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The CARES Act & Your Church Staff: What You Need to Know & 4 Steps to Take Now

The new stimulus bill includes churches and has implication for church staff. Please learn more before making any staff decisions.

We are in unprecedented times, and (for most of us) the health crisis is just weeks away. However, for all of us, the financial crisis is here.

There are roughly 350,000 churches in the United States. Most are small and have a single (often part time) staff member. Some employ hundreds. However, Warren Bird of the Evangelical Council of Financial Accountability estimates that there are 1 million people on the payroll of US churches, the majority of whom are part-time, often working other jobs.

Thus, the Congress and the President included them in the most recent stimulus bill, The CARES Act (and the Paycheck Protection Program, which is part of that act), as part of a plan to avoid sudden and vast amounts of unemployment.

While this is a fluid situation, we are committed to learning more about the CARES Act in the hours and days to come.

As such, you should expect this page to be updated.

An Overview You Need to Know

We turned to trusted voices to get the best imformation we would. One particular trusted resource that we want to note is Richard Hammar’s overview posted at Church Law and Tax (also a part of Christianity Today).

Hammar notes the following about the PPP (Paycheck Protection Program):

  • The Act establishes a new US Small Business Administration loan program called the Paycheck Protection Program for small employers (including nonprofits and churches) with 500 or fewer employees to help prevent workers from losing their jobs and small businesses from failing due to economic losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Source: The CARES Act & Your Church Staff: What You Need to Know & 4 Steps to Take Now

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[Cfamily]Joni Eareckson Tada: Why Should I Fear Death?
« Reply #1601 on: April 02, 2020, 01:00:09 AM »
Joni Eareckson Tada: Why Should I Fear Death?

Christ’s death and resurrection give me a heavenly perspective on suffering and mortality.

“He too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death” (Heb. 2:14–15).

“Francie, please file this and make copies of this letter, would you?” I hardly looked up from my desk while talking to my assistant. “And, one more time,” I groaned, “would you please pull out the sofa bed?”

For the fourth time that day, I needed to be lifted out of my wheelchair and laid down. We had to readjust my corset—shallow breathing, sweating, and skyrocketing blood pressure were signaling that something was either pinching or bruising my paralyzed body. Francie wiped away my tears. As she shifted my body, examining my legs and hips for pressure marks, I stared at the ceiling. I was done with being paralyzed. I was tired of the never-ending, day-to-day disability routines. I’d had my fill of it and mumbled to the ceiling, “I want to quit.”

“Oh, come on,” Francie joked, “what are you always saying? You ‘can’t do quadriplegia,’ but you ‘can do all things through Christ’?”

I didn’t have a comeback for that one, so I remained quiet. We couldn’t find anything wrong with my body. Francie hoisted me into my wheelchair.

“Where do I go to resign from this stupid paralysis?” I said.

Francie grinned. She’s heard me say it scores of times. As she was about to leave, she paused. “I bet you can’t wait for heaven. You know, like Paul said, ‘We groan, longing to be clothed with a heavenly dwelling.’ ”

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Source: Joni Eareckson Tada: Why Should I Fear Death?

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[Cfamily]Online Tools to Maximize the Good News During the COVID-19 Crisis
« Reply #1602 on: April 03, 2020, 01:00:09 AM »
Online Tools to Maximize the Good News During the COVID-19 Crisis

Today’s technological advances have welcomed a new kind of gathering.

In recent days, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau instructed Canadians living in diaspora or “scattered” in many regions of the world to “come home.” Further, he admonished all Canadians, except those in “front line services” to “stay home.”

“Enough is enough,” everyone must lock down and lock in.

Those returning to Canada are compelled to say goodbye to friends, relatives, colleagues, in-laws, pets, and favourite establishments left in temporary homes abroad. Upon arrival, everyone is ordered to self-isolate to protect themselves and others at home from the deadly Covid-19 pandemic.

Most schools have abbreviated their school calendars. Teachers and students are now home-based. Some graduating students may receive diplomas without being hooded by their esteemed professors in grand auditoriums. Missing will be the on-stage thank yous and goodbyes.

Goodbye, National Basketball Association. Goodbye, National Hockey League. Goodbye, ice rinks. Goodbye, professional football games. I imagine the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games organizers said to each other “Sayonara for now” (Goodbye for now).

