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Ask Dave

The Plan For The Church

Brandi is calling on behalf of her church. They're trying to decide whether to keep the land they've bought to build a church or sell it. Dave offers some ideas.

QUESTION: Brandi in Raleigh is calling on behalf of her church. They’re trying to decide whether to keep the land they’ve bought to build a church or sell it. It would cost approximately $750,000 to build the new church, and they only have 75 members now. Dave offers some ideas.

ANSWER: Basically, we need $800,000 to pay the land off, and you have 75 people. If the congregation could commit $100,000 a year to this project, then it would take eight years. If you commit $200,000 yearly, it would take four years. That’s the sort of thing you have to look at. Can you get the land paid off and build the building debt free in a reasonable period of time given the budget you have now and the trend line of your growth? If the answer is no, then you don’t keep the land.

There is nothing much cheaper than a church for sale. That is what’s known in the real estate business as a white elephant. There is one possible user: a church. Maybe a theater company.

I think it’s a matter of prayer, and it’s something you move on slowly. I disagree with the premise that you keep this as an investment. That’s not the purpose of a church. A church mission statement is not to build wealth. The mission statement of a church is to help people and grow the people that are in the congregation and serve the community. Christ is the umbrella over that whole thing.

If we’re not going to utilize the land for the purposes of this congregation, then we don’t hold it as an investment. I think you put together a timeline and a trend line that is logical and makes sense based on your growth and debt payments to see if you could build this thing out in three to five years. Or, you say that this is a dream that could have turned into a nightmare that God protected us from.