I am writing with follow up information about the church financial assistance provided through the CARES Stimulus Act.
After careful consideration, both our denominational and regional financial advisors have concluded that it is a workable opportunity each church should evaluate as you navigate the financial challenges created by the COVID-19 situation.
- Here are two sites to give you an overview:
- https://www.guidestone.org/NewsRoom/NewsReleases/2020/2020_03_27-COVID-Pandemic-Phase-III-Stimulus-Package#Q&A (This second site covers many aspects of the CARES act—the loan info is later in the article)
The program offers a very low interest (1/2 of 1 percent) loan (the amount is up to 2.5 times your average total monthly payroll costs incurred during the year prior to the loan date) to cover specific payroll, mortgage, and utilities for a specific 8 week period. As much as all of that loan is forgivable (becomes a de facto “grant”) if the church can document the loan money was spent for program-defined payroll, mortgage and utilities costs (with utilities being no more than 25% of the loan amount).
The loan application period begins today and applications are made through your local bank.
Glenna Stout, our regional treasurer, noted the following two concerns raised by experts she was researching this program:
Sometimes the decision processes in a church can be so long that the church may miss this opportunity.
The second concern is that some churches do not have an organized bookkeeping system thus, the reporting required at the end of the 8 week loan use period could become difficult. Accurate and adequate expense reporting is required 8 weeks after receiving the loan in order to successfully transition the loan to a grant.
I would recommend that you and your leadership investigate this opportunity and determine if you feel led to access this program. After doing your own evaluation, if you choose to do so and desire assistance in the application process, Don Williams (firstname.lastname@example.org), our denominational Director of Operations, Diana Boyer (email@example.com), our denominational Assistant to the President, and Glenna Stout (firstname.lastname@example.org), our regional treasurer, CPA, and owner of a church payroll and tax business, are persons who can provide guidance. Also, you can contact your local bank and ask for more information about the CARES small business loan option.
I am praying for all of us that we will be both skillful leaders and caring shepherds for our flock as we move through the changing ministry landscape, and I keep asking God to show us His opportunities and open doors to share His Good News with those who have not yet received Him.