5 Tips for Handling Church Finances During a Crisis

1. Prioritize Your Spending.

No one really enjoys having to re-budget during a time when resources seem scarce, but that is exactly what must be done in a time of crisis. Your finances should reflect the change in culture, where people are going, and what are the core needs for the time.

Prioritizing your spending can look like a lot of different things. One of the biggest strategies to implement during a time like this is to not be afraid to make hard decisions.

Financially, it could mean not starting a church campaign that you were planning on doing. It could also mean letting some staff go. It could be rearranging finances to reflect the new priorities. However it looks, have the courage to make the necessary decisions to steward your finances well.

Create a new budget for your ministry and pick the priorities. This will help with making those hard decisions. Prayerfully consider what the priorities should be in a time of crisis (such as the present). Tangibly seeing where your church’s finances are going helps hold accountability and “gives each dollar a name;” give each dollar a purpose even before it’s spent.

2. Invest in a Social Media Strategy.

One way to encourage giving is to stay connected with your congregation. Just because you and your church don’t meet at a physical location at present doesn’t mean they aren’t able to honor God with their first fruits.

It’s not about money. God provides in every season, especially in times of crisis. However, as spiritual leaders, we need to remind people not to panic and that honoring God should fall to the wayside even though there are issues going on in the world. However, you can’t effectively communicate that to your community without having a relationship first.

Stay connected to your community and keep them up to date on everything happening within the ministry. People long to be a part of something bigger than themselves.

Invest in Facebook and Instagram ads to invite more people to your online service. You can create social media graphics that your congregant members can share and invite their friends.

Investing in social media keeps your community alive, even through a digital platform. Since you and your congregation can’t meet in person, now is a great time to invest in social media and connect with everyone digitally.

In the end, it’s all about relationships. So, once you show that you are invested in your congregation’s lives, you are freed up to use your online presence to encourage people to give.

You can learn more about staying connected with your community online by checking out our blog How Churches Can Prepare to Go Mobile.

3. Lean on Your Community.

To help with your finances, look to your sister churches and organizations. Build authentic partnerships with other churches and organizations so you can all lean on each other during times of crisis.

There are larger churches and other organizations that will partner with your church to help fund and care for each other in times of need.

People also love giving to a greater cause. Use partnerships to inspire people to invest back into their communities. Don’t let the panic make anyone less generous, and don’t let it prevent people from reaching out to others.

By setting an example of reaching out as a church and partnering with other churches and organizations, you will inspire your congregation to do the same.

4. Lean on Your FPA.

If you have started a for-profit arm, this would be an excellent time to lean into your business for financial support.

A church-owned business creates an entirely independent source of revenue from just tithes and offerings.

The church owns the business by owning the business’s shares of stock. As the business makes money, the church receives payment in the form of dividends.

What dividends the church receives is tax-free to the church. So leaning on your for-profit arm during a time of financial scarcity is a good support to have.

Look to your documents and shares you have purchased to see how your for-profit arm can continue generating income for you.

5. Apply for Grants and Local Opportunities.

Your church or ministry can also look into grants for another financial resource. While grants are specifically designed for nonprofit ministries, there are denominations and organizations out there who desire to support both churches and nonprofit ministries.

While we don’t recommend debt, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is potential for receiving a loan in different states for small businesses and non-profits. Find out if your ministry or for-profit arm qualifies by researching here.

First published on startCHURCH.com. Used by permission.

Christine Bové
Christine Bové

Christine Bové works on StartCHURCH’s Care Team. Every day, she serves on the front lines of customer service and helps out with the Tech Support Team. She is passionate about helping pastors make their dreams of starting a church come true.