The governments’ shut down of churches has had a profound impact on the church and ministries.
Some churches have shut down and are closed forever.
Some ministries are closed forever.
Some churches have been hit harder than others.
The pandemic shutdown has had a short-term impact on all. But, regardless of size or theology, a long-term financial impact, as well.
Here are 12 things you should know…and, three things you can do.
- How bad is it?
- Most churches have experienced not just a downturn in donations, but a big decline in giving.
- 5-10% of smaller churches will be closed by July while, 5% of larger churches will be in bankruptcy or near bankruptcy by July or August.
- Overall, every church will be financially impacted by the end of December 2020 due to a decline of 30-50% less giving this year over last year.
- 1/4 to 1/3 of all churches operate on little or no reserves.
- For example, one mega church just laid-off over 400 employees.
- Those churches who received the government PPP money will have income for employees, rent and a small amount of overhead. But those funds should be gone by June or July.
- Regardless of church size, if a church does not have a big reserve, it is suffering.
- One Hispanic Church – Ebenezer – averaged $1,500.00 in offering a week prior to the pandemic. Now, post-pandemic, it is receiving around $10.00 per week.
- Its estimated 10,000 – 20,000 churches will close their doors for good. Thousands of pastors will likely need a job outside the church while still pastoring their fellowship, like a complete restart.
- All churches have been hit financially because of giving habits.
Surviving churches today must offer online giving. Many have learned quickly, but with under 50% of the churches offering online giving before the pandemic, and for those churches who did, almost 80-90% of tithes and offerings still came during a worship service.
- Some churches have been hurt more than others.
- Those with bloated staffs, heavy debt, and massive programs are hit the hardest.
- Those who did not get the government PPP funds to pay employees, mortgages and overhead are in a massive crisis.
- Those churches whose members are hit hardest by the massive unemployment and bankruptcies will feel the financial decline – big time.
- What pastors and churches are doing?
- Pastors have cut their salaries, their staff, and ministries. They have tried new things and been very creative. Including encouraging their fellowship, who do not want to give or trust giving online to drive by and drop off their offering at church.
- Merging with another church or becoming a satellite campus.
- Transforming into a house church, expansion of home bible ministries.
- Closing ministries and schools.
- The median annual church budget in the United States is only $125,000 dollars, leaving little room for even a small decline in giving.
- Churches need to be open and honest.
- Most churches have been hurt, some paralyzed. But the body of Christ doesn’t really know it. The pastor has been silent.
- The time for telling the truth is now.
- The time to ask the fellowship for financial help is now.
- Normally, those pastors who ask for help see a 73% increase in revenue.
- With an annual budget of $10 million dollars, Carmel Baptist Church, located in a largely suburban area of North Carolina has 5,000 members and on any pre-pandemic Sunday, averaged 2, 500 worshippers (primarily professionals).
- Before the pandemic, 50% of the church revenue was collected on Sunday morning with another 35% collected via mail-in tithes, and 15% online giving. Post-pandemic, the overall giving has declined, and collection has reversed. Online giving is now at 45% and, another 15% sent by mail. With all online pandemic efforts, its recovery is dependent upon the church reopening… the church is in one of the lockdown states with a hostile governor.
- The Financial Reality.
There will be some inevitable trends because of the shutdown.
- Wealthy churches usually have reserves…and they will be able to recover faster and increase ministry and outreach.
- Smaller, struggling churches, with less than 300 members, will see less ministry and outreach – and, many may cease operations completely.
- Those same smaller churches have a huge advantage to survive and grow…if the fellowship steps-up and the church is not in debt.
Because they have less fixed debt for capital projects, less maintenance needs, and a leaner staff who operate with less income.
- When will the church recover financially?
- Recovery will come largely when the congregation is able to return to their church as before.
- Recovery in the church will be linked to the coming economic recovery. Jobs, new businesses, income growth – all leading to financial growth personally and for the church.
- And, church recovery is dependent on how well a church cuts what it doesn’t need.
This could be 12-24 months. Let’s pray sooner.
What do you think? Email me at Craig@ElectionForum.org.