How Do Churches Make Money? (14+ Bona Fide Sources)

Many people wonder how do churches make money?

What are their main sources of income?

The answer is not as simple as it first appears.


  •  Tithe and offerings are the primary sources of income for many churches. The congregation gives an offering or a tithe (percentage of their income). 
  •  Churches may also rent additional space for special events and businesses to generate more income.
  •  Collecting an online donation from members is another method to generate additional income. Donations from people anywhere in the world using online donation formats and platforms (online giving for churches).
  •  Some churches may choose to generate funding through special events and fundraisers. This fundraising activity may include providing a product or a service (baked goods, silent auctions)  or even creating a family-oriented festival or a sing a thon.
  • Churches also make additional money by encouraging missionaries and sponsorships. 
  • Today churches are using unique ideas and technology to further their cause. 

We will explore in-depth details about how churches make money and offset running costs related to operations to support the funding of church-related activities and goals.


What are the main sources of income?

Churches are non profit organizations so what is their source of income?

This section explains tithes and offerings, online collections and renting out space.

How do Churches make money through tithes and offerings? 

Churches make money from their members or the congregation by collecting offerings or tithes.

An offering is money donated by members, an amount they feel they can manage. There is no set amount requested when a church collects offerings from individuals. 

However, a tithe is when the congregation members pledge a percentage of their net income — usually 10% or more.

Each church has its practices for collecting money from its members but may also take both types of funds to ensure they can keep their churches up and running. 

Some churches may collect their tithes by automatically drafting from an individual’s checking or savings account but may also accept payments in person during a church service. 

How do Churches collect money online? 

A church can collect online donations in various ways on the internet.

One of the most effective ways to gather online donations is by posting the websites for the church and a payment portal to relevant content and bulletin boards across the internet.

For example, they may post links inserted into blogs about their church or religion to various third-party sites. Some methods they may use can include the following. 

  • PayPal 
  • Funding platforms
  • Primary website landing pages
  • Through affiliates of the church
  • Text to give campaign

They may also post-physical materials such as fliers and cards throughout a city or area with a link to their website that collects donations.

Some may even use collection platforms to reach individual goals for the church, such as building a new youth room or purchasing a new church van for the elderly or youth groups. 

Occasionally a church may post a video or other promotional or recruitment videos with methods for donating online to help support their cause. 

How does renting space help churches create income? 

Churches may have property they aren’t using most of the time.

Deciding to rent the space to others depends on how large the space is and how often it is used. For example a large room connected to the main building, they may be rented for specific events such as weddings, reunions, or other similar gatherings. 

If the space is large but separate from the church and not needed for operations, they may rent it to businesses in the area to help pay for their mortgage, raise money or other bills that make up the bulk of their debt.

Since a church is like a regular business, it makes sense to have investment properties to help generate steady income.

Note though that churches rarely rent out space to private tenants due to a conflict of interest, multiple considerations, and potential liabilities. 

What types of events or fundraisers help Churches collect funds? 

A church can use many events or fundraiser ideas to generate substantial sums of money to achieve its goals.

One of the most traditional and fun ways religious organizations collect money is with local carnivals. Many members of the community look forward to the church carnivals each year.

A single event like this can generate substantial funds to assist with bills and other necessities for the church. There are also food-related events, barbecues and fish fry gatherings that can help with providing funds for projects and regular expenses. 

Sometimes a church may rely on a fundraiser propelled by the church members to accumulate additional local funds.

Like a school, a church may sell particular items or services to community members. Some examples would be selling handmade items supplied by the members, especially for fundraising.

They may also sell food products or provide a service to the community, such as a car wash, yard service, and much more. 

How do Churches make money from Missionaries and sponsors? 

The churches can sponsor individuals to go forth on their behalf to promote their cause.

The church can internationalize its members in new countries, groups, or activities. These individuals can spread their faith and help encourage others to donate to the cause so they can continue their work and help the church increase in size and membership.

