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Christian groups work to help small churches at risk of closing            

The ongoing pandemic is hard for all churches but especially so for smaller ones that may lack the resources to weather the financial storm. Many are at risk of closing. Help is on the way, thanks to several national Christian organizations.

The effort, which also includes former NFL player Benjamin Watson, is called the Churches Helping Churches Challenge, and it’s targeted to assist congregations in low-income communities in urban areas that have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 economic shutdown.

READ: Benjamin Watson produces documentary on abortion in America

According to a recent Barna Group survey, 6 to 9 percent of pastors are unsure or not confident that their church will survive the coronavirus pandemic, and nearly a quarter of U.S churches (22 percent) have already reduced staff hours, reduced compensation or laid-off employees.

The Churches Helping Churches Initiative urges larger, more-stable churches to assist at-risk churches in their own community. On the Church Relief website, the Churches Helping Churches Challenge 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 created 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 because of a steep loss in financial giving. The initial goal of the fund is to raise at least $500,000 during April from Christian donors, foundations and large churches. Already, the Initiative has secured a commitment of $100,000 toward the fund. The grants will be administered by the National Christian Foundation, and 100 percent of the proceeds will go directly to at-risk churches to prevent them from closing.

Organizations, churches and individuals who want to give towards the fund and pastors of small at-risk churches can apply at www.ChurchRelief.org.

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice

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