10 Ways Churches Can Get Through the Economic Downturn
It’s not always easy or pleasant to talk about money. As a church, we often want to put our trust in God that He will provide in such a time of need … but the reality is, the church needs money to continue to operate.
We surveyed subscribers about how Covid-19 is affecting their budgets and how they are adjusting as a church family. We thank so many of you who quickly responded to the survey.
While we celebrated the news that many churches have not been affected by this recent pandemic or tithing and offering are up for a handful … our hearts hurt for the many churches that are struggling during this time.
Therefore, we wanted to compile and share a list of ideas from the survey results to help you with your church’s finances during this trying time.
Ways that Churches have Cut Expenses
It’s always a blessing when your church has already created a rainy-day fund for emergencies such as this. But what if your church does not have a rain-day fund or surplus resources?
Here are a few things churches have told us they are doing:
- Turn down the heat (or air conditioning). Several churches commented that they were cutting the use of utilities as much as they can, especially when many are still not able to meet in church.
- Adjust the budget to include only essential things, such as a mortgage, payroll, food bank, utilities and other important work the church is doing through the ministry. But it may be time to suspend Sunday school books that are not able to be used or do a less expensive VBS option. Of course, it won’t be easy or pleasant to drop or reduce spending on certain things. But look at it as a temporary measure.
- Seek permission from your congregation to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan. This will help cover the expenses of your pastors and church staff who are working overtime and learning so many new things. Note: The deadline to apply for a PPP loan is June 30, 2020.
- Reach out to your deacons, Sunday school teachers, or other able members about making phone calls or mailing cards to isolated members. With high school out early and kids home from college, reach out to your responsible youth to see if they’d be willing to deliver groceries or drop off packets to children.
- Try to reduce printed communications and paperwork in favor of electronic media — email, notices on the church website, phone calls, etc. — sending paper communications only to those who are not electronically plugged in.
One subscriber told us, “Keeping our employees and their salaries are of utmost importance. We are also maintaining outreach funds, with the addition of financial help for some in the congregation who are unemployed.” So, it’s important that your church is on the same page on what is essential and what is not before making any cuts.
Ways Members Can Continue Giving
For some church members, there is little or no change to their income, but for others, the changes have been drastic. So, not everyone may be able to continue their giving as before. But for those who can, what do you do when they can’t drop an offering envelope into the collection plate?
- Add a digital offering/tithing tool to your church’s website if it doesn’t already have one.
- If your worship services are streamed, include a time to address the importance of tithes and offerings and give thanks for them. Include the address of the church’s website on the screen so members can make a digital offering there.
- Encourage members to set up some form of recurring payment either through a bank’s automatic bill-pay or via PayPal.
- To accommodate those who still prefer to write checks, add a drop slot at the church where members can drop off offering envelopes. Make sure it’s in a secure place.
- And, of course, there’s still the good old U.S. mail. Checks can be mailed to the church or directly to the church treasurer.
The Church Is Not Just the Building
It has been so inspiring to see so many churches quickly work together to adapt to this new situation. One subscriber told us they were giving more to missions than before because it’s needed desperately. That’s just amazing.
Despite all the hardship and burden, no matter your church’s financial situation, one thing holds true: Nothing can separate us from the Love of God and our desire to worship Him.
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