Church Finances And COVID-19

By: Darrell Cox
Cornerstone Conference Treasurer

In this time of crisis, the church has a significant opportunity to be the light of hope in our communities.  To be that light we are going to have to rethink ways of creatively ministering to both the church body and those in our localities.  This will require a renewed vision, extraordinary creativity, and a willingness to do things differently.  It may also require a different approach to finances.  Churches across the country have already been financially impacted by the stay at home orders issued by government authorities.  Losing the ability to gather on Sundays has made it difficult to gather tithes and offerings, and many people have decreased or stopped their giving due to a loss in wages or fear of an unknown future.  Below are a few practices church leaders can utilize to help pivot and reposition the church to not only survive, but stay strong as we walk through this unprecedented time.

  1. Encourage Online Giving

If you are already set up for online giving, you have a head start in weathering whatever the COVID-19 storm brings.  If you are not yet there, explore this practical and nearly essential option.  There are several reliable vendors you can use; Easy Tithe, PushPay, Paypal, and several others.  In your online worship experiences, encourage individuals to begin giving online if they do not already do so.  If some members of your church prefer not to give online, or if online giving just isn’t an option for them, encourage them to continue giving by mailing their gifts to the church.

2. Consider Applying For CARES Act Funds

The IPHC is encouraging its churches to look into the Payroll Protection Program, a Small Business Administration loan provided for by the CARES Act.  This low interest loan will provide up to 10 weeks salary for your employees.  The loan can be forgiven, or turned into a grant after 8 weeks if the church keeps all its employees, uses the funds for approved costs, and meets other minimal requirements.  Contact your local bank to apply for this loan.  

If you are unable to obtain Payroll Protection Funds, your church may be eligible for an Employee Retention Credit which is also provided for in the CARES Act.

You may want to let givers in your church know the CARES Act also encourages Americans to contribute to churches in 2020 by permitting taxpayers to deduct up to $300 of cash contributions, whether they itemize their deductions or not.

Find more information by clicking on the following links below:

3.  Communicate The Church’s Financial Need

This is the time to share with the church family what the church is doing (or will be doing) to practically serve the community, and to invite them to partner in the mission.  Communicate financial needs clearly through the church website, email and newsletters, the church’s social media channels, during online worship services, and in any other way you typically communicate to church members.

4.  Be Sensitive To Those Who Have Lost Income

For some members of your church, the present COVID-19 crisis will not affect their incomes.  Some will be even be offered the opportunity to work at home, but not everyone will be in that situation.  Some will see their income seriously affected by cutbacks or furloughs.  As you encourage your church family to give, be careful to convey sensitivity in your communications.

5.  Reduce Spending

Reduce unnecessary spending with the realization that money not spent is money reserved for future needs or emergencies.  Take a fresh look at the church budget.  You may want to reduce or eliminate entirely budgeted expenses that may seem not so vital now.  If you do not have a church budget, now is the time to establish one.  There are many helpful online articles to assist you with budgeting, such as this one by PushPay: Push Pay Blog – How to create a church budget.  

Additional Financial Resource for Churches: Pushpay

1. Giving platform: our platform can handle all forms of giving, including digital, and cash/check. We make it “Amazon-easy” for people to give. No logins and no passwords are required, and our digital giving can be reached by a text code, the church website, or from the church’s app. (click here to see a quick example of our giving)

2. Church app: we provide a fully customizable church app that can house live streaming, video, event registration and payment, devotional content, Bible study ready plans, and the ability to give quickly(click here to see an overview of our app)

3. Administrative tools: our administrative tools are used by churches as a complete financial database, including analytics/reporting, campaigns, and giving statements(click here to see a brief overview of our administrative tools)

For churches with an average worship attendance of 200 or less, our Core package (includes everything described above) is $200/month.