Recently a pastor asked me for a copy of my church’s building use policy. At first I did not understand the question. Then I got it. Trouble is that my church has never found a need for an elaborate written policy when it comes to various groups using our facilities.

Basically, you pay us to clean up for you or put down a deposit if you are not directly church-sponsored. This is so that we have control over cleanliness, an issue that dogs us continually with outside groups (and youth ministry groups). If your group is for-profit, you pay a building use fee that is below market for comparable space (Board of Realtors conventions, Lowes Employee Training, Mediacom (cablevision) staff meetings, etc). If your group is related to a public school (everything from prom to band concerts to middle school graduation), you get the building free of charge. Another church worshipped in our building free of charge for several months. I can think of only two instances where we have refused the request to use our building. One was a Bible study group where we had concerns about what they intended to teach. The other was a “for pay” children’s tumbling program that was not within the vision/mission of our “for pay” recreation ministries. That’s about it.

Church sponsored activities get first dibs at space usage. Beyond that, almost anybody can use our building. We clean the carpets several times a year and repaint the whole building annually. Our goal is to have about ten thousand people through our doors over the course of a year. If we can do that, a few hundred newcomers always seem to find their way back on Sunday.

–Paul Nixon