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Faith-Based Property Development: Using Your Resources

Urban congregations across the country are dealing with aging buildings and declining rates of attendance, while the property values surrounding the congregation grow. Churches across New York City are leveraging their space and air rights to unused property to developers. This article from The Real Deal even gives an example of Bethel Gospel Assembly in Harlem developing a faith-based property development. While some apartments were saved for affordable housing, others sold for full-value.

What building resources do your church have but take for granted as available? Do you have extra space in your building that you could rent out for extra income? Or part of a large parking lot that could be sold? Perhaps you have a parsonage when the pastor would rather own her own home? Thinking creatively about how to best use your space to your advantage takes work, but it can pay off. It might be useful to try a space tour to understand how members of your congregation use and understand the space, paying careful attention to the areas that are holy and sacred versus those that are not.

Ellen Childs
About the Author
Dr. Ellen Childs holds a Ph.D. in sociology from University of Notre Dame. She is Website Director at StudyingCongregations.org