COVID-19 Resources

Church Financial Leader Resources

7 Ways to Keep Revenue and Donations Flowing During the COVID-19 Crisis: Rob Blezard outlines steps your church can take to address the financial challenges created by the COVID-19 crisis. Key strategies include staying in communication with donors, including an offering time in online worship, and asking for “front-loaded” offerings.

10 Ways To Do Online Church Without Losing Community: Sunday worship is perhaps the most obvious moment of the church’s communal life. Limited by COVID-19 restrictions, churches across the country are discovering new ways of being community and learning that loving one another and our neighbors — while physically distancing ourselves from them — is possible.

10 Ideas for Church Financial Leaders Amid the COVID-19 Crisis, written by Ken Sloane, Director of Stewardship & Generosity with Discipleship Ministries. Ken wrote an article early in the U.S. outbreak of COVID-19. He shares several resources, including ideas to help with financial giving in the local church.

Church Ministry Funding Guide

A practical approach to key funding strategies ensuring you adapt accurately, fully fund, and accelerate toward greater ministry impact during social distancing and beyond.

Communicating with Leadership (Ministry & Financial) & High Capacity Donors During Social Distancing: Joe Park, Managing Partner of Horizons Stewardship and a ministry partner of the Foundation, shares insights during this recorded webinar into the special communication necessary with church leaders and major donors.  It’s vitally important that you bring your leadership along, keep them close, and communicate with them. They want to hear from you, and they want to help you—and their church—successfully navigate the days ahead.  Learn practical tips on how to keep them engaged and connected to your church, disciple them during this season of anxiety, and leverage their leadership ability and wisdom.

Digital Transformation Tactics for Your Nonprofit: Now more than ever, it’s important to look at how you can add digital strategies to your nonprofit organization. Dr. Gloria Horsley, Founder of the Open to Hope Foundation, shares her ideas.

Faithful Stewardship in a Time of Uncertainty

Melissa Spas, Managing Director of Education and Engagement with the IUPUI Lake Institute on Faith & Giving, provides a theological context for being a faithful steward in the midst of these uncertain times.

Consider this closing paragraph from Alan Cantor’s recent article, ”Nonprofit Fundraising in the Age of Coronavirus”, which appeared in the April 15, 2020 edition of Harvard Business Review: “In the coming weeks and months, successful requests for charitable donations will need to be embedded in a larger expression of mutual support, empathy, and solidarity. And this approach should not be temporary: As the country deals with ever-greater personal loss and stress, charitable organizations can no longer do business as usual. The line between supporters and the supported will grow ever hazier. All of us will need help, and all of us will need to do our best to provide help to others.” How does this thought from a widely respected fundraising consultant impact your local church’s posture on financial generosity? In what ways does it call for your local church to set aside some old habits and seek opportunities for a new tomorrow?


SBA Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness: Now that you’ve received your Paycheck Protection Program loan funds, you need to begin thinking about best practices related to the use of those funds to ensure you are maximizing strategies that will enable you to request and receive loan forgiveness.

Update that affects local church recipients and clarifys the safe harbor exemption.

Should Churches Borrow Restricted Funds?

When finances are tight, churches may be tempted to borrow net assets with donor restrictions to cover operating expenses. However, legal and other important considerations are important to keep in mind. Watch this 3 minute video to learn more.

Small Business Loan Administration Paycheck Protection Program FAQs for Faith-Based Organizations:  The US Treasury has posted an official document to address the frequently asked questions regarding the participation of faith-based organizations in the CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program.  The protocol for this loan program changed under a very short timetable several times as regulations and application guidelines were developed.  This official document was published following implementation of the loan program.

SBA Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness: Now that you’ve received your Paycheck Protection Program loan funds, you need to begin thinking about best practices related to the use of those funds to ensure you are maximizing strategies that will enable you to request and receive loan forgiveness.


Being familiar with the application and its various steps and requirements will help you adequately account for usage of the loan funds over the 8 week period. Again, the SBA has not cleared up all of the unresolved issues, so stay tuned for further updates.

How Churches are Responding to the Coronavirus Crisis

In an effort to learn more about how the coronavirus crisis is impacting the Church,

Review this survey, conducted by the Unstuck Group, of more than 500 churches

ranging in size from under 100 to more than 20,000 in attendance. 

