Why It’s Good to Run Church Like a Business

The line between business and church is messy. It’s a line everyone must walk, and nobody’s sure how to do it well.

Is this a church or a business? Or could it be both?

Most (if not all) churches run as nonprofits, which makes everything twice as difficult. The majority of their costs are funded through congregational donations, which makes them feel as nonbusiness-like as you can get.

It’s a relational business. You’re not fighting for dollars; you’re fighting for hearts. And yet, at the same time, you can’t run a church without money. Are you feeling the tension here? Do you see where I’m going?

We often think that business and church are opposites. It’s about money (business), or it’s about people (church).

But can it be about both?

In my opinion, churches should be run more like businesses. And before you write me off completely and tell me about Jesus turning over tables, hear me out.

I think implementing best business practices in our churches today can help us serve the greatest number of people in the most helpful ways.

First, people want responsible leaders. 

Churches have financial responsibilities. It’s a fact.

You either rent or own the building where you meet. You employ a staff, whose salaries you have to pay. You have lights you must keep on and programs you must fund and people to pay to care for your kids.

Even churches with a bare-bones budget have things to pay for. This is when it becomes crucial that there’s a business side to your church.

People don’t want a church that talks about money constantly.

But they do want to know that when they give their money to the church, that money is in good, responsible hands—and that the church will still be around next Sunday, next month and next year.

Money may not be your primary responsibility as a church, but it’s certainly important.

While God does provide for our every need, he also honors those who are faithful with what they’ve been given.

Running your church like a business—thinking about opportunity cost, revenue and growth—is one way to stay true to these fiscal responsibilities.

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Justin Lathrop
With over a dozen years of local church ministry Justin has spent the last several years starting business' and ministries that partner with pastors and churches to advance the Kingdom. He is the founder of Helpstaff.me (now Vanderbloemen Search), Oaks School of Leadership, and MinistryCoach.tv all while staying involved in the local church. Justin is obsessed with connecting people to people and lives his life daily to make the world a smaller place. He now serves as a consultant in the area of strategic relations predominately working with the Assemblies of God, helping to build bridges with people and ministries to more effectively reach more people. He blogs regularly about what he has learned from making connection at www.justinlathrop.com.