Jump directly to the content
Piano Lessons at Church
Piano Lessons at Church
Can our organist offer private music lessons on church grounds?

Question:
Our church is currently interviewing for an organist position. The salary we can provide is only half-time and one of the candidates, looking for more income, requested permission to give lessons at the church using the piano and organ. The interview committee was intrigued by the idea as a potential ministry to the community, but the personnel committee is more wary, wondering about the implications of this type of arrangement. Would it be unwise for our church to grant this candidate's request?

Answer:
There are two possible solutions to your situation. First, your church may offer organ/piano lessons to the community as part of its educational programs. The church could set and collect the fees for the lessons from the students. This may generate additional income so that your church can afford to hire the organist to a full-time position.

It is important to note that your church may not allow any individual to use church assets to further their private business without fair compensation to the church. In practice, the church could rent the organ/piano to the individual and allow that person to give lessons using church assets. Essentially, as long as the rent charged equals fair market value, then the church can authorize the private use of church assets. However, this arrangement will generate unrelated business income and may cause the church to lose its property tax exemption on the rented asset. I do not recommend this option.

Article Preview

This article is currently available to ChurchLawAndTax.com subscribers only. To continue reading:

View All
from our store
The 2019 State of Church Compensation Report

The 2019 State of Church Compensation Report

Data and statistics about the state of church compensation in the U.S. for 2019.
Church Compensation

Church Compensation

Learn the many pieces of employee compensation so you're in compliance with government guidelines and your ministry staff is properly cared for.
Understanding Unrelated Business Income

Understanding Unrelated Business Income

Richard Hammar explains how to compute and report unrelated business income.
Setting a Pastor's Pay

Setting a Pastor's Pay

Richard Hammar explains legal and tax matters for planning the pastors compensation.

ChurchSalary

ChurchSalary

Experience a whole new way to set compensation. Eliminate the guesswork – get access to detailed compensation reports in just minutes.