How Carmel Church Boosted Their Giving and Impacted Their Community

A Change in Perspective

Every church faced hurdles during the pandemic as they adjusted to a new way of making an impact through ministry.  For Carmel Church in San Diego, the struggles and fears of COVID weighed even heavier.

“During COVID, our Lead Pastor was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer,” said Nic Schneider, Operations Pastor.  “We circled the wagons. We shut everything down.”

Fortunately—and after “praying their guts out”—their lead pastor came through happy and healthy on the other side. “He ended up being healed. He’s fully recovered. Even the doctor said, ‘You’re the best cancer patient I’ve ever treated. Whatever you’re doing, we need to tell other people to do it.’

“It’s pretty cool that we got through that as a church,” continues Nic. “But one of the things that remained really strong through COVID and through his cancer battle was giving. It would not have stayed strong if it wasn’t digital through Pushpay.”

Charting a Course Ahead

Carmel took a necessary moment to breathe after such a massive trial. Nic recalled, ”Our pastor wisely said, ‘We’ve been through a lot. Let’s take some time.’”

The greatest thing is that we’re not trying to sell anybody anything. We’re trying to give people Jesus. So we want to use the best tools available to the utmost of their ability. 

—Nic Schneider, Operations Pastor, Carmel Church

But they never stopped thinking about the future. “Our pastors are always asking, what are growing churches doing? What’s on the cutting edge? What are you excited about? And they were asking the young people.”

Even with that progressive mindset, they never stopped relying on Pushpay Giving to facilitate and elevate donations. “​​I don’t mean to flatter Pushpay… but if it wasn’t the best system, I don’t think we’d be using them still, because we do look at other [giving solutions] every year.”

The “Move Forward” Program

Of course, they weren’t the only ones hurting after the pandemic—their San Diego community had struggled, too.

“Our church has been in schools, doing campus clubs, getting kids saved and things like that for twenty years,” Nic said, “but it’s always been a fight. The kids would have to say [to their administrators], ‘Hey, don’t shut our club down!’”

But COVID changed things, especially for young people. “Principals actually met with our church and said, ‘Please, can you come to our campus? Can you come help? Because our counselors are overwhelmed and kids are really struggling.’

“And so we took that message to our church and said, ‘Hey, we want to raise half a million dollars.’”

Spoiler alert on that bold request: They raised the money, and have used that outpouring of generosity to accomplish wonders. In middle and high schools stretching from Mira Mesa to Rancho Bernardo, Carmel Church’s “Move Forward” program continues to send campus missionaries and makes an undeniable impact: They reach an average of 300 young people per week, and now parents and volunteers also work with Carmel to make the program a continuing success. They even provide lunch for every student at their youth clubs, while they share the gospel and make disciples.

“About 125 kids have transitioned into coming to our church since we started, and they’re bringing their families. And we’ve done that through Pushpay.”

Community Size
Key Tools
  • Digital Giving

“Things need to feel more real and more organic and facilitate more connection between people. Because I think it's easy to feel like technology can separate people, but when it's working best, it actually connects people.”

Nic Schneider
Operations Pastor, Carmel Church, San Diego

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