How mega-churches spent coronavirus help funds

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Religious groups received $ 7.3 billion in unsuccessful loans. This financial security helped the ministerial teams to focus.

Mike Vaughn doesn't believe that churches should normally accept money from government. But when the administrative pastor of Palm Valley Church in Goodyear, Arizona looked at the impending economic downturn sparked by the coronavirus shutdown, the jobs he was trying to save, and the way Congress was running the Paycheck Protection Program ( PPP) structured used by religious organizations, he felt different.

"This program is a worthwhile exception to the general rule," Vaughn told Christianity Today.

Palm Valley is one of more than 88,000 religious organizations that have received money from the Small Business Administration under the CARES Act, which President Donald Trump signed in March. The CARES Act granted $ 521 billion in PPP funding to small businesses, nonprofits, and churches between early April and late June. About $ 7.3 billion went to religious organizations, according to government records.

The provision of money to churches has been unprecedented and controversial – even among evangelicals. Popular Christian financial advisor Dave Ramsey has strongly discouraged churches from taking the money for his radio broadcast, for example.

"It's a triple, don't do it for churches," Ramsey said. "Here's why: you're just letting the federal government manage your organization."

Chuck Bentley, CEO of Crown Financial Ministries, had similar concerns.

“Is it really manna from heaven? It's manna from Caesar, that's for sure, ”he said. "What will it look like in the long run in terms of visual appearance that the church has been saved here?"

Vaughn agrees with this point of view. He also understands why this …

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