First Presbyterian Church, Franklin, Tennessee

When Horizons arrived at First Presbyterian Church in Franklin, Tennessee, their story was one all too familiar to churches today: doubt and frustration. Ministering in the most conservative county in Tennessee, the church experienced an erosion in membership each time they took a progressive step. As church leaders became discouraged, they lost sight of the amazing things they were doing in the lives of those they were in ministry with.

First Presbyterian Franklin partnered with Horizons to benefit from a balance of old wisdom and fresh perspective to help the church’s leadership refocus on the strengths of their ministry. The Horizons Feasibility Study revealed that, despite the doubts and frustrations that existed, First Presbyterian’s members were committed to their church and were ready to eliminate a 20-year old debt and make capital improvements to move ministry forward. The feasibility study showed that the church could raise $1.5 million, and they were ready to get started.

When the church initiated the campaign, its motivation was centered on money—going through the Horizons process step by step with a goal of eliminating the debt. But as it engaged with Horizons’ approach, something wonderful began to happen. People began to share their stories of faith and ministry in the church. Stories that sparked hope and healing. First Presbyterian went deep and explored what God was really doing in their lives and through their church. On Ministry Sunday, a member of the campaign leadership team remarked, “That was the most meaningful day in worship I’ve ever experienced.”

In the end, First Presbyterian Church raised over $2 million, but they got so much more than that. The congregation found new life. It started small groups and began work on a strategic plan. Once again, members were enthusiastic, and felt connected to each other and the church. And while getting rid of the debt was important, they found the real payoff was the power a healthy congregation has to transform lives.

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