COVID19 Immediate Steps for Your Church’s SurvivalMark Brooks
I chose this headline, “COVID19 Immediate Steps for Your Church’s Survival,” because unless you act and act quickly, your church might not survive. If you think I am melodramatic, let’s do some simple math.
Most American churches will be closed for at least four weeks. Some in the harder hit areas will be closed for as much as eight to twelve weeks. Let’s say you are blessed, and you only miss four weeks. Essentially you have lost one month’s worth of offerings. The reality is, you will never make up the amount you lost.
What about online giving? Online giving will help minimize your lost offerings but, it will not in and of itself secure your future. My church receives 75% of its offerings in some sort of digital format. Assuming that all 75% of that is recurring giving, something that is doubtful. That still leaves a 25% gap that comes in through means no longer available to the closed doors of my church. My church leaders should be thinking of how to manage a decline in giving of at least 25%.
If you think it is bad now, wait until the layoffs start! As I write this, we are about halfway through the 15 days the President asked Americans to limit their activities. This has already caused layoffs in various industries, such as the food and service industry. That couple in your church who owns the Subway franchise is now wondering not simply can they keep their business, but can they keep their home? Even if they tithed on their incomes, when there is no income, there will be no tithe!
Do I have your attention? Consider this: one of my clients has an operating budget of just over $500K. The first Sunday of mandated closures they took in $500. A typical weekly offering is around $10,000. Last Sunday, they took in through online giving, people dropping off checks, etc., $3,800. You probably have a similar story. The longer this goes the more danger you have of not be able to keep going. So,
Here is my immediate advice for churches:
- Cut spending. Immediately all non-essential spending should be frozen in place.
- Cut your budget. You are not going to hit your budget numbers. Why keep a budget that is impossible to meet?
- Turn the thermostat down! Seriously, have you reset the thermostat throughout your now-empty buildings? My point is to eliminate any waste possible. Even minor things can save you money.
- Think 30, 60, 90, 120 days out! Right now, you need to think about survival. The next few weeks and months will be the worst. You have to take care of the immediate, but don’t lose sight of the future.
- Protect your Assets! Your facilities are a vital asset not only for doing ministry today but for securing a stable financial future for your church. If you have a loan, do whatever you need to do to stay current on that loan.
Take action, NOW! What you do today will potentially save your future ministry if you follow the five steps above.
Here are a couple of recent webinars that I held on how to respond to the COVID19 virus.
- In this session I share early on what churches should be doing, https://youtu.be/wASesfV5WM0
- Here I share advice on how to keep connected via live streaming interviewing Tim Drury of Christ Church a leading Facebook Live Streaming church, https://youtu.be/kZ7OhO-Cun0
- In this session, I interview church lending expert Dennis Moses on COVID19’s impact on church relations with banks, https://youtu.be/6DhhxBs1NXQ
My advice for every church is to pray for the best and be prepared for the worst!
Let me know if I can help you. My personal email address is firstname.lastname@example.org Let’s get started on assuring the future stability of your church!
Mark Brooks – The Stewardship Coach.