The webinar  Start Planning Your Church’s COVID-19 Recovery Ministry Now!, proposes exciting ways your church can begin the work of disaster recovery.  The work of emotional and financial healing necessitates long-term recovery planning. Moreover, this disaster recovery can start now.

Stay the Course Amid Market Volatility, a brief overview provided by BlackRock. This summary addresses the key takeaways for investors. BlackRock has served as our primary fund manager for the past several years. They are encouraging investors to keep things in historical perspective.

Steps Toward a Fully Funded Ministry During Social Distancing: Joe Park, Managing Partner of Horizons Stewardship and a ministry partner of the Foundation, shares insights during this recorded webinar into funding ministry during these unprecedented times.  Social distancing has certainly disrupted local church ministry schedules. It also has also provided the church the opportunity to emerge from this crisis stronger. Now is the time for each church to take aggressive steps to ensure your best days are still ahead of you. Joe and his team focus on providing practical steps in critical areas of stewardship that church leaders should address right now.

Talking about Money during the Coronavirus Crisis: What do we say about money during the pandemic?, hosted by Ken Sloane, Director of Stewardship & Generosity with Discipleship Ministries. Ken hosts author and pastor Jim Harnish (brother of retired Michigan Conference pastor, Jack Harnish) for a presentation grounded in scripture, our Wesleyan tradition, and pastoral experience. Jim and Ken explore some practical and positive ways pastors and lay leaders can turn this crisis into a hopeful opportunity for spiritual growth in financial stewardship.

What We Know: Tax Payments and Filings for Churches and Individuals: This article from trusted source, Church Law & Tax, provides good reminders about recent temporary tax changes for church employees, churches, and non-profit organizations.

Giving Resources

9 Ways to Give Beyond the Offering Plate & 5 Things You Should Do When You Use Them: A blog post by the Ecumenical Stewardship Center. Every church is different. Not all of these 9 ways to give will apply to every church. But, every church can and should consider giving options beyond the offering plate.

2020 eGiving Growth Spurt: With the spread of COVID-19, your church needs to be prepared to help givers support your mission whether they’re attending services in person or online. After surveying 1,000 churchgoers across the country about their giving preferences, Vanco has the data to help you accomplish this. Discover the research-proven strategies that churches need to employ to increase contributions. Note: You will need to register to watch this video.

How to Come Back from a Decline in Church Giving: An increasing number of church leaders are reporting a slow decline in church giving. Yet, many churches are experiencing strong growth in giving.  This increase is not limited to fast-growing church in suburban neighborhoods.  Learn more.

Electronic Recurring Giving: Needed Now More than Ever: Social distancing has created an unprecedented opportunity for churches of all sizes to strengthen their long-term annual giving by taking steps today to increase the number of households who use recurring electronic giving. Having one or more electronic giving options is just the first step. The goal is to have over fifty percent of your households using automatic recurring giving. Recurring giving does not happen by accident. It takes a good plan and focused effort.

How to talk about Generosity, Life Change and Impact During Social Distancing: Churches who use this current crisis to revisit their messaging strategy will be stronger now and other side of the pandemic. In this webinar, Kem Meyer, nationally recognized marketing, branding, and communications expert and author, will share practical tips and strategies you can implement immediately to be more effective and confident as you re-imagine your ministry messaging strategy in a multi-channel world.

Church Ministry Funding Guide: How to Thrive During COVID-19 in 2020 and Beyond: Since we are going where we’ve never been before, we need a compass rather than a map.  There are no easy answers, but there are steps we can take today to give us greater confidence in our ability to continue to meet the needs of our community during this unique season of ministry. As a result of the proven framework approach discussed in this webinar, we can navigate between uncertainty and confidence in a way that will instantly elevate our capacity to meet our most pressing ministry demands today and to do more ministry moving forward.

Offering and Offering Talks When the Seats Are Empty: How do worship leaders deliver offering invitations through livestreaming and virtual platforms?  This 40 minute video presentation with Scott McKenzie and Joe Park of Horizons Stewardship helps you overcome the awkwardness of delivering an offering talk when you are livestreaming worship services without a congregation in the same space.

Optimizing Your Church’s Website for Recurring Giving: Recurring giving does not happen by accident. It takes a good plan and focused effort and an optimized website. Learn the steps to ensure the church’s website and contribution landing pages are pointing persons to recurring giving using your preferred method of e-Giving.

