The ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated stay-at-home orders are causing ministry leaders worldwide to think differently about how we do church, manage financial affairs and communicate with congregation members and partners. Here are some of the emerging themes and lessons learned in the wake of current events.
The importance of payroll records
The CARES Act Stimulus package offers a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and the application process illustrates the importance of managing church payroll correctly. There are several unique rules that govern ministry compensation and the classification of taxable income. Knowledge of these rules are essential for ministries to successfully apply for PPP and similar forms of aid.
Passing the plate electronically
Social distancing and sanitization are quite possibly the new normal in ministry environments. This will undoubtedly impact the way donors approach the offering plate. The physical handling of “dirty dollars” presents concerns for congregation members, church staff members and volunteers. This new reality underscores the importance of electronic giving platforms and the way that these technologies will impact donation trends into the future.
Paying bills electronically
The Foursquare bylaws contain a dual signature requirement for all payments by check. However, a few years ago the bylaws were amended with provisions for electronic methods of payment that maintain strong checks and balances, and to protect churches from the potential of fraud or mismanagement. Now more than ever, it is incumbent upon church leaders to learn how to transact ministry business electronically while maintaining strong accountability measures over church resources.
New ways to send urgent updates to church members
Several ministry communities have been forced to become flexible with meeting times and locations, and they often lack an easy way to communicate to congregation and team members. There are several new software solutions that use text messaging services and distribution lists as a way to easily provide last minute updates.
Applying for Paycheck Protection loan forgiveness
The U.S. Department of the Treasury and Small Business Administration recently released guidance on how to apply for PPP loan forgiveness. The central office administration team has put together a resource kit and webinar to help church leaders navigate the intricacies of this process. These resources will be updated as new information becomes available.
Navigating the labyrinth of CARES Act programs
For many church leaders, it has been difficult to sift through the labyrinth of different stimulus programs, labor law updates, and loan options currently available. Many of these forms of aid overlap, some are mutually exclusive or have specific limitations and applicability within the ministry context. This guide outlines the most relevant forms of aid for religious employers along with the advantages, disadvantages, exclusions and FAQs for each program.
Administrative Tips, Tricks and Picks
- Foursquare Guide for Reopening Churches
- Gallagher Insurance – Foursquare Insurance Program Guide on returning to the workplace
- Recording of insurance webinar presented by Gallagher Insurance
- Centers for Disease Control (CDC) – guidelines on cleaning community buildings
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