Q:

How does leasing church buildings compare with buying the buildings?

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Quick Answer

Leasing a building for a church is sometimes the ideal solution for a growing congregation. As of 2015, many of the largest churches in America use the approach. A lease-option gives the congregation options of moving, if it outgrows the location, or purchasing the property at the appropriate time.

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How does leasing church buildings compare with buying the buildings?
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Full Answer

When churches do not have the required down payment to purchase a property, leasing provides an opportunity to have a house of worship. With the lease-option, part of the monthly payment goes toward building the down payment. However, the lease-option usually requires a higher monthly payment. If the church decides to relocate, the additional cost is normally not refundable.

The lease or the lease-option plan does not work for all churches. In some locations, an appropriate building is not available for lease. In other churches, money is available for the purchase or down payment and the congregation prefers buying rather than renting.

The lease-option is the approach Joel Osteen's Lakeway Church took in purchasing the former home court that serves as its facilities. The church used a 30-year lease option contract on the facility. It prepaid the 30-year lease with over $11 million and then did over $80 million in improvements. Osteen encourages the approach of first getting into the property, through the lease and then buying it.

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