Free Resources for Churches and Ministers During COVID-19
These are unprecedented days for the local church. With services moving online and social distancing being enforced, there is no doubt that there will be economic and financial implications of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic for some time.
But you are not in this alone in this season.
Since 1918, GuideStone® has been committed to “serving those who serve the Lord®,” and that is more important to us than ever right now. To help you walk through these uncharted waters when we know money may be tight, we’ve compiled a list of FREE resources to help keep your life and ministry moving forward.
Free Resources to Help Churches and Ministries Resume Operations
Personal & Church Finance
Employee Retention Credit Under the CARES Act FAQs
The Employee Retention Credit under the CARES Act encourages businesses to keep employees on their payroll. The refundable tax credit is 50% of up to $10,000 in wages paid by an eligible employer whose business has been financially impacted by COVID-19. To help your church or ministry fully understand what this may mean for you, the IRS has compiled a list of helpful FAQs.
How to Calculate Paycheck Protection Program Loan Amounts
The Small Business Administration (SBA), in consultation with the Department of the Treasury, has provided some helpful guidance to assist in calculating payroll costs for purposes of determining the amount of a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan for which your church or ministry can apply.
Navigating the COVID-19 Crisis Webcast
To help you make sense of the overwhelming COVID-19 information, GuideStone® created a 90-minute webcast filled with information on how this global crisis may be affecting your church and — more importantly — what you can do about it.
Listen in on the conversation as GuideStone subject matter experts discuss topics like the CARES Act assistance, “Opening Up America Again”, employee benefit implications, important staffing considerations and risk management guidance — plus an encouraging word from Dr. O.S. Hawkins and a 30-minute Q&A with our panel.
2020 Economic Impact Payment Calculator
Intuit® estimates that more than 80% of taxpayers will receive an economic impact payment check this year. This easy-to-use calculator will tell you how much you can expect, if you qualify and what’s needed to get your payment.
COVID-19 Relief for Student Loan Borrowers
To provide relief during the COVID-19 national emergency, the CARES Act provides broad relief for federal student loan borrowers. Federal student loan borrowers are automatically being placed in an administrative forbearance, which allows you to temporarily stop making your monthly loan payment. This suspension of payments will last until Sept. 30, 2020, but you can still make payments if you choose.
COVID-19: Legal and Regulatory Developments for Nonprofits
Batts Morrison Wales & Lee is a national CPA firm that exclusively serves nonprofit organizations and their leaders through audit, tax, and advisory services. They have created a library of helpful articles, webinars, and notices designed specifically to help nonprofits navigate the ever-changing legal and regulatory developments brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Updates are regularly made to this page to reflect the most recent guidance.
FAQs Regarding Participation of Faith-based Organizations in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and The Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL)
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) issued FAQs for faith-based organizations that are interested in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL).
The SBA clarified in this document that faith-based organizations are eligible to receive SBA loans, “regardless of whether they provide secular social services. That is, no otherwise eligible organization will be disqualified from receiving a loan because of the religious nature, religious identity, or religious speech of the organization.” The FAQ also answers other questions of importance to churches and other faith-based organizations.
Religious Freedom and the SBA Paycheck Protection Program
Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission General Counsel Travis Wussow provides some additional insights on the issues around Religious Freedom and the SBA Paycheck Protection Program.
How to Get Unemployment Benefits
The CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) created a temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program to provide unemployment compensation to workers who typically do not qualify for these benefits — including those who have been let go from a ministry due to COVID-19. This handout is designed to help guide you through the unemployment benefit process, should you need it.
Economic Injury Disaster Loan
As a part of the CARES Act, the Small Business Administration (SBA) has established a temporary feature to request up to a $10,000 advance as part of an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) that can be issued within three days of application.
To help evaluate your loan eligibility and next steps, we created a basic checklist to help you decide if an EIDL is the right fit for your church or ministry going forward.
Paycheck Protection Program
As a part of the CARES Act, the Small Business Administration (SBA) has created a nearly $350 billion loan program called the Paycheck Protection Program — which is available to churches and nonprofits. We’ve answered 4 of the most common questions we’ve been hearing in this handout.
“We have faced challenges before.”
In light of today’s uncertainty and questions, GuideStone President O.S. Hawkins provides historical perspective and encouragement on the current economic obstacles we are facing.
Economic Impact Payments: What You Need to Know
Who is eligible for the economic impact payment? How will the IRS know where to send my payment? Can I still receive my payment if I am not typically required to file a tax return? Find answers to these questions and more in this quick overview from the IRS.
