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Assets of a Church

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by saturneptune, Mar 24, 2012.

  1. saturneptune

    saturneptune New Member

    Jan 16, 2006
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    The thread about the SBC and its relationship to local churches got me to wondering about something. I know each church conducts its own business, as they are autonomous. However, I have always wondered what happens to the assets of a local church when they close down in most cases. the equity in the building, remaining balances in checking or savings accounts, etc? Also, in the opposite case, if the trustees put their signature on a loan to construct the chuch, are they personally liable if their is still a debt and the sale of the building does not cover the loan?

    I would guess the money would go to some kind of mission work, but again, I guess that is up to the membership.
  2. annsni

    annsni Administrator

    May 30, 2006
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    I think it depends on how the bylaws are written. There was a Baptist church in another town that got down to about 10 people each Sunday and it was decided to fold. They had sold off most of their assets to be able to pay the bills but there was nothing left but a small bank account that would soon be gone and the historic building so they approached us and asked if we would take it. We did and we started another campus there that now is doing pretty well. It was a little bit of a legal thing to transfer it but their bylaws allowed for it to be just given to another Baptist church without any financial or legal issues. So just a couple of trips to court to get the paperwork taken care of and the building and bank account are now ours.
  3. preachinjesus

    preachinjesus Well-Known Member
    Site Supporter

    Feb 9, 2004
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    Several churches I'm familiar with have closed and handled their assets differently. One of them was a prebyterian church so the assets immediately defaulted to the presbytery.

    Two of the others were autonomous churches, one part of the SBC the other not affiliated with a denomination. The SBC church sold their property to a developer; the remaining pews, chairs, and equipment were given to other churches. The proceeds went to retiring the final part of their debt, the rest given to the state convention for new church starts.

    The other church just sold their building, property, and everything in it to a growing church looking to relocate.

    I've never heard of the members or leaders of a congregation keeping the money. So I'd suspect it is a bit all of this.
  4. Salty

    Salty 20,000 Posts Club

    Apr 8, 2003
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    The SBC church I pastored closed down about two years ago.
    On the last Sunday we had a business meeting where we officially disbanded. We voted to give the furniture and other assets to another small SBC church. After paying all bills, we divided up the remainder of the cash on hand (about $750) to our local association, an extra gift to the Annie Armstrong Offering, the local Christian pregnancy center and to the Fla Bap Convention fund for the earthquake in Haiti. We left about $100 in the account in the event of anything unforeseen. After a full month (so we could balance the account) we closed the account, purchased a cashier check and gave that amount to the SBC church we as a group started attending. It was not a merger - but we informally agreed to attend the Lighthouse.


    PS - Two month later, Mrs Salty and I moved out of the city and we joined another SBC church

    Therefore, by disbanding we help two other small SBC churches grow.
  5. mont974x4

    mont974x4 New Member

    Jan 6, 2012
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    The government has a say as well. Typically for a non-profit to get approved as a non-profit they have to have something in their founding documents that say how they handle assets in the event of a dissolution. Remaining assets have to go to another non-profit.