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Can you Airbnb your Church Building?

According to this Washington Post article, some churches have been doing just that. During the pandemic response when congregations were unable to gather in traditional ways, they got creative about how to stay afloat.

 

Why Rent Church Space?

The idea is that churches have space, and other people need it. Pretty simple. After all, "Everyone from entrepreneurs to teachers, bakers, event planners and creatives need space to work, meet, gather and mobilize."


On the most basic level, it's a wonderful thing to be known in your community, in a good way that is. It's good to get on people's radar and to provide for a felt need. While that may be food or clothing for those in need, it can also be providing space for people to gather and problem-solve, dream big, and take steps toward a better world.


Should Churches Make Money?

There is definitely a potential financial benefit to utilizing your church space as the asset it is. But please note: It's not about trying to get rich, but to establish diverse income streams to provide sustainability to your ministry.


If you are only relying on the tithes and offerings of your congregation, your budget is probably decreasing each year. What's more, it's not just churches with middle or high income givers that deserve to survive. Those ministries serving low-income populations already know that can't rely on tithes alone, but must get creative about how to be financially sustainable.


Besides, imagine the ways your ministry could grow if you had additional funds to hire more staff and provide more programs and resources to the community?


How Does it Work to Rent Church Space?

DCA has been heavily recommending the community-use of church space for the last 15 years, working with ministries around the country to find ways to meet their own needs, as well as those within the community.


A common use of shared church space is a kitchen - it's an expensive asset to let it sit empty most of the time, and rising chefs, catering companies, and food truck owners would be thrilled to have a home base. However, the most familiar idea of shared church space is probably when a child care center pays passive income to utilize a church facility throughout the week.


Long-term vs. Short-term Rentals

While long-term agreements may be ideal, they may not always be possible. Churches are used to hosting weddings and funerals as one-time events, but it's possible to consider other limited needs - whether one-time, or on a weekly or monthly basis.


All that said, this Airbnb-like platform, Church Space, still isn't available for just anyone to use. So if your ministry wants to think about new ways to utilize your facility, you'll have to figure it out on your own - or with the help of someone like Daniel Cook Architect.


Curious about how to get started, or to present the idea to your church board? Shoot an email over to catherine@danielcookarchitect.com.

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