We are living in an unprecedented time. Because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, people are losing their jobs and can’t give like they used to. With a number of churches already struggling to pay the bills, many leaders are having to rethink their financial strategies. Perhaps you’re wondering if you’ll be able to keep the church running. Or even if you’ll have a position with that congregation much longer.
The days ahead are uncertain, but God, in His sovereignty, has called you to complete the work He has set before you. So how should you approach the difficult financial decisions you need to make for yourself and your church?
Seek God’s Guidance
First, breathe. Examine your heart and acknowledge your fears and concerns. Whatever they are, they’re valid in the face of a worldwide pandemic. But then take a moment to remind yourself that God is still in control. He knew you’d have to face this challenge, equipped you for it, and promised to walk with you through it. Seek Him in His Word each day and ask Him to meet your needs as well as provide for the needs of your congregation in miraculous ways.
Be Honest with Your People
Don’t be tempted to carry this burden alone. Share the financial challenges you’re facing with your church leaders. Even if this crisis has brought to light some of your own financial weaknesses or unwise decisions, be humble and admit your mistakes and shortcomings. Ask others who have proven themselves to be good stewards to provide wisdom and advice, for “he who heeds counsel is wise” (Proverbs 12:15).
Make the Hard Decisions
Once you’ve examined your financial situation and consulted with leadership, it’s time to come up with a plan of action. It might not be pretty. You may have to suspend certain ministries, institute a hiring freeze, lay off staff, or postpone building programs. If you can, favor incremental savings over major cuts. But do what needs to be done to stay out of debt and protect your church for the long haul.
Look for Opportunities
Don’t be so caught up in the challenges that you don’t see the opportunities that are before you. What ministry does this hardship make possible for you and your community? How can you foster community during this time? Here are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing:
- Host a “drive-in” church service.
- Send out weekly family devotions.
- Have groups watch Bible studies on Right Now Media and discuss it within a Facebook or Realm group.
- Livestream a prayer service.
- Support local food pantries.
“We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose,” said the Apostle Paul (Romans 8:28). So keep an eye out for the good He is calling you to do.
Let People Help
You’re not alone in the challenges you’re facing. There are people who are listening to God and willing to meet the financial needs that He is placing before them. And He has equipped them and called them for such a time as this. So, make giving easy. Post links to your online giving platform and mailing address. If possible, create a simple graphic to direct congregants on how they can continue to give generously during these unusual times.
The Lord is not limited by social distancing and there are opportunities He is bringing to light to those who seek Him first. While you might have to make some painful decisions right now, know that God will be with you as you act in ways that will glorify Him.