forward we needed to (a) get buy-in from our entire eldership/deaconship and (b) choose a person or small team to devote their LIVES to this for 3-4 years.

We got the buy-in, chose a small team of two co-directors, and proceeded to start looking for a consultant at our direction.

Lo and behold, without me telling them about Rod, Rod was the guy they came back recommending–and for the same reasons: an emphasis on HEART CHANGE not just raising money.

Let me tell you some of the benefits that we have seen as a result of working with Rod, then some advice, and then the value we have seen.


1. Personal contact anytime we need

2.  A BEEFY campaign resource website with tons of information

3.  Preaching ideas and helps

4.  Access to fabulous graphic design and printing

5.  Lots of philosophical and Scriptural underpinnings that give confidence to us and our people that we are headed in a logical and biblical direction.

6.  Reasonable expectations of what we can expect if we work the program.

7.  BIGGEST ONE: a WEEKLY calendar of events that should be happening, who is responsible, and Rod keeping on top of this alongside us.

1. Be All-In

You will get out of this what you put into it.

We made a decision to be ALL-IN on every single part of the program and amazingly, Rod’s prediction of what we could expect statistically speaking was spot-on.

This is like jumping out of an airplane–you can’t decide to use part of the parachute. Either do it or don’t.

Our team decided we were going to absolutely give it 110%.

2. Use the Biblical Resources

Rod offers a lot of scriptural resources, such as a book he wrote and a series of helpful devotionals.

Some pastors are going to need that level of content help because they are not necessarily trained at the level they would like to be.

For you and me, we are used to weekly exegesis of Scripture so I would encourage you to use those resources at least as idea helps.

I found them helpful in giving creative ideas for crafting a direction for the sermon series I just finished. 

3. Get a Detail-Crazy Person to Run Your Campaign

Also, you’ve got to get a DETAIL-CRAZY person as the driver behind this.

4. Stay in Regular Contact with Rod

And you should stay in regular contact with Rod yourself.

Most pastors either micromanage the process and ruin everything or they are so hands-off that they are not emotionally invested.

Find an in-between place that works for you. I consider Rod a friend now and will continue that friendship long after our capital campaign is over.

5. Learn the System

Also, take the time to REALLY learn the system and get your DETAIL-CRAZY person to absolutely OWN IT.


Having two phone calls with Rod will not do the work for you. You DO have do roll up your sleeves and learning the system helps.

6. Bring Rod in for an On-site Visit

Also, you can do the whole thing remotely via electronic communication, etc.

But I highly recommend paying a little extra to have Rod do an on-site visit.

It will encourage your whole team and you as well. 

7. Don’t Try to Do it Yourself

Here is the answer to the question, “Well, why don’t we just do it on our own?” 


Because the fact is that you won’t. 

We tried it on our own and raised $200,000 in four years. 

With Rod’s system, we just raised almost that amount on the FIRST SUNDAY of our campaign recently. 

Why? Because you spend months preparing. 

1. Bang for Our buck 

I talked to consultants in the $100,000 range. Honestly, that is still worth it given the outcome, but Rod’s fee is extremely reasonable and the return on investment will be astounding. 

His fee is many times LESS than what I saw to be the industry standard. 

In our case, our initial one-time offering to kick off this campaign was over TEN TIMES the fee we had paid Rod. 

And that’s NOT counting the 3-year commitments which will make his fee look like a gratuity. 

2. Spiritual Progress

This campaign has challenged our people to be all-in for Christ NOT just in giving, but in their marriages, family, workplaces, and evangelistic opportunities. 

In fact, we have baptized 16 new believers during this campaign. 

3. Sin Exposure

We have also seen a couple of families really expose that they think more of their opinion than they do of truly listening to a logical argument from Scripture. 

This has produced some good conversations and even repentance in multiple areas of life.

4. A General Excitement and Joy

Everyone, young and old, has had a renewed vigor about Christ and His church. 

Our children’s ministry and youth ministry decided to do a coin drive CONTEST during my giving preaching series and have raised several thousand dollars in change (plus the odd 20-dollar bill thrown in by parents who want their side to win 😉). 

5. A Sense of Urgency to Expose Our Community to the Gospel

The seeker-friendly ecclesiology we all cringe at tries to attract the unbeliever into some sort of false fellowship with the church without conversion to Christ. 

But one thing we can learn from them is that a community that doesn’t know you exist is not going to be impacted with the true biblical gospel. 

We have seen a heightened awareness of the need to preach Christ by having our community know we are here and come to church to hear the gospel.

6. Increased General Fund Giving

Another one of Rod’s predictions that came true is that we’ve seen an uptick in general fund giving as well.

Because as people evaluate their entire lives and finances to contribute to the building fund, they naturally evaluate everything at once.

One of our elders just said last night, “Our church has stepped up its game in regular giving.”

7. And Yes–A PHENOMENAL Result in Our Financial Results

Our initial commitment was $157,378—much more than we had projected. 

There was a lot of weeping and joyful laughter amongst the elders when we learned this. 

On Commitment Sunday we received 3-year commitments of $939,040. 

These combined for a grand total of $1,096,418—over a million dollars. 

This is more than 2 times our annual giving.


And no, Rod did not ask me to write all this and he will probably be embarrassed that I did. Sorry, Rod. 

May the Lord bless your efforts as you proceed forward. Let me know if I can serve you in any way.


Steve Swartz, M.S., M.Div., D.Min.
Senior Pastor
Grace Bible Church of Bakersfield

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