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Paying Rent is Holding Your Church Back!

Paying Rent is Holding Your Church Back!

We can all agree making certain investments are necessary in life. We invest in our education by going to college or committing ourselves to a worthwhile trade. We invest in movies and TV shows by hanging around through poorly written scenes with the hopes of being rewarded with an excellent ending. When Christians put their faith in Jesus Christ, they – in my interpretation – have made an investment in some kind of after life. But think about this – what if after working hard in school, they gave your degree to someone else? What if the ending to your favorite show should have been a huge surprise, but instead was just a fizzle? Should somebody take your place in heaven after all the good deeds you did in the name of the Lord? I’m sure you’re answers to these question is a resounding No. You “earned” these payoffs by investing your time, resources and life. It’s a loose analogy, but Renting a steel church building is like giving away your degree. You put a lot of money into it, but you won’t get any of the rewards. That’s why I think, when it comes to the “rent vs. buy” argument, one side clearly stands superior.

Lack of freedom

If your rent your building, you lose the freedom to decorate or design your building how you see fit. Maybe you think your chapel could benefit from a new paint job or you have an empty room big enough for a youth center and want to add a basketball court or swimming pool. Best case scenario – you ask your landlord to make changes and they agree to it. Worst case scenario –  your landlord says no. It doesn’t matter how much you negotiate with some people, there comes a point when they just won’t budge or just can’t see your vision. If  you own your building, you wouldn’t have to ask permission to paint your chapel or add features to your steel church building.

Ability to make improvements on a steel church building

steel church buildingA steel church building is more than just a chapel or sanctuary. A church typically strives to be a beacon for the community. By erecting additions such as a gym or a daycare, you can increase attendance and provide a service for your community. Improving your church and your community should always be seen as a benefit and a hardheaded landlord might not understand this. Should you make the wise decision to add on a steel youth center to your church, you’ll be able to reap the benefits of a quick erection process and the possibility to incorporate further improvements into your steel church building in the future. Don’t forget the ability to conserve your cash flow. A lease and monthly payment could also be more expensive than what it would cost to own your own steel church building.


When you pay rent every month, you’re paying your landlord’s mortgage on the building. Remember my analogy about giving that degree away? You’re taking the classes for your landlord, but he’s receiving all of the credit. When you own a building, you will take on more responsibility, but you will also gain more benefits, such as equity. By paying your mortgage, you’re increasing your equity and increasing your ownership with each payment. If the time comes that you decide to move to a new location, you will be able to sell your current building, which has most likely appreciated, to help pay for the costs of your new steel church building.

Tax exemption

As I’m sure you know, a church must meet certain requirements to retain a tax exempt status. For example, if your lease allows your landlord to post political signs on the church’s property or hold events that aren’t religious in nature, it’s possible you could lose your tax exempt status. If you owned your building, and follow IRS guidelines, you’ll eliminate a potential headache.

Paying rent on your church building isn’t helping you or your congregation. Actually, it is holding you back. Make the investment. Improve your church. Reap the rewards of your hard work.

Photo courtesy: The Lamb Family