From the Elder Board
Greetings in our Lord Jesus Christ!
We find ourselves in a situation we could not have imagined at the beginning of March. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected almost every aspect of our daily lives. The staff and board of Fellowship Bible Church are working diligently to continue ministering the Gospel. With each passing week, we discuss and seek to address the challenges and limitations of meeting on-line only.
One challenge that most non-profits and churches, as well as many small businesses, are facing right now is finances. When the Elders met on March 31, to discuss the state of FBC, the picture was bleak. FBC receives typically about $20,000 per week in donations. During the first three weeks of on-line services, donations were $7,124 per week less than expected. If this pattern were to continue for three months, which seemed likely, we would have a budget shortfall of about $85,000. In addition to COVID-19, the price of oil, which affects the economy in East Texas, is very low and negatively impacting some local businesses.
Is it Biblical for a Church to Borrow?
The Elders met via video to examine the issue of whether it is Biblical to apply for a forgivable loan from the government, and if Biblical, should FBC borrow?
After prayer and discussion, the Elders agreed that it is Biblically acceptable for FBC to apply for a forgivable loan from the government. Pastor Todd wrote a position paper to explain the Elders’ understanding of the Bible’s teaching related to this question. You can access the position paper here: Thinking about Government Support
With this picture in mind, on April 2, the Deacons and Elders of Fellowship Bible Church voted to apply for a $100,000 forgivable loan from the federal government via the Economic Security Act. This money is designated to be used primarily for staff salaries, as the Act is also called the Paycheck Protection Program. The amount applied for is roughly equal to the wages of the current staff for two months. While it is uncertain if we will need the paycheck protection, the action was taken at this time because the program opened on April 3, and the demand for the forgivable loan was anticipated to be high. If we had adopted a “wait and see” approach, the program would likely not have been available when FBC could have needed it most.
We promptly applied for the loan and are waiting for the loan process to play out.
We find ourselves in unprecedented times. But even with a worldwide pandemic, we believe God is in control and working all things to His glory. Please know that the board and staff pray for you. We would love to know how we can minister to you. We would also love to hear your stories of how God is working amidst all the uncertainly around us.
Alex Stanton, for the FBC Board
Chair of the Elder Board
Fellowship Bible Church
4600 McCann Rd.
Longview, Texas 75605
“Experiencing Jesus, Transforming Lives”