What If Your Church Had to Close for A Few Services
During late Summer and into the Fall, our nation, especially on the east coast and Gulf states, are subject to some violent hurricanes. Many remember, Andrew, Hugo, Katrina, and Harvey, just to name a few. Our Midwestern states face constant tornado threats that could devastate a community within a few moments and northern states face harsh winters with record snow falls.
During some of these crises, Churches have been among those who experience destruction, or at the least, extended closure. Every Church needs to develop a plan they can initiate in the event of a catastrophe. This is not a lack of faith—it is common sense. The Psalmist David had faith God would deliver Goliath into his hands, but David still loaded and fired his weapon.
One of the biggest fears of a Pastor is that of Church closure. Pastors dread calling off a Sunday Morning service due to inclement weather such as a snow fall, hurricanes, or for any other reason because of the financial implications. You can imagine the fear some Pastors encounter when faced with an extended closure due to flooding from a hurricane or major destruction from a tornado?
To help alleviate disruption, Churches should create a special voicemail box or “Phone Tree” to alert their members and those seeking comfort as to any closures. Another avenue of contact could be the Church website (which every Church should have, regardless of size). Pastors should establish an emergency contact flow chart in the event of limited power availability. They could contact those key leaders closest to them and they in-turn could contact those in their circle of influence. With each leader and Church member contacting those in their sphere of influence it would not be long before everyone of concern was notified.
The Pastor and someone he or she chooses should be the contact person for TV and radio Public Service Announcements (PSAs). Every local TV and radio station will freely broadcast Church and business closures due to weather-related or other catastrophic issues. Use them.
Limiting Financial Losses
One of the biggest reasons Pastors do not want their Church to close on a Sunday Morning is because of finances. Giving to the Church—tithes and offerings—are an “out of sight, out of mind” issue. Many Christians, who give their tithes and offerings, do not if they are not in Church on any given Sunday. Unfortunately, the bills still come due and must be paid. Since many Churches live Sunday to Sunday in their finances, they cannot afford a Sunday without income.
To migrate through a closure, whether one Sunday or an extended time, Pastors can alleviate some of the financial headaches with a few simple actions.
- Teach the congregation the spiritual and natural importance of giving.
The Pareto Principle is unfortunately alive and well in the Church. Eighty percent of the congregation enjoys the ministry of the Church and the positive impact upon their lives, but only twenty percent carry the financial burden.
Every Pastor should teach tithing on a regular basis. And for those of you who think tithing stopped with the New Testament, you should re-study the Scriptures. Tithing is found from Genesis through Hebrews. You are hurting your congregation when they do not understand the Biblical and natural importance, implications, and benefits of tithing. Without all members tithing and giving in freewill offerings, ministry is greatly restricted.
- Set up and teach electronic giving
Smart Phone giving apps are available in addition to online via the Church’s website. This is a great tool that can be used by members when they are on vacation, sick and unable to attend service, and for times of catastrophe when the Church must be closed due to weather or tragedies.
Do not be afraid to encourage your people to give via text or online. Many Churches receive the bulk of their tithes and offerings through vestibule kiosks, and cell phone texts during the service. Those same Churches experience much less interruption in finances when people are unable to attend.
Why We Do What We Do
Hardships come to everyone occasionally. The difference between successful Churches and those who struggle is how they deal with them.
Chitwood & Chitwood has been the ultimate Church Management firm in the nation for more than 78 years. At our Church Management and Tax Conferences across the nation we teach valuable information and make available numerous resources to ensure the Church does what it is called to do with little interruption—minister to the lost and hurting.
Every Pastor and Church Leader is encouraged to attend a Church Management and Tax Conference near them. To register for the conference nearest you, call 800-344-0076, or visit us online at www.cmtc.org. This will be the best investment you can make for your Church during these uncertain times in which we live.