Nonprofit Status at Risk?

Dear Kim,

Our church wants to let a licensed marriage and family counselor use our space to see clients. We would let him use the space if he will see some people we refer to him for no charge. (We cannot afford to pay him to work as a counselor at the church). Are we endangering the church’s 501(c)3 status by “renting” him space, since he is a “for-profit?”

Sincerely,
—Confused about the Law and the Prophets

Dear Confused,

Your tax status is in no danger from the economics of this arrangement. You are entitled to rent space in your church for real money — many religious institutions earn a good deal of income from rentals, either permanent or for temporary for special events. If you were to cease to be a church because you were so busy renting your space that you couldn’t hold services anymore, then you might be in trouble, but you are far from that scenario.
—Kim