Leading a church isn’t easy, especially when fixed costs keep going up, and church giving seems to be going down. You have a vision to make a difference in your community, but you struggle with tough budget choices that include debt. The worst-case scenario would be that you have to close your doors and walk away from the spiritual legacy of your church in your neighborhood. You feel stuck.
But reaching your world doesn't have to mean losing your church. The good news is there are some creative ways to retire debt, support ministry, and experience a church campus transformation.
The answer to getting “un-stuck” may be literally right under your feet. Consider this: does your church have excess land – a vacant lot or an underutilized parking lot?
Church property utilization is a forward-thinking solution that can be the catalyst for new beginnings in your church. It’s a tithing alternative that can raise funds to secure your property for today’s generation without the complicated and often negative aspects of a church capital campaign. At the same time, it allows you to retain your land for future generations while providing additional income.
Maybe the idea of using land for income is intriguing, but it also seems pretty complicated. And, let’s face it. In today’s real estate market, lots of developers would love to “help” a church with extra land. But you don't have to sell out to stay afloat. That’s why the most important decision is choosing the right partner.
We suggest you look at who is already doing this type of specialized land repurposing. Here’s a real, working example.
A local community church in Southern California faithfully served its neighborhood for more than 130 years, providing activities and support for local families. In the past few years as membership (and offerings) declined, the church looked for a way to leverage some unused property to improve their financial situation as well as impact their community. The church wanted to continue to love their neighbors and keep their church.
That’s when the church selected a local nonprofit to implement their vision for a housing development and community center. Together, they found a way to creatively change a vacant lot into a vibrant community asset. Entering into a 60-year ground lease with the church, the nonprofit developer repurposed 2.2 acres of excess parking space and unused vacant land that provides ongoing financial support for the church’s charitable activities. And in the process, they engaged various local community partners to extend their outreach into the neighborhood.
Today, Wesley Village is a property with two three-story residential apartment buildings that provide affordable housing for working families and seniors, and a large community center for Head Start Learning, with a health clinic, library, and multipurpose rooms accessible to community service providers.
“One of the fundamental principles of our church is that we have a responsibility to innovate, sponsor and evaluate new forms of community that will encourage development of individuals and families to reach their fullest potential. Wesley Village, which is named after the founder of the Methodist Church, John Wesley, is a way our church – together with the city and nonprofit partner Jamboree – is providing land for the creation of a new community that will strengthen the lives of people and promote their health and well being.” - Reverend Dr. Bau Dang, Pastor
See how Jamboree brings to life its vision to impact people and communities.
What if you could implement a creative strategy to utilize vacant land to generate revenue, and also have renewed impact in your local community? All it takes is some inspired vision with a willingness to explore and a guide who can translate your needs and goals into a reality that will benefit your church and community for years to come.
And, with the 2020 passage of AB 1851 – the Yes in God’s Backyard bill – this approach is gaining momentum so that churches like yours can build affordable housing on the land you own with fewer barriers to parking requirements for the long-term. In fact, the Terner Center at UC Berkeley estimates that nearly 38,000 acres of unused land owned by faith-based organizations is suitable for affordable housing development.
Jamboree Housing Corporation is a nonprofit affordable housing developer with the experience to pave the way to fund more ministry for your church. Our vision is for every person to live in a strong, healthy, sustainable community. We want to end homelessness, and transform people and neighborhoods with hope. That takes faith, and we’ve believed it for more than 30 years.
Jamboree values quality, creativity, flexibility and innovation – all in a spirit of open communication marked with integrity, accountability and respect. Our reputation and livelihood are built to last. We seek to join hands with churches that want to “be known as a rebuilder of walls and a restorer of homes” (Isaiah 58:12).
Explore repurposing land to generate income and church financial support. Begin by gathering more information that will help open the discussion on your end about the potential possibilities. Roger Kinoshita, our Vice President of Real Estate Acquisitions, is specifically dedicated to this purpose and will handle initial inquiries with discretion. He’s here to answer any question you have that will help you fully understand the process. Roger is available at 949-214-2345, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don’t wait! Learn more about how to offset decreased giving by increasing revenue for church ministry. Keep your church alive when costs are up and giving is down. Find new revenue for ministries and operations without selling out. Discover the possibilities that may exist for you and your church. Contact Roger today.