I’m sure there is some story of a dying church that used the money from a second or third mortgage to buy extra time to figure out how to turn their congregation around, but I’ve never seen it.
Third, the piece-by-piece sell-off.
As with a mortgage, I’ve never seen a church sell off a portion of their land to pay bills, then keep the church alive beyond how long the money from the sale holds out.
If your church has to mortgage the property or sell off pieces of it to pay the regular bills, you’re at the point of no return.
(I almost added “barring divine intervention” in that last sentence. But God doesn’t intervene to fill a leaky bucket. I’ve never seen him step in to save a congregation that keeps making bad stewardship decisions. Jesus told us a pretty strong parable about that.)
There are better options.
They’re not easy.
Some of you may not like me after reading some of them.
But they’re better than the inevitable loss of the church and all its assets.
Here are 6 of them.
1. Give The Property To A Healthy, Thriving Church That Needs It
Yep, just give it away.
Before loading a dying congregation down with (more) debt, before selling of so many chunks that what remains isn’t worth much, find a healthy, thriving congregation or other ministry and give it to them.
Keep it in God’s kingdom work.
Instead of watching your property get chiseled away, sold by the bank, torn down and turned into condos or a mini-mall, you can participate in the joy of seeing it supercharge a healthy, but needy ministry.
2. Sell The Property And Donate The Proceeds
In many situations, the church property is no longer in an ideal ministry location, but is well-suited for other purposes.
If so, the best course of action may be to sell the property to whomever will pay top dollar, then donate the money to effective ministries that can carry on a portion of the church’s mission and passion.
3. Sell The Property To Another Ministry At A Huge Discount
If you can’t give it away for whatever reason (debt payments, denominational restrictions and so on) sell it to another church or ministry for as little as you can.
Near where I live, Teen Challenge owns a castle for exactly this reason (yes, an actual castle – in California!) The castle was built in 1919. After passing through a couple of owners, it was bought by a Christian ministry. When they could no longer use it, they sold it to Teen Challenge (the best Christ-based recovery ministry I know of) for a massive discount off its market value.