Should churches buy properties?

Churches are cornerstone of a community. Nothing is as distinct or as soothing as seeing a church building when you are new to a town, because you know that it will be a place where you will be welcomed. Even the sun shining through the stained glass windows symbolizes a ray of hope.

For regular people, buying real estate as an investment is usually a good idea in the long run. There’s regular income if you rent it out, and there might be a capital increase due to inflation, your roof doesn’t depend on the whims and fancy of a landlord, so there’s no doubt that property is a good idea. However, as a charity, should churches use their flocks donations to invest in property?

Churches are viewed as religious institutions and money and religion do not mix. After all, God tells you to give alms to the poor, not to use all that money to make an institution rich. It might be okay to buy the building that you are housing your parish in but to purchase and own other investment properties in an effort to make a profit, might be fishy.

Mega churches are the norm these days and their following is impressive due to their usage of technology, lasers, huge sound systems and the emotional connections they forge with their followers often lead to them getting large sums from tithing.

But who regulates how the churches use these funds? We hear of greed destroying the common man ( that’s like a clear sin ) but shouldn’t pastors and priests know better?

Maybe not.

One such church that got into trouble recently was the City Harvest Church in Singapore. The church recently made headlines after its founders were found guilty of misappropriating funds, and channeling them to fund the Pastors wife’s career.

However they first raised eyebrows when they announced plans to buy the  Suntec City Convention Center worth millions of dollars. Even after the guilty verdict, the local newspaper reported that the investment in was still doing well. (link)

Properties in Singapore are already well known for being extremely expensive. Singapore recently gained a reputation for being a playground for the rich and this definitely contributed to rising prices. Being a tiny republic with a stable government, there’s no surprise that even airspace is chargeable. The government issued property measures affecting foreigners to quell the hot market, to prevent a market crash in the event of an interest rate rise by the Feds.Even with plenty of new apartment condos under construction i.e. plenty of supply, prices are not going down as expected.

What’s your opinion of mega churches running themselves as businesses? Are we prudes to suggest that religion and money be kept separate? Or should churches be allowed to operate on financial consideration because it serves the greater good and allows them to spread the gospel on a much wider level? After all, people are attracted to money and anything that allows us to spread the word of God is a good thing, right?


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