Diversifying Church Finances During COVID-19 | Interview with Mark DeYmaz

In this new norm of COVID-19, churches are beginning to realize the importance of diversifying their finances in addition to their monthly tithes and offerings. COVID-19 has accelerated the need to explore different options in lieu of the disruption of the economic model of the church going forward. I recently interviewed Mark DeYmaz, a Pastor and Author from Mosaic Church of Central Arkansas to discuss ways to diversify finances within the church. 

Mark is passionate about building a healthy multi-ethnic economically diverse church and is finding new, creative ways to do so. Institutionally, churches are thinking about revenue and different ways to generate income. But right now, it would be helpful for churches to get creative and explore ways to diversify their finances while benefiting the community. 

6 Tips to Diversify Income Streams

1. Leaders can look for ways to reduce expenses to help take the burden off the church

2. Explore creative ways for our church to generate income

3. Examine areas of your church that you can restructure and implement long-term

4. Leverage the assets of your church which are typically people, money, and buildings in order to generate sustainable income

5. Create multiple streams of income. For example, Mark mentions ways to do this in his book, The Coming Revolution in Church Economics. Some options include:

  • Establishing a nonprofit separate from your church

  • Establishing for-profit business enterprises in the church, leveraging your assets to bless the community and to generate sustainable income

6. Seek legal counsel to explore the different opportunities available to you to ensure you keep your tax-deductible status as a church.

It’s imperative to set up legal structures with accountants and attorneys when you start to diversify your income to make sure everything is in alignment and legally sound. They will also have advice from experience that you might not think of on your own.

Creative Ministries Mark DeYmaz used to Diversify Mosaic’s Income

The way the church generates income now will directly influence the way its income strategies after COVID-19. Because of the innovation and creativity being bred in this unique time, there’s a new way we can view revenue by creating and implementing multiple streams of income. Restructuring the church to create a separate nonprofit and for-profit business enterprises has allowed Mark to increase revenue beyond the tithes and offerings from his church. Here's how Mark and his team accomplished this: 

  • They established a separate nonprofit from his church, named Vine and Village. This serves as a structural 501 c3 separate from the church. 

  • Mark moved three ministries from the church budget into the budget of the nonprofit and under its direction. His three ministries are an immigration counseling center, a food distribution center, and a program that worked with kidThese three programs being removed from the church budget and into the nonprofit allowed the budget to scale. Also, because the programs became nonprofit programs they were available to receive local, state, and federal grants. 

  • As for the for-profit avenue of ministries, Mark and his team purchased an abandoned Kmart in order to leverage that facility to generate income. 

  • They were able to rent out their facility to a suburban fitness club to cover the full mortgage, and eventually, the fitness club invested $1.7 million of infrastructure work into the building, which served as a credit to the overall value of the facility.

  • Mark and his team were also able to rent out the parking lot of this property and have other businesses rent out the facility from them as well. The total aggregate amount of money that is made on the property now is approximately $12,000 a month in income, and their mortgage to the bank is $16,000. The overall goal of this is to erase the entire mortgage by leveraging the facility. 

By starting businesses within the facility, Mark has been able to create jobs, generate tax revenue, and repurpose the previously abandoned property. By becoming involved in the community, Mark can reach a larger group of people and provide them hope. In this unique way, he is living up to the values of his church, "To be a catalyst to serve people living in and around Little Rock’s emerging University District by helping to meet their social, economic and spiritual needs resulting in Real Community Transformation." "It’s through economics that you’ll see the evangelistic strategy of the 21st century," says Mark.

Mark and his team have always communicated to their community that the tithes and offerings of their congregation are not being used for just a building but to support the work of the Lord. They have been able to do this by using smart economic practices to leverage their facility as an asset and generate a sustainable income. 

Although COVID-19 is introducing many challenges, through Mark’s experiences, we see that it’s also opening the door for innovative ways to diversify revenue and find new ways to keep ministries active in a time of great need. Implementing multiple streams of income for the church is a good way to meet your church’s internal needs, serve your community, and contribute to the long-term vision, mission, and purpose of your church.