How the Coronavirus Stimulus Bill benefits your church

Jim Capaldo

District Executive Minister, Converge Heartland

  • Church strengthening

On March 27, 2020 the $2 trillion Coronavirus Stimulus Bill called the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid Relief & Economic Security Act) was put into effect. First, we highly encourage all district churches to take hold of the benefits that the CARES Act affords. But on a more pastoral note, we know that such opportunities are not common and that they do require some leg work. Please do not be overwhelmed by a new process. We encourage you to patiently persevere through this opportunity and gain the benefits intended for your church and church staff. The benefits are that:


CARES Act forgivable paycheck protection loans

CARES Act Paycheck Protection Loans are forgivable based on documented proof of payroll costs as well as documented and appropriate use of the funds.

  • Churches are to calculate their overall payroll costs from March 2019 to February 2020 and then divide that by 12 to get a monthly average.
  • Church Plants incorporated by January 2020, without a long payroll history, may document and figure the monthly average payroll costs from the data they have, up until February 2020.
  • Once you have your monthly average figure, then multiply this figure by 2.5 and this is the amount of the forgivable CARES Act Paycheck Protection Loan funds for which you can apply.
  • This loan is forgivable based on your documentation of staff retention and other approved uses of loan proceeds between February 15, 2020 and June 30, 2020.
  • Should you receive funds and not use all or a portion of them for the approved loan forgiveness purposes, then the loan terms are extremely favorable at 4% APR paid back over 10 years with no payments until 2021.


How can my church apply?

There are certain regulations for applying for and receiving a forgivable CARES Act Paycheck Protection Loan. Though we have spelled out certain details, the Converge Heartland District does not claim to be a legal authority on this matter and we sincerely encourage you to connect with your bank or a local bank that offers Small Business Administration (SBA) loans, as they will manage the applicants and distributions of CARES Act Paycheck Protection Loans. They will give you final clarity on required documentation. However, here is what we can say for certain:

  • Get your documents ready. You should be able to locate the following items:
    • Incorporation documents, bylaws, and certificate of good standing in your state
    • Federal & state payroll tax filings
    • Financial reports from March 2019 through February 2020
  • In the end, an authorized person(s) in your church will need to verify that your church's documentation is true and correct and that spent funds were documented and used for their stated expenses.
  • Apply for a CARES Act Paycheck Protection Loan through a local bank that administers Small Business Administration (SBA) loans.
  • If you are struggling to come up with your necessary documents, then please consider utilizing the Converge Heartland Payroll and/or Bookkeeping Services, which are aimed to help you keep your church in sound fiscal order.
  • Please be patient with your bank, additional detail will be provided as the Small Business Administration (SBA) drafts implementing regulations, which the CARES Act requires to occur within 15 days.


Helpful CARES Act Resources

Here are some resources from trusted groups who are providing clarifying and actionable communication to local churches and nonprofits regarding the CARES Act.


Jim Capaldo, District Executive Minister, Converge Heartland

A graduate of Baptist Bible College, Western Seminary, Novosibirsk State University and the University of South Dakota, Jim served 11 years establishing a church planting movement among the formerly unreached Tuvan tribe of Siberian Russia. Besides church planting, he has pastored at ChangePoint Church in Anchorage, Alaska, and at Central Church in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, facilitates StratOp retreats, serves on various ministry boards and regularly instructs for the Perspectives on the World Christian Movement course.

Additional articles by Jim Capaldo