Central United Methodist Church, Rogers, Arkansas

When Rev. Carness Vaughn arrived at Central United Methodist Church as their new senior pastor, he discovered the church was burdened with a $7 million mountain of debt—against a church budget of $1 million. It didn’t matter what God was calling the church to do, their debt was strangling out the sound.

The Horizons Ministry Strategist’s heart for Christ enabled him to lead the church to a deep understanding that a capital campaign is, first and foremost, a spiritual process. Central’s leadership team had around 60 people meet with the Strategist regularly, and he pushed the team to dig deep and strengthen their faith. He opened each meeting in devotion, emphasizing the spiritual value of the process before money ever came up.

The Ministry Strategist encouraged Central to devote 90% of the funds from their campaign to debt reduction and invest 10% in much needed facility repairs to create tangible benefits for church members. The strategy paid off—big. Horizons’ Feasibility Study predicted the campaign would raise between $1.5–$1.8 million, but the final commitments totaled over $2.4 million. Keeping the campaign’s emphasis on personal spiritual growth allowed Central to let go of worry over debt and start moving forward with ministry.

Today, Central is thrilled to see their ministry moving outside the walls of the church. Removing the pressure of crippling debt has allowed them to partner with Hispanic churches and to work with a local school to read, mentor and provide coats to students who might otherwise go without.

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