Reallocating Resources After COVID-19 With Dave Bruskas (1 Timothy 5:1-3,8)
By: Sutton Turner May 12, 2020
For four weeks, I’ve spoken with Pastor Dave Bruskas of The Village Church on reopening the church after COVID-19. He’s used readings from 1 Timothy to encourage us to recalibrate the church around love, refocus on prayer, and reorganizing leadership. Today, Dave pointed us to 1 Timothy 5 to discuss reallocating resources as good stewards after COVID-19. Since we will likely be faced with challenging economic realities, we discussed ways to lean on biblical teachings to responsibly prepare for this tough upcoming season.
1 Timothy 5:1-3,8
“Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity. Honor widows who are truly widows. But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”
The imagery Paul uses in this passage reminds us that we should see our church members as family. One of the ways we can practically honor and care for one another is to make sure our Church family’s financial needs are met. While our salvation doesn’t come from our expression of caring for others, our care for them is the evidence of our salvation and should be something we as church leaders should prioritize. This desire to care for God’s people should impact how we reallocate our resources after a crisis.
As a church leader, your budget is determined based on what’s most important to you. During this time when so many people are in need, it’s important to divide your finances into need-to-haves and nice-to-haves. Seeing your spending laid out in this way will help show you where you can make room this year to serve the individuals in your community well. This might mean passing up on an event, camp, or tradition. While these programs serve beneficial purposes, our first call is to love others which might mean sacrificing some of these nice-to-haves.
Tip: Start determining budget cuts by working with your leadership team to understand what has been put aside during COVID-19 that you could continue without for a time.
Structuring A Benevolence Fund
Every church budget looks different, but many churches spend about 40-65% of their overall budget on payroll and somewhere between 15-25% on mortgage or rent costs. If this is the case, there’s only a small margin left to allocate to benevolence. Remember that our funds reflect our values. Determine if you need to rethink staffing or building expenses to make room for what’s most important. When so many people are in need, these decisions will be tough as a pastor, but they’re vitally important as they’ll guide the direction of your impact in the coming year.
Tip: As you walk through these tough decisions, remember to think through the lens that everything we receive is a gift from God and is ultimately given to us to serve God. Constantly tying our ultimate purpose back to our daily ministries will help remove some of our manmade constructs and ensure God’s will is the purpose behind our spending decisions.
Systems And Structures
While giving financially is a great way to offer support, you can also help your community through service. Rather than looking to create platforms or structures for your church to serve, partner with the local nonprofits to offer volunteer and pastoral support. Think of the local food banks, shelters, orphanages, and other non-profits that can use your help. Serve God by encouraging your team to volunteer and come alongside these current establishments rather than feeling like you have to create your own ministry. This is also a great way to form new connections and relationships with other believers.
If you happen to be in an affluent community that wasn’t devastated by this crisis, it could be a good time to partner with another church in need or possibly even adopt a church.
Loving Your Immediate Family
As a pastor, in times when there is so much opportunity to serve, it can be easy to get swept up in serving our community and lose sight of those closest to us. It’s critical to remember to take inventory of the people you’re walking closest to and ensure you’re not missing major ways to serve those you love most.
Building bonds with your family and leadership team will also strengthen your foundation as a church and create a larger opportunity for impact if everyone is well-loved and immersed in God’s spirit. Don’t let these everyday needs and relationships get lost as you serve the larger community.
Our finances are a reflection of our hearts. As we offer our monetary assistance, it’s important to offer our time and care as well. While people are in a tough financial crisis, there is more at stake. Tend to people’s emotional and spiritual health as you pray about your financial decisions.