As a sizable multi-site church, we will probably always be looking at properties. And many of you know, we are currently aiming at numerous properties – all of which are within reasonable driving distance of our current attendees.
And although I can’t share details about our current top picks, I CAN speak to our intentions. For years, we’ve dreamed about having BOTH urban and suburban locations: We’d love to have a coffee-shop/restaurant/concert venue in/near downtown. And, we’ve also dreamed of having a large Suburban weekend facility that we can grow into.
But no matter where we look, it’s getting harder and harder for churches to get into facilities. Churches get kicked out of their portable locations all the time due to religious discrimination. Despite the fact that public schools are constantly desperate for more money, governments like the State of New York have foolishly made it illegal for churches to rent from them (even though churches have traditionally offered the highest secondary income to public school systems).
Even worse, many municipalities are using illegal zoning discrimination to keep churches from purchasing land or buildings. And even though congress recently passed laws to prevent this (such as RLUIPA), unless these cities get sued, very few of them care about adhering to these laws.
But all of this is quite silly when, research shows, there are many huge benefits to having a church in your city. In fact, smart cities are now trying to woo churches into their city limits because it’s a proven fact that churches increase graduation rates, gpa’s, college attendance, and decrease all sorts of negative child outcomes. But allow me to give you…
5 Additional Economic Benefits of Church.
(1) . An average sized church congregation (200-400 members) brings in $4.2 million annually into area businesses. When adding up the economic revenues of things like weddings, funerals, events, conferences, etc. the community benefits on gas-stations, restaurants, and other service industries are quite huge. The financial impact of larger churches (3000-4000 members) average an economic benefit of around $11.2 million annually. – (Cnaan, 2011) – O’Reilly, David. “What’s a Churches’ economic worth”
(2). For poverty alleviation, the average small church invests around $140,000 a year into it’s community. (E.g., Food shelves, free financial/legal counseling). Most churches give at least 10% of their budgets back to missions and outreach. (O’Reilly, 2011; What’s a Churches’ economic worth).
(3). Large churches increase Property Values – Draw Home-owners: According to a large study (tracking over 5000 houses), houses within a half-mile of a large church generally experience a 6.27% increase in property value. For eg. A church with over 1500 attendees could easily draw 40 new families to relocate – especially so when a demographically young church moves into a city with below average home costs. (Carroll, Clauretie & Jensen, 1996), Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics – University of Nevada in Las Vegas.
(4). Churches are statistically proven to decrease crime rates – particularly decreasing levels of assault, burglary, larceny (Bainbridge 1989), as well as drug use (Fagan 2006).
(5). An average sized church congregation adds “community services” equivalent to $115,009 per year. (E.g., Elderly care, Addiction recovery programs, after-school mentoring, etc). (Boddie, et al. 2001) See more research here.
So, as Substance locks into our newest facility opportunities, be praying for favor. And please consider giving to our current Catalyst offering. If it all adds up well, it will hopefully tip us into “go-time” on numerous opportunities. And with our brand new Text-To-Give option, giving has never been easier. Just text your $amount plus the word “Catalyst2013” to 45777 and boom, you’ve made a HUGE difference!
In the meantime, be praying about your part. Over the past few weeks our attendance has once again jumped by several hundred people. The truth is: We are a growing hospital for our cities. So let’s all do our part to make sure that everyone has room to experience true healing.