Capital campaign emphasizes prayer, stewardship

Cornerstone Community Church called on Christian Investors Financial for consulting help with a $3 million+ capital campaign to remodel and expand its campus in Marshfield, Wis.

Service: Consulting

Cornerstone Community Church began 24 years ago in this central Wisconsin city of about 19,000 and home of the influential Marshfield Clinic.

Seeking to love God, grow people, serve their city and reach the world, Cornerstone first met in a school. It then purchased a building on 10 acres in 2002 at the northwest edge of town and built a new sanctuary, meeting rooms and offices 16 years ago.

More recently, the evangelical church experienced 16% growth from 2022 to 2023 alone, with even more expansion of its children’s ministries. Cornerstone serves about 150 young people each week.

“With persistent and continued growth comes some significant challenges,” said Senior Pastor Andy Kvernen. Children and student rooms are often running at 150% of capacity, putting a strain on families and lessening room for newcomers who need Jesus, he explained.

Aside from an attractive sign, a two-colored, windowless wall on the older “blue building” is the most prominent feature seen from the street.

“It communicates more of a ‘Don’t come in here’ message than the welcoming message we’re trying to portray,” Kvernen explained.

While the 525-seat sanctuary is meeting needs with two services, increasing demand for adult discipleship space has people running into each other on many evenings. The church is very active on Monday through Thursdays, said Kvernen. Limited office space has one pastor working from a retrofitted closet and there was nowhere to base a kids ministry director to be hired soon, he said.

Planning for ministry expansion

The church went through a master planning exercise with an architect in 2022 who recommended a retrofit for the blue building, adding offices and a multi-use space to the previous addition and eventually adding a gym.

With a vision and strategic plan for the building needs in place, Cornerstone needed a partner. A capital campaign to gather funds for the first phase of $3.6 million in improvements was approved by congregational vote.

Finding a partner

“CIF was really at the top of our list and so it was good,” said Elder and Capital Campaign Chair Bruce Naugle. As part of Cornerstone’s process to find a partner, the elder board met with CIF in person and via an online video call, bringing questions.

“We really liked the fact that CIF views us as a ministry partner, that we work together,” said Naugle. The church already had investments at CIF.  “We, by investing with them, are able to benefit not only ourselves, but other ministries as well.”

Bringing a biblical approach, CIF campaign consultant Steve Johnson came on board to advise the campaign committee led by Naugle. He is well organized and draws on nearly 30 years of capital campaign and consultative experience.

Team leaders were established to cover prayer, communication, special events, stewardship education, elder representation, advance commitments and a building project liaison role.

Reviewing the list of church building needs with the group, Johnson addressed the importance of the church’s vision for the spaces.

“When you hear that, does it cause your heart to beat just a little bit faster and go, ‘That’s worth working towards; that’s worth giving,’ and ultimately to that spot that’s worth sacrificing for?” he asked.

“If we are following the right process, the product will take care of itself. I think God is leading us through a process that’s honoring Him, edifying the church and we’re going to trust Him to take care of the product.”

Senior pastor Andy Kvernen, Cornerstone Community church

Biblical foundation, emphasis on God

Vision answers the question of why we are doing this, Johnson explained, citing biblical examples, including Moses raising money for the tabernacle, King David for the temple and the Apostle Paul for specific projects.

“When this is done in a biblical fashion, it is not only a significant ministry, but can be very exciting,” he said. “When God’s work is done in God’s way and under His direction, His provision is abundant.”

In trying to fund something that doesn’t yet exist, Johnson said it’s important for the vision to be compelling and one that helps move people toward generosity.

The campaign committee is highly engaged. “It is exciting to see how God is using us and His church to enhance not only our campus but also our mission for His glory,” said Naugle.

Finding a theme that fits

Bathing the process in prayer, the committee, led by the communication team lead and Kvernen came up with a theme: “Blueprints – Building Generations on a Foundation of Faith.” The play on words ties needs for the prominent blue building to architectural plans, the church’s history and the future ministry that improvements will make possible.

CIF was hearing what the Lord is doing at Cornerstone and how they could come alongside and help, Kvernen explained. Campaign team members have brought a lot of work to the effort, he said. “It’s rich work … it’s important and there’s a sense of team, clarity and collaboration.”

A wider session was held to train church attendees on the commitment process.

Helpful materials were created by the church’s communication team to share information. CIF’s approach is different than traditional fundraising, with an emphasis on prayer and stewardship.

Church leaders seek the Lord and support the campaign, then ask others to consider the opportunity, as well.

Informing, educating, engaging the congregation

A campaign booklet shares project details, laying out specific needs with visuals and numbers to show how they will be addressed. There’s a chart with giving amounts per month or annually and suggestions about spending choices that can have an impact.

Funds raised through the capital campaign will provide dedicated kids and student spaces, for example, and a more hospitable kids lobby for parents. Both will allow for greater flexibility and growth.

On the church website and social media, a 36 Days of Prayer for the Blueprints Campaign, with daily verses and prayers, was shared widely to engage the congregation and a Frequently Asked Questions page helped to inform attendees along with monthly newsletters featuring messages from leaders and key facts.

As of the first week in April, the church was nearing $1.5 million in campaign commitments. On hearing the news, the campaign committee immediately went to prayer and thanked God for His provision through His people.

“If we are following the right process, the product will take care of itself,” Kvernen said. “I think God is leading us through a process that’s honoring Him, edifying the church and we’re going to trust Him to take care of the product.”

More information about Capital Campaigns offered by CIF is available by clicking on Consulting at To get started and work with a specialist, churches can share some basic information and we will respond.

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