Lease Until You’re Ready to Own

Category | Construction


As a church lender, we understand that owning a facility before your church is ready results in a bad situation for everybody. The pastor, the lender, and even the congregation may worry about their church’s future or feel pressured to give more than they are able. It’s important to consider all the hidden costs of ownership and not just look at lease payments vs. mortgage payments in a vacuum. There’s more to owning than just making payments.

One of the first expenses many pastors fail to consider is the cost of regular maintenance and upkeep. Equipment can break and will need to be replaced or repaired. Depending on how much land your church has, you may need to hire professionals to keep up with lawn care. Then there are standard expenses like utilities, janitorial work, insurance, and costs involved to ensure your church meets all safety and fire codes.

Sometimes pastors overlook how intensive it can be to own a church. It’s time-intensive. It’s labor-intensive. It’s money-intensive. It’s important to get everybody with a stake in the ministry on the same page early in the planning process to avoid the added time and costs involved with making the decision to purchase property for your church.

It’s also important to be familiar with your city’s zoning and environmental regulations. Unfortunately, we have seen churches pay thousands of dollars because of failure to comply with applicable regulations in their area. Church leadership should do their best to avoid putting the church in that position by doing proper research beforehand, and we recommend that you speak to a local attorney for guidance as part of your initial building plan.

Lastly, remember that banks tend to be much less forgiving than landlords. If the church misses lease payments, the landlord may negotiate with the church if it’s been a good tenant. If the church misses a month or two of mortgage payments, however, it’s a completely different story.

After reading this, your church should have a better idea of when it is ready to make the transition from lessee to owner. If your church is considering a loan, we can help walk you through the process. Contact us at 888.829.6877 or

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