Several national Christian groups, led by the AND Campaign, today announced an initiative to help small churches throughout the U.S. that are at-risk of closing as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The effort, which also includes former NFL player Benjamin Watson, is called the Churches Helping Churches Initiative, and it’s targeted to assist congregations in low-income communities in urban areas that have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 economic shutdown.
According to a recent Barna Group survey, thousands of pastors (7%) are unsure or not confident that their church will survive the coronavirus pandemic and nearly a quarter of American churches (22%) have already reduced staff hours, reduced compensation or laid off employees. Another recent Axios-Ipsos poll found that low-income Americans are now far more likely to be at risk of coronavirus infection or job loss.
This Churches Helping Churches Initiative urges larger, more stable churches to assist at-risk churches in their own community. On its website, ChurchRelief.org, the Initiative has provided guidance and best practices for how large churches can pursue this type of outreach.
In addition, to help encourage generosity by stable churches, this Initiative creates a Coronavirus At-Risk Church Relief Fund that provides $3,000 grants to small churches who are at risk of closing within the next three months due to a steep loss in financial giving. The initial goal of the fund is to raise at least $500,000 during the month of April from Christian donors, foundations and large churches. Already, the Initiative has secured the commitment of $100,000 toward the fund. The grants will be administered by the National Christian Foundation and 100% of the proceeds will go directly to at-risk churches.
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SOURCE: Charisma News, D. J. Jordan