The Muslims say temporary goodbyes to their pilgrimages to Mecca and their community Eid celebrations. Hindus and Buddhists say goodbye to their regular gatherings in their temples. The Jewish people are saying goodbye to Passover parties (at least for those over five), and the Christians say goodbye to in-person Easter gatherings and adjacent large family dinners.

Yet, amidst the goodbyes, today’s technological advances have welcomed a new kind of gathering.

Arguably, the spreading of Covid-19 has this positive impact on the global church and local congregations: the ...

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Source: Online Tools to Maximize the Good News During the COVID-19 Crisis

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[Cfamily]En Italia, He Redescubierto el Poder de Tres Tipos de Oración
« Reply #1603 on: April 04, 2020, 01:00:08 AM »
En Italia, He Redescubierto el Poder de Tres Tipos de Oración

Los Salmos de lamento se sentían hiperbólicos antes de COVID-19. Pero en medio de 13,000 muertes, mi iglesia en Roma, cerrada por el encierro obligatorio, resuena con el lamento de David más que nunca.

La pandemia de COVID-19 ha cambiado la forma en que los cristianos italianos oran y viven su fe, en medio de una nación que se recupera de más de 13,000 muertes —la cifra más alta del mundo— entre 110,500 casos confirmados, solo superados por los Estados Unidos [al 2 de abril].

Durante este periodo de aislamiento, ya no podemos reunirnos los domingos o en grupos semanales. Las reuniones sociales, los viajes y las bodas han sido suspendidos, así como la mayoría de las actividades. Si alguien es descubierto fuera de su casa sin una razón válida, puede haber una multa muy alta.

Pero esta temporada de exilio nos ha ayudado a descubrir tres facetas de la oración que a menudo descuidamos en tiempos de abundancia.

1) Oraciones de Lamento

Los salmos de lamento a menudo se sentían como una exageración apenas hace un mes. Por ejemplo, la queja de Asaf de que Dios ha hecho que su pueblo “beba lágrimas en abundancia” podría haber parecido excesivamente dramática; El grito de David a Dios de “¿Hasta cuándo esconderás de mí tu rostro?” era un sentimiento distante.

Pero a medida que la humanidad lucha por contener una pandemia que provoca miedo y ansiedad, el lamento parece tener una nueva relevancia para todos nosotros. En marzo de 2020, el Salmo 44 parece resonar perfecto:

¡Despierta, Señor! ¿Por qué duermes?
¡Levántate! No nos rechaces para siempre.
¿Por qué escondes tu rostro
y te olvidas de nuestro sufrimiento y opresión?Estamos abatidos hasta el polvo;
nuestro cuerpo se arrastra por el suelo.
Levántate, ven a ayudarnos,
y ...

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Source: En Italia, He Redescubierto el Poder de Tres Tipos de Oración

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[Cfamily]Most Churches Have Stopped Gathering, Few Plan to Meet on Easter
« Reply #1604 on: April 05, 2020, 01:00:08 AM »
Most Churches Have Stopped Gathering, Few Plan to Meet on Easter

While nearly all pastors say their church held in-person worship services at the beginning of March, the situation had changed radically by the end of the month.

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—The coronavirus outbreak has had ripple effects across the country, including in U.S. churches, according to a new study of pastors.

Nashville-based LifeWay Research asked Protestant pastors how the pandemic has impacted their congregations and what their plans are for the near future.

While nearly all pastors say their church held in-person worship services at the beginning of March, the situation had changed radically by the end of the month.

On the weekend of March 1, 99% say they gathered, while 95% held services the next weekend. By March 15, that number dropped to 64%. And by March 22, 11% of pastors say their churches gathered in person. On March 29, only 7% of pastors say their congregations met in person.

“Gathering for worship as a local church is a fundamental expression of the body of Christ, but so are valuing life and loving others,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research. “As mitigation guidance first impacted large churches, the majority of churches with 200 or more attendees were not meeting by March 15, and only 1% of them met March 22 as guidance continued to shift.”

Almost half of churches (47%) say they have already decided they will not meet in person for Easter. A small number (3%) say they will have an in-person gathering no matter what.

A significant number say they are in a wait-and-see situation. Close to 1 in 5 (18%) say they will have an in-person gathering if authorities allow gatherings of that size. Another 15% say they will do so if local authorities do not recommend against it. Fewer (7%) say they will have an in-person Easter gathering if in their own judgement they feel it is safe. One in 10 say they’re not sure.

