The COVID-19 pandemic is having an economic side that is being quite devastating for many communities across the United States. That also applies to many evangelical churches as well. Recently Christ Community Church an EFCA church in the Kansas City and Kansas area sent out an email to the congregation discussing the economic challenges the church is facing and how they place to face them.
“ Bad times have a scientific value. These are occasions a good learner would not miss.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”[a]
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:55-57 NIV
In the COVID-19 pandemic many churches are being hit hard by the economic affects on the economy. Writing a blog that looks at the EFCA its interesting to watch how different churches react to the situation in Pennsylvania, Kansas, California or Minnesota and elsewhere. The COVID-19 pandemic is revealing much about the dark sides of evangelicalism. I see that in some of the pleas in how some places are responding .You can read more about what the COVID-19 pandemic is going to reveal in, “How the COVID-19 Pandemic is Going to Reveal the Dark Flaws and Systemic Issues of Evangelical Christianity.”
At Christ Community Church in Kansas City and the nearby Kansas the EFCA church has started to address the financial strains that are taking place. Their method appears to be respectful and understanding of the economic challenges going on. How a church responds to financial issues will tell you quite a bit about the character of the place. What I appreciate about the email below is how the organization is discussing ways in which it is trying to respond to the situation. That includes re-negotiating loans, talking with land lords and getting rent relief and more. In other situations what I tend to see is an email asking people to give more or to step up for those who cannot. I don’t see that happening at Christ Community Church. Please feel free to read and discuss the email below and share your thoughts.
Dear Christ Community Family,
These past few weeks, across our campuses and our multisite office, we have seen great creativity and flexibility among our staff. Regardless of what they are “delivering” they have had to determine new ways to do it. Thank you to all. Well done!
Now that you are becoming a bit more comfortable with this strange new routine, you may have begun to wonder about the church finances. At the same time our country is fighting a pandemic battle, so is it fighting an economic battle. Some of our congregation have been hit with reduced hours, some with loss of employment, some with loss of savings, and perhaps equally important, all have been hit with lack of certainty. As you might expect, giving for the month of March is well below normal and we do not want to hide that from anyone. Although it is too early to project that revenue will be down by x% for x months, as we read the numerous forecasts from financial institutions, it is clear adjustments need to be made.
Thus far, we have negotiated discounts from vendors, have received rent relief from two of our leased facilities, and have initiated a lower cost of money on our construction loan. We have turned our utility costs down and we have imposed some immediate cost-cutting measures such as no travel. We are also closely following all of the federal legislation that may have a favorable impact on the church.
In addition to the cost-saving measures invoked, we also want you to know that even though our revenue is down, due to the past generosity of our congregation and fiscal prudence, we have cash reserves that will help our staying power.
Despite that “rainy day fund” we still need your support. Although we have cut back on expenses, your giving is still vital. In no way do we want to be insensitive to the tumult that has hit some of you, but we also want you to be aware of the need. In addition to a desire to care for our current staff, we anticipate even greater needs within our congregation and communities. We want to be prepared as a church to be as generous as possible. If you are able, please consider the various online ways to give. The U.S. postal service works as well.
As a staff, we are committed to being wise with our resources. We will be making more changes as needed and will keep you informed as we navigate the days ahead.
There is no better time to be the Church. This is a great opportunity as our country and our world are reeling. We are already seeing more and more people turning to our online services. In fact, assuming that there are multiple people watching during each view, our (virtual) attendance is larger than what our physical attendance was!
Remember that the Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. (Psalm 9:9) We are so grateful you are such a faithful, committed, and generous congregation.
|We love you.
Nathan Miller, Senior Pastor
Tom Nelson, Lead Senior Pastor
Mark Askins, Senior Executive Pastor