Why the downfall of retail could be perfect for churches
Phil Cooke

Phil Cooke

Everyone is lamenting how Amazon and other online retailers are destroying traditional retailing in America – specifically when it comes to brick and mortar stores like Barnes & Noble, Sears, Kmart, JCPenny, and others. But the truth is the shift from retail stores to online could be a huge plus for churches and ministry organizations. I’ve recently visited churches that used to be shopping malls, corporate retreat centers, big box stores, car dealerships and more, and today are thriving.

In Las Vegas, Nevada I recently talked with my longtime friend Benny Perez, pastor of the ChurchLV who’s transforming a Kmart building into a new sanctuary. Here’s what Benny said about the experience:

“We decided to buy a 90,000 square foot KMART Building 3 minutes from the Las Vegas airport for our second campus. After looking at buying land and building from the ground up we realized the cost factor was too great. So we began to look for big box buildings which we knew we could build for half the cost of building. We got an amazing deal on a piece of property and after doing our due diligence we purchased the building. We will have a state of the art campus with all the parking we need because of the building being in a shopping center. So it was a no brainer based on cost, parking, build out and visibility. The church also gave more readily to a building they could already see and with renderings, we were able to raise millions of dollars. I encourage every Pastor to look for buildings in your city you can buy as big box stores are going out of business.”

Pastor Benny Perez has it right. Someone once said that when the economy struggles, it’s too late to advertise. The same may be true of facilities. Always be looking at unusual places, because I’ve seen over and over again how God used an unusual building to help a church grow.


Phil Cooke, Ph.D. is a producer and media consultant to churches and ministries across the country. His latest book is “The Way Back: How Christians Blew Their Credibility and How We Get It Back.” Find out more at www.philcooke.com.

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