Online ...

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Source: Most Churches Have Stopped Gathering, Few Plan to Meet on Easter

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[Cfamily]Christian Concert Booker at Fault in $3 Million Fraud
« Reply #1605 on: April 06, 2020, 01:00:11 AM »
Christian Concert Booker at Fault in $3 Million Fraud

Court finds Lighthouse Events used ministry funds to repay expensive short-term loans instead.

A Christian concert promoter has been ordered to pay almost $5 million for misleading investors and misusing funds that were supposed to go toward events that “spread the message of Christ.”

A United States federal court issued a summary judgment against Lighthouse Events and its founder Jeffrey E. Wall this week, finding Wall and his organization had “fraudulently rais[ed] more than $3 million in unregistered offerings from approximately 145 investors.”

Lighthouse books Christian acts at churches and venues across New England. Last year’s lineups included Needtobreathe, Danny Gokey, for King & Country, Sanctus Real, and Kirk Cameron. The company drew in financial partners by inviting them to help spread the gospel through its shows, promising to pay back the investment plus 20 percent after the events.

The money was supposed toward deposits on summer festivals. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a civil complaint accusing Lighthouse Events of fraud in April 2019.

“Wall had promised investors that their funds would be used solely to promote and host Christian music concerts and festivals and that their investments were ‘secured’ and ‘guaranteed,’” according to the SEC. “In reality, Wall and Lighthouse used investor funds for a variety of other expenses, including payment of Lighthouse’s existing debt and payments to earlier investors.”

After 20 years working in Christian radio, Wall started Lighthouse Events in 2008 and put on more than 350 concerts within a year, growing to partner with more than 1,000 churches. In additional to individual shows and regional tours, Lighthouse previously put on festivals like the River Rock ...

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Source: Christian Concert Booker at Fault in $3 Million Fraud

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[Cfamily]This Holy Week, Linger at the Cross
« Reply #1606 on: April 07, 2020, 01:00:09 AM »
This Holy Week, Linger at the Cross

Explore CT's special issue for the Easter season.

What difference does it make that Jesus died upon the cross? That he rose again? You may be quick to answer—for we know these answers well and they are dear to us. Jesus paid the price for our sin. He dealt a victory blow to death. He made the way for eternal life. But what difference does the Cross make in our actual daily lives—in our relationships or our work or our inner thoughts?

The Cross changed everything on a cosmic scale, and it is also continually changing everything for each of us on a personal scale. The Cross shapes us, inviting and enabling us to become more like Christ. Below are the articles featured in “The Cross,” CT’s special issue for Lent, Holy Week, and the Easter season. In these articles, we explore not only what the Cross and the Resurrection have to say theologically but also how they transform our here-and-now reality.

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Source: This Holy Week, Linger at the Cross

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Why Brazil’s Churches Closed, Even Though President Bolsonaro Disagrees

Evangelical leaders explain why heeding public health experts on COVID-19 doesn’t violate their faith but instead demonstrates it.

Brazil’s churches have landed on the front lines of a disagreement between state governors and President Jair Bolsonaro over the states’ quarantine measures designed to contain the spread of the new coronavirus, which has sickened more than 11,100 Brazilians and killed 486. Bolsonaro is actively undermining the governors and says a broad lockdown will ultimately destroy Brazil’s economy.

In late March, Bolsonaro passed a decree that added religious activities to the list of “essential services,” meaning sanctuaries could remain open even though citizens were asked to stay home. The decree was overruled by a federal court the following day. On the streets the following Sunday, he again defended people getting back to work.

“Open the churches, please, we need them,” one woman begged repeatedly in one of the videos Bolsonaro posted to social media. He replied with reassuring words.

Political analysts say Bolsonaro is addressing his electoral base—Brazil’s politically powerful Protestants, who helped bring the far-right president to power in the 2018 election—and letting them know they aren’t forgotten. Brazil is home to the world’s largest number of Catholics—some 123 million, according to the last official census. But Protestants are a growing force. The 2010 census counted 42 million believers, about 20 percent of the total population. A survey released in January by Datafolha concluded that Protestants now comprise 1 in 3 Brazilians.

“No political party in Brazil manages to bring together as many people, in as many places, as many times a week as churches do,” Carlos Melo, a political science professor at Insper University in São ...

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Source: Why Brazil’s Churches Closed, Even Though President Bolsonaro Disagrees

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