Navigating the Financial Impact of COVID-19

David Martin MCEC





Loving God, loving our neighbour and loving ourselves are the fundamental purposes of our Christian faith that undergird every aspect of the church’s ministry.

These are also the fundamental values that we can embrace when we navigate the financial impact of COVID-19 on our congregations and the wider church. While the current circumstances are impacting every congregation differently, I have outlined below some specific values and questions that can guide us as we reflect on how God is inviting us to be faithful stewards of the ministry, staff and finances that we have been given. 

  1. All of us place a high value on the ministry to which God has called us.
    My observation is that meaningful ministry is happening and needed now more than ever. The stresses of this pandemic are highlighting how important ministries are for the whole of community life. Prayer chains, video conferenced worship and prayer times, virtual pastoral care, and telephone conversations are connecting us with each other and demonstrating the enduring importance of our faith communities.

  1. The impacts of COVID-19 on people are real, whether it is our neighbour, a member of our congregation, or on the frontlines of our hospitals and nursing homes.
    We all feel anxiety about our personal situations and congregational realities but the primary value we are called to embrace at this time is loving and caring for people.

  1. Our faith in Christ is a significant resource during this challenging season.
    We believe in the power and presence of God that is at work through the body of Christ in our faith communities and in our local communities. We are finding creative ways to deal with the current challenges and are sharing insights, knowledge and resources with each other. Our faith in a compassionate, loving God is more important today than ever.

It is these values that can shape our responses to our questions about how to address whatever financial questions we may face. Starting first with our values and our faith in God, we can ask a series of questions within our own setting, in addition to referencing with others, so that we can discern how God is inviting us to faithfully steward our call to ministry within our specific financial context: 

  1. Is meaningful ministry happening and made possible through our investment of resources?
  1. How have we been prepared to handle the financial hurdles? How might our financial reserves and overall capacity be a resource at this time?
  1. What additional research is needed to explore all available options? 
    There are two significant programs for employees that congregations can explore for their particular circumstances:
    1. Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
    2. Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Program
    3. Canada Temporary Wage Subsidy Program
    4. This interpretive guide may also be of assistance. It was compiled by Dr. Jennifer Robson, Associate Professor of Political Management at Carleton University.
  1. When should we look at the data again to see if the circumstances have changed?
    The decisions we make today are based on information available now. Be prepared to adapt to the changing circumstances.

As I said before, each congregation will need to answer these questions differently depending on their specific circumstances. If you need assistance in thinking through your unique context, we are here to help. Several MCEC staff are working to support you in terms of financial impacts. Specifically, Al Rempel, Regional Minister, offers HR support to pastors and congregations. If you have questions or would like help with your congregational situation please contact Al Rempel for HR related issues ( or 855-476-2500 ext. 719). 

As we navigate these challenging times, my prayer for you and your congregation is that of Paul in 2 Corinthians 9. “God is able to shower all kinds of blessings on you. So in all things and at all times you will have everything you need.” 

David Martin
Executive Minister