Summary: A church should be an active, contributing member of its community, rather than a closed-off mini-community that keeps to itself and this can extend to becoming involved in business or in the business community.
Churches in business
Luke 19:13 - So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas, and said to them, “Do business till I come.”
God always intended for the priesthood to reinvest a portion of the tithe, with the expectation of a return. It was part of His plan to show the priesthood that He was their portion. Though it has been part of God's plan for the church, very few today are actually doing it.
The marriage of religion and business has deep roots in American history. Itinerant Methodist preachers from Francis Asbury (1745-1816) onwards addressed camp meetings of thousands of people, and often borrowed marketing techniques from business.
In his 1925 bestseller, “The Man Nobody Knows”, Bruce Barton pictured Jesus as a business executive who picked up twelve men from the bottom ranks of business and forged them into an organization that conquered the world and regarded His parables as the most powerful advertisements of all time.
A church should be an active, contributing member of its community, rather than a closed-off mini-community that keeps to itself and this can extend to becoming involved in business or in the business community.
There is a range of ministries and para church organizations that blend aspects of ministry and business. They have now realized that they cannot accomplish their two-fold mission of winning souls and shepherding sheep without money.
Accordingly, there has been a radical shift of emphasis from mere collection and counting of offerings and tithes to owning and running businesses.
It is now very common for churches to have income-generating projects, business breakfasts, and fund-raising dinners where business experts come and present business principles and strategies.
Three reasons why owning and operating a business should be an important part of the church model:
1. Jobs impact the community. When a church is engaged in the community and it helps to create jobs, everyone takes notice. The church could be the one place that the city and government turns to when it is looking for answers.
2. Profit benefits the church. Once the business arm of the church files its tax return, all of the profits that are passed to the church are tax free to the church as a donation. The church can then use those funds however it wishes. These profits can contribute to the costs of running the church and help it fulfill its vision.
3. Financial protection. Since the business is a separate entity, none of its liabilities can fall on the church. This separates the church from any liability the business may face.
In today's changing times, opportunities for churches to create alternative sources of income abound. Churches are beginning to invest some of their time into building income streams that can supplement income from tithes and offerings. Some examples are schools, property investment, bookstores, skills training, and many more.
When a church develops multiple income streams, it breaks away from the traditional and also sets an example to its membership that is worthy to be duplicated.
When a church relies on traditional fundraisers to help meet budget, it limits itself to small thinking and may come across to society as a harmless and irrelevant group of people.
When a church has a number of real income streams it brightens the outlook for its financial future and it becomes more investment worthy. Banks are in business to make money and when they consider whether or not they will make a loan to a church they look at it from the perspective of whether or not the church can repay the loan.