Sacred Space

May 29, 2024

Sacred Space: Maximize your church building as a strategic part of your vision
by Deacon Peggy Hahn (she/her), Executive Director of LEAD

Our buildings live out the God-given purpose for ministry and is legally obligated as property of faith-based non-profit organization to serve the community. Sometimes we need this reminder. We can tell a lot about a congregation by the way they share space.

Church buildings are dedicated to the stated purpose of the congregation’s reason for existence. We may have given money to build the building, clean the building, and even staff the building, as good stewards, but we do not own the building. It is God’s property, and we have the important job of managing these resources to the best of our abilities.

In a weird way, the IRS agrees. Did you know that church-owned property must be dedicated to the mission, even when the use is non-religious?

If you are reading this and feeling curious, contact us now for a one-on-one conversation about maximizing your church building in alignment with your vision. If the vision has gotten fuzzy over the past few years your church is not alone. Congregations are working with LEAD to recapture their purpose, values, and goals in alignment for a meaningful future.

Truly, even when the building has an enormous amount of deferred maintenance, it has a commitment to the mission of the church. The property (with tax benefits) is there to substantially contribute to the lives of the people in the nearby area. And, even if the church is to be sold, there is an obligation from the leadership to make decisions about new owners in a way that expresses the original intent of the mission. It is rare for anyone to benefit from church property being sold, unless the funds generated are repurposed for a new church plant.

Instead, congregations are creating a renewed vision for maximizing church property that builds in financial sustainability, so the overall mission of the church can have new life. The use of sacred space for worship, education, and care of the members is important, but does not limit the use of the building for so much more. Congregations have historically contributed to society by providing healing and hope in a variety of ways. In other words, it is in the best interest of your community for the church to revision, rather than to sell.

Learn more! Sign up and attend one of these information sessions over the next few months to learn more about congregations moving from their understanding of the church building as a members-only space to a place where all people can know and experience the love of God.

Our buildings are preaching—we are either saying this is my space and you are welcome to join us (and implied “be like us”) or this is our space to work out our lives and the needs in our community together (and imply “shared goals.”) When we say all are welcome, we mean the second. True partnership with the area around the church property is life-giving for everyone.