Disaster Loan Assistance Loans from Small Business Administration Available to Churches
The U.S. Small Business Administration’s COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loans will be available to churches and ministries. The loans provide another category of assistance that initially had seemed to be unavailable to churches. Applicants for a loan in response to COVID-19 from an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan can request an advance of up to $10,000 that is to be issued within three days of application. Funds can be used for sick leave due to COVID-19, maintaining payroll to retain employees during economic interruption, rent, mortgage payments and other limited obligations. These funds do not have to be repaid, even if the loan requested is denied, effectively making the initial $10,000 a grant.
If the same applicant obtains a Paycheck Protection Program loan through the Small Business Administration, the $10,000 forgiven under the Economic Injury Disaster Loan reduces what can be forgiven under the Paycheck Protection Program loan.
CARES Act Q&A with GuideStone Chief Legal Officer
Often legislation does not consider churches or pastors, however the Church Alliance, which represents church benefit programs including GuideStone®, took steps to advocate on Capitol Hill for the needs of religious organizations within the provisions of the CARES Act passed Friday, March 27.
On Monday, March 30, Harold Loftin, chief legal officer of GuideStone, engaged in a Facebook Live interview with Jonathan Howe of Baptist Press regarding the new law to provide insight on:
- Church and ministry worker eligibility for stimulus package rebates
- Unemployment provisions for pastors and employees at churches and ministry organizations
- Small business loans (payroll protection loans) for churches, ministries and self-employed pastors
Watch the Q&A Interview
COVID-19 Pandemic Phase III Stimulus Package
The COVID-19 Pandemic Phase III Stimulus Package provides potential relief for churches and pastors. This outcome is thanks to efforts by the Church Alliance - a national coalition of large and historic church benefit boards (including GuideStone) - and Southern Baptist partners who worked to ensure churches and pastors have the same options as small businesses and self-employed individuals attempting to financially weather the economic turmoil wrought by COVID-19. GuideStone’s Legal team has prepared a lengthy Q&A for churches and pastors looking for answers to how this stimulus package may impact them.
Relief for Taxpayers Affected by the Coronavirus Pandemic
The IRS has issued Notice 2020-17 and Notice 2020-18 to help provide some relief to all Americans who have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Generally, American taxpayers must make federal income tax filings and payments by April 15, 2020, but these Notices postpone both the filing and payment deadlines until July 15, 2020.
Taxpayers can postpone payments up to $1,000,000 if filing as a single individual or as married individuals on a joint return. This relief is available only for federal income tax payments (including payments of tax on self-employment income) due on April 15, 2020, for the taxpayer’s 2019 tax year. Any interest or penalties on the postponed tax filings and payments will begin to accrue on July 16, 2020.
Filing and Payment Deadlines Questions and Answers
As we mentioned above, the Department of the Treasury and the IRS announced special federal income tax return filing and payment relief in response to the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) emergency. Understandably, there have been a lot of questions about what this means and how it will impact both filing and payment deadlines, so they answered some of the frequently asked questions related to Notice 2020-18.
Health & Wellness
10 Steps All Workplaces Can Take to Reduce Risk of Exposure to Coronavirus
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) created a free poster outlining 10 steps all workplaces can take to prevent infections and protect workers. Download it now to distribute to your team and post in your workplace — when accessible.
GuideStone to Offer One-time Option to Change Health Coverage During 2020
With many churches reporting strained budgets as a result of not meeting due to the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, we are now offering a one-time opportunity for both Group Plans and Personal Plans to step down to a lower-cost health care plan for the remainder of 2020.
With some areas of the United States already experiencing the wide spread of COVID-19, telemedicine is an important step in accessing health care as many medical providers are experiencing higher-than-normal requests for in-person appointments.
If you have medical coverage through GuideStone, you have free access to telemedicine through Teladoc®. However, if you are not enrolled in one of our plans, many local health systems and providers offer telehealth, so check with your local provider to see if it is an option.
Find a Community Health Center
Community Health Centers may be a viable option for you to seek medical attention if:
- You are unable to schedule an appointment with your doctor.
- You are currently without health insurance coverage.
Please note that some of the clinics on the interactive maps may not be fully government sponsored and may be sponsored by non-Christian nonprofit organizations, so you should consult the information available from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to determine if a specific location is an appropriate choice for you or your family.
“Find a Health Center” is provided by the HRSA for informational purposes only and has not been verified by GuideStone for accuracy.
