It is time to set budgets for the coming year. Historically, we have underwritten our local church budgets through pledged giving from the congregation. We cannot count any longer on pledges to cover the cost of making new disciples of Jesus for the transformation of the world. It is time to think outside the box. It is time to take local church resources and turn them into revenue producers. Do you have some nice classrooms that go unused during the week? What about leasing space to non profits for 1/2 the rate lanlords would charge in a nearby strip mall? Put in phone lines and be sure the internet is available and you are ready to go with little or no up front costs. You might not need the space right now but as your church grows you will need that space again so no "99 year leases" please! If no non profits are looking then what about recovery groups? They are generally 1. desperate for meeting space 2. willing to pay utilities and rent and 3. are good PR for the church; "We are the church that cares about recovery, OA, NA, AA, and people who are in recovery from bad church experiences of the past. Again, keep the leases on a year to year basis when possible. You'll need the space later as the church grows.
If you are near or next to a paid parking facility and you have some parking, put a "pay station" on your lot and charge for the public to park in your lot Monday- Saturday. Your price should be slightly less than the lots around you. Never do contract parking but always hourly parking. More money is made from the in and out business. One church in San Antonio makes $25,000 per year on their 32 space parking lot!
If your sanctuary was built in the 50s or 60s and has a center isle, market the space for weddings. Buy a booth at your local wedding fair. Outside weddings bring in $500 to 1k for each event. Got a nice fellowship hall? Host wedding receptions. If you allow champagne fountains by an outside caterer, (Jesus' first miracle was changing water into wine) you can make even more money. Do all the guest weddings yourself and insist that the bride and groom attend church during pre-marital counseling. They don't have to become members but it means something for pastors instead of a justice of the peace to do weddings. Some couples will stick and come back after they are married.
Are you in a high traffic area? Do you have a good commercial kitchen? Why not a restaurant in your church? This will be a revenue generator and increase visits to your church from the outside. Like good coffee? Invest in a coffee kiosk for Sunday mornings and during the week. You can charge 1/2 the price of Starbucks and if you have it built around an internet cafe on your church campus you continue the joint theme, more foot traffic and more revenues.
Get creative in these tough financial times with exciting new adventures in reaching out to your community.