Johnathan Stone has picked another hot topic on buildings and churches. We see so many churches putting so much of their resources into physical plant these days, only to struggle with payments. My response from a business standpoint is as follows:
You sure know how to pick sore subjects! For me, this is high on the list. Since there are pastors that read this, let me throw my two cents in, based on business experience.
The church has a mission. The purpose of the building you own, rent or whatever is to serve that mission. Anything a church does in terms of physical plant needs to contribute to the fulfilment of that mission, and to do so in an economically sensible way. That means that not only do you consider what you need to do but how often you need to do it. Why add an expensive feature to a building you only use once or twice a year?
One recurring mistake I see in church buildings (and we also see this all too often in other non-profit organisations, and certainly the government) is the inclusion of underutilised features.
As far as own vs. rent, from a pure business standpoint, the only reason to own property is if you think the property will appreciate more than the rate of inflation. Everything else is simply a cost of operation.
Remember: the money you put into physical plant represents resources that can’t be put into people and resources for direct ministry. Allocate your resources wisely, or your church building will become your church’s tomb.