COVID and Church Finances

The COVID pandemic has already begun to take a toll on the economy in ways that we’re only starting to comprehend, affecting businesses and individuals alike. You might be nervous about what the future holds for you, and I’m going to address that topic next week on the blog.

You might also be nervous about what the future holds for Parkland, and that’s what I want to talk about today. I’ve gotten a few questions over the past month about our financial situation, and I’m sure that those questions are only the tip of the iceberg. So, here’s what’s true about Parkland’s financial situation right now. Some of this is going to be nerdy and detailed, but I want you to have a complete picture (and I’m also a nerd who’s a fan of details, so there’s that).

For those of you who don’t want to scroll through the nerdy details, here’s the bottom line: Parkland is in sound financial shape, and I’m confident we will weather this storm.

Okay, here comes the fun (i.e., the nerdy and detailed) part…

Revenue and Expenses

At Parkland, our revenue is generated by two main streams: donations and rentals (about 2/3 and 1/3 respectively). On the rental side, we have seven regular users of our facility; currently, six of those users can’t use the facilities. The only user still operating is the daycare, who uses the north building during the week.

In light of that, we’re not cashing rent cheques for April, except the one from the daycare. Our expectation is that all of our regular users will return to their normal pattern of usage when we come out of this crisis, so we’re holding the same space for the same users until that time.

In other words, our rental revenue is going to be lower for a while, but we expect it to return to previous levels when we’re through this.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to mention why we rent our space. We rent the space that we’re not using for our operations (excess capacity during non-peak times) because it’s good stewardship.

We believe that our buildings need to be used, and if we’re not putting them to full use then someone should. We have a resource that is sorely needed in this city—space—and we partner with organizations who are doing good work so that we can be an asset to the community. The users who rent our space are doing things that we’re not equipped to do, and we believe that everyone benefits when we’re generous with our resources.

The rental revenue we collect is nice, but it’s not the point. And if it ever does become the point, we’ll know that we’ve lost our sense of mission.

The other source of revenue at Parkland is giving—just like every other church. We continue to receive donations online through Canada Helps, both through regular monthly giving (most of which was set up before COVID hit) and one-time donations. If you’re a monthly donor and you’re in the position to continue your donations, thank you.

Some have also reached out to ask about continuing to give their tithes that they’d usually give in an envelope on Sunday mornings. If you’re in the position to be able to do that, thank you. You can either mail your envelope to us or drop it off in the church mailbox.

If you’re not currently in the position to give, please be released of the obligation. If you need to suspend your monthly giving, do so. And please don’t feel like you have to somehow make up your tithes when this is all over.

When it comes to expenses, about 75% goes to salaries and facility costs, including our mortgage. Some of those expenses are continuing on, like staff salaries and our mortgage payments; others have gone down, like our heating bills and our photocopier meter. We’re also continuing our regular support payments to our missionaries.

The Overall Picture

I don’t know exactly how the numbers are going to shake out just yet, but I anticipate that we’ll see a small deficit in March and a larger one in April. But that’s okay. These are extraordinary times.

We can weather this storm. We have sufficient cash on hand to sustain our regular operations for about six months even if all of our revenue dried up and all of our expenses stayed the same. Because our revenue hasn’t dried up and our expenses haven’t stayed the same, our financial position is sustainable for a longer period than that.

Parkland is in good shape, and for that we give thanks to God. At this point, there is little risk of us having to make major decisions in order to maintain our financial stability.

God has been faithful to Parkland for 30 years. He’s seen us through good times and bad. He is sovereign over our church and over our world. And I believe that he will sustain and preserve us as he’s always done. Our job is to give him glory, no matter what happens, and that’s what we’ll continue to do.

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