Vanco provides online giving services endorsed by UMC Support (GCFA.)  They are among the largest third party providers of electronic giving services in the United States.  Their products integrate with more than 60 of the most popular congregational management software systems.

Resources for Pastors

A Prayer for a Pandemic, written by Cameron Wiggins Bellm. This prayer is being widely circulated and expresses heartfelt thoughts shared by many of us who live in reasonable daily comfort.

20 Prayers to Pray During This Pandemic: A list of 20 very brief prayers to pray during this pandemic. Each one addresses the specific needs of a specific community.  This list is not comprehensive, of course, but it is a good place to start. We hope that it provides words for us as we pray collectively (if also virtually!) as a church body.

The Challenges and Opportunities of Our Current Reality: A Look Toward the Post-Pandemic Church: In the course of conversation with church leaders across the country, we have identified five “muscles” that must be stretched and exercised because the Body of Christ must be healthy and nimble to face such an unknown future. These spiritual exercises are not new to us, but the muscles may have become atrophied from lack of use. These muscles are: grieving well, discerning purpose, walking alongside, decentralizing power, and expanding imagination.

Innovative Ideas for Unprecedented Times: by Ministry Architects, a team of almost 90 pastors, teachers, executives, youth workers, children’s pastors, writers, and professors. They are fanatical about results and helping ministries find clear direction and sustained momentum backed up by properly aligned resources.

I highly recommend reading and studying Leading Beyond the Blizzard: Why Every Organization Is Now a Startup. This article has been widely circulated and is a catalyst for discussion among a number of thought-leaders in the Church. The authors remind us that the novel coronavirus is not just something for leaders to “get through” for a few days or weeks. Instead, we need to treat COVID-19 as an economic and cultural blizzard, winter, and beginning of a “little ice age” – a once-in-a-lifetime change that is likely to affect our lives and organizations for years.  This article provides a fascinating look at the long-term impact the pandemic will likely have on organizations – including congregations – and how to chart a new path forward.

Life After COVID-19: In his newest monograph, John Thornburg explores the importance of discernment as we begin to return to church life after months apart due to the pandemic.

We currently live in a period where constituents have a more open posture to these adaptive conversations. The time to engage is now! Tony Gittins, in his book Ministry at the Margins, writes about being in a place of Wonderland. We can either experience this place where we have never been with despair or curiosity. He, of course, suggests curiosity is the way to go! John Thornburg, a close colleague and provocative thought-leader, and I briefly discuss Tony’s book and its application to our present

Navigating Technology in the Midst of the Coronavirus: A seven-part video series with IT experts Nick Nicholaou and Jonathan Smith on how all churches can use technology effectively for worship and church office operations in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Preaching to an Empty Room , a helpful blog post written by Alyce McKenzie, Le Van Professor of Preaching and Worship at Perkins School of Theology. Many pastors are adapting their pastoral leadership and finding innovative ways to deliver worship. Alyce offers helpful insight for those pastors continuing to prepare and preach sermons with no one physically present to hear them.

Resilient Leadership Update , a special series from Horizons Stewardship. Horizons Stewardship is a frequent partner with the Foundation in our deep dive consulting work with congregations. Each Tuesday and Thursday, Joe Park, Managing Partner, will be providing a thoughtful piece on leading amid the current environment.

Seven Shifts that Will Define a New Normal for Local Church Ministry: Tony Morgan, a nationally recognized author, speaker, consultant, and founder of The Unstuck Group raises seven practical shifts church leaders need to consider as our culture moves beyond the Coronavirus outbreak and social distancing. In this webinar, you’ll discover strategic insights to help you:

Understand why going back to “normal” may not be realistic

Identify what’s most important right now

Curate the right conversations with staff and leadership

Outline a recovery and mobilization plan moving forward

Focus resources and commitments to new ministry opportunities

Rev. John Thornburg is considered one of the deepest thought-leaders in the Church today.  Read his blog post, Questions for a New Normal, a part of TMF’s Being the [virtual] Church series.

                                       Michigan Area United Methodist Church


Official Websites

The Federal Centers for Disease Control CDC website

Federal Response on COVID-19

IRS:  Economic Payment Stimulus

Michigan Department of Heath & Human Services website

Executive Order No. 2020-21 for MICHIGAN

US Department of Labor Occupational Health and Safety-OSHA

US Small Business Administration

Wespath Benefits and Investments COVID 19 Resources