Launch the Interactive Map
Ministry & Church Operations
Leading Through COVID-19
Pastor, you are walking through a once-in-a-lifetime event with your congregation right now. To help provide support to you during this time, the faculty at Southern Seminary has created a video series answering common questions they are hearing right now. Tune in to hear guidance on topics like fear, anxiety, virtual worship services, serving the community and more.
Important Staffing Considerations in Response to COVID-19
As churches and ministries adapt to changes as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, some may be considering budget cuts or staffing adjustments. We’ve outlined five of the options available should you need to make any employee changes at this time.
Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Questions and Answers
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) paid leave provisions are now in effect as of April 1, 2020, and apply to leave taken between April 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020. Check out this helpful Q&A to learn important definitions, what it means for your church as an employer and what it means for you as an individual should you need to take leave.
Guidance Explaining Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Family and Medical Leave Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) announced its first round of published guidance to provide information to employees and employers about how each will be able to take advantage of the protections and relief offered by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) when it takes effect on April 1, 2020. To help you understand how this will impact you and your staff, check out their handouts and Q&A.
COVID-19: Recommended Preventive Practices and FAQs for Faith-based and Community Leaders
The Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives — a part of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services — understands that faith-based and community leaders continue to be valuable sources of comfort and support during this period of distress. Which is why they have addressed many FAQs on how you can best help reach vulnerable populations with essential information and assistance in the days ahead.
IRS Paid Leave
The U.S. Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Department of Labor announced that small and midsize employers can soon begin taking advantage of two new refundable payroll tax credits designed to immediately and fully reimburse them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing coronavirus-related leave to their employees. The goal of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Act) is to help the United States combat and defeat COVID-19 by giving all American businesses with fewer than 500 employees funds to provide employees with paid leave, either for the employees’ own health needs or to care for family members.
Read the News Release
Generosity by LifeWay
If your church currently is in need of a digital giving solution, Generosity by LifeWay is opening its digital giving platform to all churches immediately. Simply provide them with basic information about your church, and they will set up a custom giving page for you and post it live online to share with your congregation.
Explore Generosity by Lifeway
Bible Study, Articles and a Prayer Guide from LifeWay
The move to online services and community doesn’t mean your ministry stops. To help keep you and your congregation encouraged during these uncertain times, LifeWay is sharing several Bible studies and articles — as well as A 7-Day Coronavirus Prayer Guide — with you at no cost.
Access LifeWay Resources
As you are preparing to webcast/stream worship services online (website, app or social media channels), LifeWay Worship wants you to have flexibility and freedom to utilize their audio tracks as your ministry plans and needs arise. They are offering you a FREE license right now for audio track use.
COVID-19 Cyber Scam Prevention
The Office for Civil Rights (OCR), a division of the United States Department of Health & Human Services, recently issued a warning to remain vigilant for cyber scams related to COVID-19. They believe criminal actors may attempt to use this outbreak to steal confidential, personal data. To help you know what to look for to best protect both your personal and church information, the OCR has gathered helpful guidelines and precautions to follow.
Read the Guidelines
Guidance for Sustaining Your Church in the Midst and the Aftermath of a Global Crisis
Churches are on the front lines of the global COVID-19 crisis, and yet many are struggling due to canceled services and reduced offerings. While now is most certainly the time to be on your knees, it’s also wise to follow these 5 practical steps to ensure you are doing your best to guide and sustain your church through these uncertain days.
Refer Someone in Need to Mission:Dignity
We say it all the time because it’s true — Mission:Dignity® is the heart of GuideStone. Right now, this group that we are honored to serve is considered one of the most vulnerable populations to the coronavirus, so we want to make sure we’re helping as many of our brothers and sisters in Christ who need financial assistance as we can.
If you know a retired SBC minister, worker or widow in your area who would benefit from extra financial help and support right now, please contact us.
Make a Referral
Additional GuideStone Resources
Retirement Solutions Resources
With the recent volatility of the market due to unexpected events such as the coronavirus, these retirement resources should help you facilitate conversations, respond to questions and concerns, and pass along best practices to your staff.
Access Retirement Resources
Insurance and Health Plan Coverage Resources
Due to the direct relationship between plan coverage and personal health, the majority of benefit questions right now likely surround health care benefits. With COVID-19 on the rise, use our free resources to inform your staff about their options as they make decisions about health care needs.
Access Insurance Resources
Property and Casualty Coverage Resources
Disrupted operations and suspended gatherings mean clear communications regarding safety and preventive measures are essential. Make sure you and your staff know and strictly adhere to protocol during this time of heightened sensitivity.
Access Property and Casualty Resources