Many churches view their building as the #1 financial liability of their ministry. What if, instead, they were used for additional community engagement and provided funds to further your ministry?
Church facilities have long been a vastly under-utilized ministry tool, with most spaces left vacant during the week besides an occasional evening meeting or Bible study. The average church only uses its building 15 percent of the week!
Many ministry leaders spend an incredible amount of time and money reaching out to neighbors and hosting events that newcomers would find interesting. But if you were to host a business, not only would hundreds of first-time visitors come through the doors every week, but you would reduce the overhead costs of the building.
By stewarding these unused spaces more effectively, ministries can create a sustainable income stream and an incredible avenue for evangelism and outreach to the surrounding community.
As you begin to dream about what this might look like, we encourage you to consider your greatest passions and how they might line up with a business model. While each market and church is different, here are four models to consider:
1. Early Learning Center
One of the best ways to utilize dormant spaces in the church is through a professionally managed early learning center. After all, you may already have classrooms for children’s ministry! While at certain enrollment levels this can provide a great source of revenue, the most amazing part is the opportunity to build relationships with local families. These centers also typically provide wraparound programs for kids 12 and under, giving you the chance to have an extended impact on kids and their families beyond kindergarten. An indoor playground could even be incorporated into this model, and it could be used on weekends for birthday parties!
2. Events Center
An events center is a great way for the ministry to become the hub of activity in the community. Many churches can utilize their worship or fellowship space for events beyond weddings and receptions, such as business meetings, back-to-school events, banquets, and corporate parties. Events provide an incredible amount of people flow, which opens the door for them to consider returning for a church service or activity. Maintaining a high level of excellence is a key factor in running a successful events center, so the operations should be carried out by paid staff and outsourced catering, if not a management company altogether. Don’t worry though, when it comes to scheduling, the church’s services and standing events should always receive priority.
3. Senior Services
Across the country, the need for daytime care for seniors and other senior services continues to rise. While ministries with vacant land could consider a senior housing project, those with extra space in their current building may be able to offer adult day services. This is a great way to actively care for the older members of your congregation and community. It will be necessary to partner with a local provider to manage these services, or to work with BGWSS to determine if a national provider would be interested in your location. Your church family will enjoy the opportunities to read to participants, garden with them, and eat together.
4. Recreation Center
Perhaps your ministry has a gym that is underused. Why not utilize it as a safe space for area youth and adults to engage in competition, teamwork, and exercise? While the types of activities and events you could host depends on your facility, it may be possible to offer sports leagues, after school or summer programs, open gym hours, or athletic classes, to name a few. Whether you seek out management to offer these programs or simply rent your facility for others to do so, it could definitely lay the groundwork for community members to become a part of your ministry.
Sharing Church Space with the Community
BGW Sustainable Solutions works with ministries across the country to determine if a sustainable model is right for them, what it might be, and how they can get there. They also work with strategic partners, including Learning Care Group: The second largest for-profit child care provider in the country, to operate businesses for our ministry clients nationwide.
Interested in learning more? Send us a note and our team will reach out to you to learn more about your ministry and what could be next.