Churches are ideal places for important gatherings and meetings. They usually have sanctuaries that seat guests during religious ceremonies, as well as fellowship halls for feeding guests and setting up group activities. Churches charge a wide range of fees for renting space, depending on the size of the church, its historical significance and whether or not a member or non-member setting up the function. Wisely allocate event budget funds, accurately calculate the cost of the church rental and find the best deal for your needs.
Make a list of all area churches that might work for your event. Use a map search program to search for churches near your home or desired event location. Start with your own church, if it would be convenient, as you may get a discounted rental rate as a member.
Write down what you need from the church as far as space, time and other services. Many churches charge rates based on which spaces you need to use, how long you need to use them, cleaning and security fees, staff involvement and use of church property such as tables, chairs, tablecloths, kitchen equipment, instruments and media equipment. There are often separate fees for use of the sanctuary, fellowship hall, kitchen, garden, gym space, auditorium, classrooms or other church areas.
Call each church on your list to ask about rental rates, making sure to tell church office staff why you are inquiring about renting the space. Ask what spaces are available for rent and what the rates are for the spaces, as well as for any services you need. Some churches may only offer rental to church members, while others allow the community to rent the space for a fee. Fees can range from a voluntary church donation of your choosing to several thousand dollars. Some churches might take your information and get back to you with a quote within a few days, especially if they charge based on a variety of factors rather than offering a blanket rental fee. Write down rental rates, capacity limits and the amenities offered by each church.
Visit all possible churches to view the spaces you would be using for your event. Ask church staff members questions regarding what you would be able to use and ensure you get a rental contract in writing. Every church is different in terms of what is included in the rental fee. Some will allow you to use almost anything in the building for the rental fee, while others charge a separate fee for using tables, linens, kitchenware, hymnals, Bibles and other church property.
Ask church staff what you are responsible for when renting the space. Depending on the event and specific church policy, you may be required to provide a hired security guard at your event, clean the space following your event or take certain religious classes. Some of these requirements may cost you extra money that you should calculate into your budget as part of the overall cost of renting the church.
Speak with the pastor at the churches you are considering, especially if you have budget restrictions or the event is for a good cause in the community. Pastors are sometimes willing to reduce or waive fees for special circumstances.
Narrow down your options by overall cost and which facilities best meet your needs. Some churches may be way out of your budget, while others have too much or too little space for the number of people expected to attend your event. Choose the church that gives you the best overall bargain, while still meeting the needs you have for space, time and convenience.
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Anne Kinsey is a Certified Trauma Recovery Coach and missionary, residing in rural North Carolina. She is the founder of Love Powered Life, a nonprofit organization with the mission of creating loving community for trafficking survivors and their families. Anne has enjoyed writing for publications like Working Mother, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Houston Chronicle, Bizfluent and Career Trend. She resides in rural North Carolina with her husband, three children and a house full of furry friends.