Many large mega churches will have missionaries worldwide spreading the word and working to further the cause. 

What are some other unique ways churches generate income? 

One of the newest methods for generating funds is using text to give campaigns.

They rely on the convenience and simplicity of donating via text offers. Church members are more inclined to give when they take all the guesswork and hassle out of the donation process.

As an alternative, rather than log into a platform or website, they can text a word or number and automatically donate a particular amount, usually at a lower monetary value to encourage more people to give. 

Some local churches may even have shirt fundraising with fun or funny prints to encourage sales or similar promotional items such as pens, candles, activewear, and much more. Shirt fundraising can be a lot of fun and help the church raise funds at the same time.

 Sometimes they may even have a talent show or similar events, such as a concert on the church grounds, to encourage donations and to raise funds through vendor sales or retail booths located at the event. 

How do small churches make money?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as each church has its own unique set of circumstances and resources to raise funds.

However, some common ways that small churches, like their larger counterparts,  make money include holding baked goods sales, sing a thon, silent auctions, car washes, and rummage sales; renting out their facilities for weddings, parties, and other events; and soliciting donations from members and the community. 

Another way small churches can generate revenue is by offering services such as daycare, after-school programs, and seniors’ programs.

These services not only provide a source of income for the church, but also allow it to serve its community and meet the needs of its members. 

Ultimately, the best way for a small church to raise money is to identify its unique strengths and resources and then find creative ways to leverage them to generate revenue.

How do Mega Churches make money?

A mega church is a large, vibrant church that is usually led by a celebrity pastor and has a very active and engaged congregation. These churches often have multiple locations and offer a wide variety of programs and services including live streaming of events.

mega church

Some well-known mega churches include: 

Mega churches make and raise money by attracting a large number of churchgoers, either at the local church or via live streaming.

A mega church as a religious organization (non profit organization) can generate significant revenue from tithe and offerings, sing-a-thon, merchandise sales, text to give campaign, online giving for churches and other donations.

Additionally, some mega churches own or operate businesses, which can generate additional income.

Some churches also offer financial counseling or other services that generate sources of income. Additionally, some mega churches rent out their substantial facilities for events, which can also generate revenue. 

Do churches pay tax?

Churches are generally exempt from paying taxes. This includes state and federal taxes.

However, some churches may pay taxes if they are considered to be political organizations or if they are not considered true churches by the IRS. 

The IRS states: “The term church includes religious orders and ministries of all religious faiths. It includes synagogues, temples, and mosques. It also includes an integrated auxiliary of a church, such as a men’s or women’s organization, a religious school, a mission society, or a youth group.  The income of a church or religious organization may be exempt from federal income tax if it meets the requirements of section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.”

In order for a church to be exempt from taxes, it must meet certain requirements.

  • The church must have a recognized creed and form of worship.
  • The church must also have a definite and distinct ecclesiastical government.
  • The church must also be independently of any other church.
  • Lastly, the church must be engaged in activities that are exclusive to religious purposes. 

While churches are typically exempt from paying taxes, they may be required to pay taxes on income that is unrelated to their religious purposes. For example, if a church owns a for-profit business, the church would be required to pay taxes on the income from that business. 

Final thoughts

Churches and religious organisations are non profit organizations.

Churches main sources of income come through various endeavors such as tithing and offerings, renting space, or even through events and sponsorship programs. Collecting money helps them maintain their church and properties and reach their goals for themselves and the congregations.

Every church has its preferred methods for raising money, however.

Some smaller, more conservative churches may shy away from online donations or significant events to raise money. These churches may rely solely on their community and their congregation for support.

While some churches are relatively conservative, many are more modern, integrate with novel campaigners and events, and use the latest technology and convenient option to collect money for events and donations.

It’s also worth mentioning that churches aren’t taxed on their income from these sources, so it helps them make their income go further in their endeavors. 

If you have ever wondered how Nuns and Deacons get paid read on.

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