By Jean Brindel, Capital Fund Team
North Indiana Outdoor Ministry Project

The 2006 North Indiana Annual Conference requested a feasibility study about the ability to raise money for upgrading and building facilities for the camping ministry. During these past months, the costs of the project and needs assessment has caused the focus to be on the Epworth Forest Camp site.

The actual report will be received from the consulting firm, Cargill and Associates, on April 11. This begs the question, what is a feasibility study?

Let me tell you a story.

Back in the olden days, a few weeks before Easter, children would begin to watch the old hens to see where there might be hidden nests of eggs that could be found for Easter. My Uncle Wes, who was about eight at the time, spied an old hen who each morning quietly wandered off from the henhouse to her secret nest.

She would approach the side of the barn, slowly look around, and making sure she was not being watched before slipping between the loose boards of the barn. Wes knew there must be a full nest of eggs waiting for him.

Early in the morning on the Saturday before Easter was his chance to gather those hidden eggs. As he picked up the egg basket, his mother asked him what he was doing. "Nothing," he replied, "just going out for a walk."

He followed the path to the loose boards, just as the old hen had done.

Putting down the basket, he pushed back the loose boards and crawled under the barn toward the nest. About four feet in, he realized he was caught. He couldn't move. Something took hold of him and held him tightly. He began to scream, but no one could hear him or knew where he was.

After an hour or so, his mother went to the porch and called out his name - no response. She wandered toward the barn, calling for him and stopping to listen. Still nothing. Then she spied the basket, sitting by the opening of the barn made by the broken boards. As she knelt down and looked in to see, his tear stained face pleading for help, she tried to reassure him,

"Don't worry, son, we'll get you out even if we have to burn down the barn." Now, they really needed a feasibility study.

A feasibility study measures the support of the leadership and possible donors toward the proposed project and the project costs. Planning to succeed means measuring the support of possible donors as leaders and donors consider the costs and benefits of the project.

They did get my Uncle Wes out. My dad came along and realized Wes's pants were caught on a nail. And yes, they did get the eggs for Easter.

In May, the results of the Epworth Forest feasibility study will be shared.

Thanks to all who provided ideas, wisdom and concerns in this process. And yes, together we plan to succeed.

Jean Brindel, CFRE, AFP, serves as senior pastor of Saint Matthew United Methodist Church in Frankfort, Ind.