The three church extension funds that provide loans to independent Christian churches and churches of Christ have been working to accommodate and help their partner churches during the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Solomon Foundation has thus far helped 34 churches secure $8.4 million in SBA Payroll Protection Program forgivable loans through its bank partnerships. TSF also initiated a special program for those unable to obtain PPP funds which has provided grants totaling more than $425,000 to 26 churches and organizations. (TSF and 13 partnering churches provided funds for this endeavor.)
Additionally, the TSF Tithe program disbursed $468,000 in annual grants in March and April to 178 partners. Solomon also has assisted 10 churches with loan deferrals totaling almost $700,000 and assisted 6 churches that temporarily have switched to interest-only payments during April and May.
TSF CEO Doug Crozier wrote that he is “humbled with gratitude in seeing God’s kingdom advance amidst a tumultuous time for many.”
Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, Church Development Fund has been providing resources for churches and church leaders via its website. Articles and blog postings have ranged from individual church success stories to simplifying your church’s finances to “Adapting to the New Normal.”
“Never in our history have we faced a time where every single church borrower on one weekend has been forced to cancel services without any clear prediction of when we can open up once again,” Dusty Rubeck, president of CDF Capital, said via video in April.
CDF’s signature response has been the CAP-19 Church Assistance Program, which provides up to six months of payment assistance for churches with mortgage or construction loans in good standing with CDF Capital. After reviewing an individual church’s financial contingency plan and application, CDF is offering to convert loan terms to either interest-only payments or a 33 percent reduction in payment amount for up to six months. CDF will distribute nearly $5 million in assistance to churches across the country through CAP-19, Rubeck said. More than 150 churches are eligible, and individual investors may participate.
Darren Key, CEO or Christian Financial Resources, said church giving has obviously been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. “At CFR, we are dedicated to helping our church partners by providing wise counsel, assisting with budget revisions, and offering interest-only loan payments when necessary.”
Key recently mentioned on an e2:effective elders podcast something that CFR has long touted that will help churches with unforeseen challenges that impact their economic health moving forward.
“Every family, every business, every ministry ought to have a three-month cash reserve, or six months would be the ideal,” Key said. In a church setting, he said, the number of weeks of “cash on hand” should be a regular part of the financial report provided to the elders.
“We like to see every church maintain a minimum of 13 weeks of cash on hand. What we would say is, anytime it drops below that 13-week level, that’s when the eldership and the church leadership should be looking at different levers that they can pull to either find a way to either increase revenues . . . or reduce their expenses.”