(5/21/20) Concordia Plan Services has up to date information and loan forgiveness forms for the PPP. Find that document here.
(4/23/20) Winkler Group has published a new resource entitled “Churches and Faith-Based Fundraising: Recommendations for Recovery and Growth.” It includes ideas and practices for increasing online giving. You can read that here.
(4/17/20) Foundry Commercial, a ministry partner with the FLGA District, has shared a resource – “Navigating Church Operations & Real Estate During Economic Instability.” This document is intended to provide some resources, helpful tips, and an overview of topics to consider as churches are faced with property specific issues.
(4/17/20) The SBA PPP has distributed all the money allocated by Congress.
(4/3/20) Concordia Plan Services has released another update on Loan Application Guidance. You can get that update here.
4/2/20 Generis has put together two resources that help address these issues:
- What’s Next? – Helping Church Leaders address the COVID-19 Era – Looking into and planning for the near-term future
- COVID-19 Giving Action Plan – 8 action steps to proactively address giving during COVID-19
(4/2/20) Concordia Plan Services has put together a checklist of what is needed to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program. Remember, applications will be accepted starting on Friday, April 3, 2020. If your ministry is interested in applying, there are steps you can take now to be more prepared. Read here what information your ministry should be collected to get ready, along with other important information.
(4/1/20) Concordia Plan Services has created a microsite with insights into the new CARES Act legislation, both the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Families First Response Act and how they could impact your ministry. Additionally, the Special Edition of CPS Insider provides up to date links and information regarding the PPP. Please take some time to read these, so that you are prepared to file for PPP funds on April 3, 2020.
(4/1/20) Synod President Rev. Dr. Matthew Harrison shared a document regarding the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) highlights the urgency needed to prepare to file on April 3rd. The expectation is the that demand for these loans will be high and that organizations interested in obtaining PPP loans should be prepared to act quickly before the funds allocated to PPP loans under the CARES Act run out.
New 3/31/20 – CARES Act Legislation – The District understands that you have many questions about the CARES Act’s provisions related to the SBA loan programs; please be patient. Answers will be available once SBA and Treasury publish written interpretation of and guidance on the statute. Please forward questions in writing to Mrs. Laura Zirbel at firstname.lastname@example.org. She will respond with the best information possible.
New 3/27/20 – Ministry Town Hall – Zoom Meeting – Scott Gress is hosting a town hall using the Zoom platform, on Monday March 30th. He will host and provide some facilitation and a couple thoughts but the real content will be what you share with one another. Basically a time for the mutual conversation and consolation of the brothers. The specifics and the call-in information can be found here.
New 3/26/20 – Concordia Plan Services has put together a summary of the current legislation, The CARES Act, which just passed in the Senate yesterday. The House is scheduled to vote on Friday, March 28th. Please click this link to find out what the legislation would provide for our churches, schools and employees, if it is passed.
New 3/26/20 – The Skit Guys, who will be entertaining us at the President’s Equip Conference in September, have developed some highly entertaining “Bedtime Bible Stories with The Skit Guys.” To watch Bedtime Bible Stories with The Skit Guys, visit this link or find The Skit Guys (@skitguys) on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube
New 3/26/20 – Lutheran Counseling Services is offering virtual support groups for pastors. “We’ve never been here before.” We’ve all thought this in past weeks. To support those who lead our churches and may be wondering if this is a new normal or a “wilderness wandering,” Rev. Dr. Rick Armstrong will offer a virtual group to explore issues you are facing, starting Monday, March 30 at 2pm. Sign up here.
New 3/20/20 CTCR Letter on Communion and Covid-19 (3/20/20)
New 3/20/20 Rev. Scott Gress has helpful ideas in his new blog – Coronavirus: Leadership Challenges & Opportunities!
How are you responding to COVID-19?
The current recommendation by the Federal Government, to limit the spread of the virus and to flatten the curve, is to have gatherings with no more than 10 people. How can we as the church respond? With communication, innovation, using current resources, practicing social distancing and so much more. More and more LCMS bodies, corporations around the world, neighbors and other churches are responding with free resources, helpful hints and tips, and prayer. Please look at the links on the Coronavirus Resource Page to find these resources.
- Since 6-8 weeks is a long time to not have communion, consider having communion on an “open house” basis, to avoid having 10 people gather at the same time. Open the church from 1-4 on a Saturday or Sunday and individually administer communion.
- Send out Bible Studies and Lenten devotions by email. For those who don’t do email, send them via the USPS.
- If you are not under a stay-home order, organize your congregation into small groups of families, 2 or 3 families, and have them come together for prayer and devotions.
- Hold a private family funeral with a memorial service to be held after restrictions are lifted.
What about Church?
As the spread of Corona Virus continues to spread, and fear along with it, our hope remains in Jesus. The Psalmist reminds: “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalms 139:16 NIV
We can be confident that God has this even in the midst of our inability to fully understand. Having said that, please pay attention to directives by Federal Authorities, as well as local authorities (police, mayor, etc.)
Americans should “avoid gathering in groups of more than 10 people” in order to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. Most congregations are using technology to hold church. Some are using live stream, others are recording their services and posting on YouTube, others are using the Facebook Live feature.
Spiritual care is vital, especially in an epidemic, when people will be afraid and confused. However, it is your moral duty to protect your community by taking reasonable precautions so your church does not spread disease. Moreover, this is part of your Christian witness. Do not abandon your post, but don’t be foolish.
It is also important to follow the counsel of federal, state and local government.
Since gathering in groups of 10 or more has been prohibited, here are some resources for you to look into:
Work through alternative ways to include at-home folks to be connected. Many of our churches use Facebook live or live streaming to reach out to those in the neighborhood or who are housebound. Click here for a listing of churches in Florida & Georgia who live stream or record their services.
- Consider streaming your services. Here are some tips to get started on Facebook, from the head of the Global Faith Based Partnerships there.
If you haven’t already, set up online giving, text-to-give, etc. to ensure giving can continue even if gatherings are restricted.
As an option for meeting remotely or e-learning, Google recently announced they are giving free access to their advanced Hangouts Meet video-conferencing tool for schools and businesses that are G-suite and G-suite for Education customers.
What should we do if there is a significant outbreak of COVID-19 in our region?
In the event that there is local transmission of COVID-19 in your region at a significant level with dozens of people or more infected, more strenuous measures need to be taken. Information is available here on precautions and practices in the event of significant outbreak in your region