Michael Vilardo has been instrumental in the growth of the Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church endowment. In the few years we have contracted with Michael to educate and nurture church members with regard to leaving a legacy through the endowment program, the endowment has grown by over $13 million. While Michael would be the first to say that it is not only because of his work with church members, we know that as he partners with us to communicate how giving to the endowment strengthens ministry today as well as ensures it for the future, his leadership has been invaluable, and part of the successful growth that we celebrate today. Michael will be an asset to all who are seeking to start an endowment program, or are interested in taking their endowment program to the next level!
The Rev. Doug Johns
Senior Pastor, Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church
Michael’s vision for our church was thoughtful and contagious. He did a superb job of linking the unique strengths of our local congregation to the special challenges of the Great Recession in Southwest Florida to our heartfelt desire to pursue the Savior’s mission to make disciples—especially among the families and students of our community. All of us who worked with Michael quickly sensed that he had something important to offer; he has years of ministry experience, a record of excellence, a commitment to make Jesus Christ known. We’re genuinely grateful for his insight and help.
Dr. Jim Nite
Pastor, Center Point Community Church
Mike’s work, advice, and competent leadership as a consultant enabled our church to experience great success in back-to-back capital campaigns (in a down economy even!) If you are looking for a trusted consultant with a fantastic track record then Michael Vilardo is your guy!
Senior Minister, Whitewater Crossing Christian Church
I have known Michael Vilardo for nearly thirty years and witnessed his effectiveness both as a lead pastor and as a stewardship consultant. A few years ago I had the privilege of working with him in a capital stewardship drive to expand and renovate our fifty year old facility. Our congregation had not undertaken a capital effort of this magnitude in over forty years. With Michael’s spiritual and professional leadership, wise guidance and flexibility we were able to design a program suited to our congregation and raise $5.3 million. That was over 4-1/2 times our annual operating budget. In addition to Michael’s deep understanding of biblical and practical dimensions of Christian ministry, he brings a firm grasp of the disciple-making mission of the church. Michael’s practical understanding of how churches work, his wide professional experience, his genuine love for the church, and his ability to relate to a broad range of people and situations make him a “value-added” consultant for local congregations and other non-profit institutions.
Senior Pastor, Armstrong Chapel
The public launch of our church’s capital stewardship program was planned for the evening of Sept. 11, 2001. As I drove to work that morning and first reports of the horror happening in New York City began to be reported, I not only shared the shock of the nation, but wondered whether we should (or could) move forward with our campaign. As we weighed and prayed our way through what to do, I was thankful to have not just a consultant, but a friend, to walk with us through the challenge. It’s one thing to have someone who effectively knows how to coach a program. It’s another to have someone who also becomes a vital friend. Michael Vilardo brought encouragement, faith, experience and humble spirit to our process. The crisis of Sept. 11 was seized as a great opportunity for our church, and resulted in a highly successful outcome.
Executive Minister, Christ’s Church at Mason
We first met Michael Vilardo in 2007 as our church’s first stewardship consultant in over 30 years. Our church had chosen an ambitious construction and renovation project to remake our entire campus in order to effectively reach our city. Many in our congregation doubted our ability to raise the funding necessary to move forward with the project. Under Michael’s steady leadership, we launched a campaign that captured the hearts of the congregation and allowed us to pledge more than we ever imagined; and then we collected more than we pledged. When the time came to begin reducing the remaining debt, Michael was the choice of our leadership to shepherd us through a second, more difficult campaign. Michael’s strengths are in helping pastors and congregations craft a compelling narrative of vision and need alongside a plan to challenge those within the congregation to prayerfully and faithfully give to that plan and vision. Now, six years after the initial campaign and two years after the end of construction, the results of those campaigns are evident with every new person we are able to reach in our community.
Parkway Heights United Methodist Church
Bridgetown Church of Christ had not undergone a capital campaign since 1982. None of the current elders, staff, or ministry leaders had ever been in positions of leadership during a campaign. We called on Michael for guidance and support and could not have been more pleased. He listened to us and sought to understand our unique vision and goals before suggesting a strategy. The end result was pledges of two and a half times our annual budget. We had a great experience and continue to have an ongoing conversation with Michael. We priced several companies, and he was the most reasonable and gave us considerable ‘bang for our buck.’ Even now, we send out publications to him for proofing and refining before mailing. He always responds in a timely manner and helps us think through the broader implications of stewardship and discipleship. I would recommend him without question.