His church, the New Creation Church in Singapore, is one of the largest in Asia, with a congregation of 31,000. Megachurches, where pastors are sometimes worth millions of dollars, were also able to qualify for PPP. Your daily news briefing from the editors of CT. Gordon College Loses City Contract, Gets Accreditation Scrutiny. After a painstaking application process, Black said she was approved for only $2,000. Mars Hill Church spent $210,000 getting its pastor's book to the top of the New York Times best-seller list. There was just too much to do, and so we needed everybody’s head in the game.”. Data from the SBA showed churches led by Evangelical TV stars received anywhere from $250,000 to $5 million in loans. “We’re learning how to be a diverse congregation,” Vaughn said. “It’s a triple don’t do it for churches,” Ramsey said. She said it wasn’t even enough to cover one month’s rent. First Baptist did not return a request for comment from ABC News. “I saw everything crumbling, and then it was a question of like, ‘What now?’” she said. The additional 7 percent went to rent and utilities. Now, Black is one of many other business owners back in line to apply for loans and demand change from the PPP program in order to save their businesses. Yet Nigerian churches do often invest large amounts of their congregations’ money in shares and property, at home and abroad, he and another banking source said. The money helped with more than just paying the bills, however. Black said that during the entire month of April 2020, her business had made only a day’s worth, or 10%, of pre-pandemic sales. Palm Valley, which is about 50 percent white and 50 percent African American and Latino, invited African American members to share their experiences of racism with the congregation. “We wanted to make sure that we didn’t have people walking around nervous and worrying. Who gets a helping hand from PPP loan program? From Joel Osteen's recent CNN interview, to last week's Elephant Room conferences, the very public lives of the country's top religious leaders frequently bring strong criticism. “The public perception is that some organizations that have financial means should not have taken the money, even if they were eligible for it,” he added. Vaughn is sympathetic to that point of view. Although some argue granting them loans under the program was appropriate as churches are employers and service providers, law professor Micah Schwartzman of the University of Virginia says it’s not that simple. With their full staff, the church could also better engage the national conversation about racism and policing after the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. The 13,000-member Southern Baptist megachurch received between $2 million and $5 million in April, according to OpenTheBooks.com. When the coronavirus pandemic hit last year, the possibility of losing what she had worked hard so hard became all the more apparent. Lakewood Church and Joyce Meyers Ministries told ABC News that the money from the loans was used to save hundreds of jobs and that the pastors did not receive any of the money themselves. Sandals has given away 13,000 boxes of food since the pandemic hit California, as well as 10,000 medical-grade face masks, 400 face shields, 100 pairs of goggles, and 15,000 protective hospital gowns. They have since returned the money. Churches do provide extensive economic benefits to their communities. Despite four months of not meeting in person, the Southern Baptist multisite megachurch, with regular weekly attendance of 14,000 people at nine locations, didn’t have to lay off any staff. Other churches that received PPP funds have similar stories. “This company is literally my promise to her that I'm never going to leave her again.”. Life.Church, which is headquartered in Edmond, Oklahoma, but has 34 locations and produces podcasts and online religion programs, received between $5m and $10m and said the money … Law professor Micah Schwartzman of the University of Virginia. This can serve as a powerful attraction to one who is contemplating which local church to attend. Joel Osteen, another Texas megachurch pastor, received $350,000 to $1 million in loans for his Houston-based Lakewood Church, or about one-fifth what First Baptist of Dallas received. You attract people by your sheer size. The church behind one mega-preacher, Joseph Prince, was forced to deny that he earned an annual salary of $550,000, after his wealth was reported online. But the PPP money came with guarantees that the government wouldn’t interfere with the church’s business and it helped the church better serve its community in a time of acute need, Vaughn said. He said the “objection” to megachurches receiving the loans is similar to that of large corporations receiving the loans. Multiracial churches have not been good news for everyone. The first thing Vaughn did when he … The average salary for a lead pastor in a megachurch is $147,000, according to a recent survey. His ministry operates several branches including the NGO Inner City Missions for Children, three Christian television channels, the Loveworld book series, the Healing School and the Rhapsody of … “I think we still would have done it [without the PPP funds],” Vaughn said, “but we would have been short-handed. The PPP rules say loans will be converted to grants if 75 percent of the funds are used for payroll and the rest for specified needs, including rent and utilities. In all, the federal government gave more than $7 billion in loans to religious organizations. Restaurant chains like like Shake Shack, Ruth’s and Chris Steak House came under fire last year after they received $10 million or more in PPP loans. Scott Thumma, PhD. In a study of 90 churches in three urban areas, Cnaan found each house of worship contributed $1.2 million to $2.5 million to the local economy every year. But in some cases they do … T wo organizations that know megachurches well have released a new study they describe as “by far the biggest-scale, cross-denominational response … Lakewood Church and Joyce Meyers Ministries told ABC News that the money from the loans was used to save hundreds of jobs and that the pastors did not receive any of the money … But still, megachurch pastors who received the funds understand why it’s controversial. MEGA provides free cloud storage with convenient and powerful always-on privacy. In a press release, the agency said that it is "calling upon its lending partners to redouble their efforts to assist eligible borrowers in underserved and disadvantaged communities.". “It was really intended to be a lifeline for small businesses,” said Ashley Harrington, Federal Advocacy Director of the Center for Responsible Lending. Black said she applied for grants and applied for a loan through the Paycheck Protection Program in April, which aims to help small business owners like her stay afloat. “If we had been short-staffed once that aspect of things came to the surface and we recognized we needed to lean into those things, it would have been really hard. (Righteous Invasion of Truth)” believed in the power of celebrity and spectacle to draw people to Jesus. It’s not likely that churches will have to return their loan money at this point, but there’s still time to determine if the government privileged certain religious applicants or used taxpayer money in inappropriate ways, said Alison Gill, the vice president of policy for American Atheists, an organization fighting for more separation between church and state. A Kansas City mega-church just lost their 20 million dollar campus to the bank. Nearly 50 percent of large churches spend between 39 percent and 52 percent of their annual budget on staffing costs, translating to 1 full-time paid staff for every 51 to 90 attendees. The CARES Act gave $521 billion in PPP funds to small businesses, nonprofits, and churches between the beginning of April and the end of June. Thumma, a professor at Hartford Seminary, has since his book reported that the average megachurch income was $6.5 million in 2007, up from $4.7 million in … Mega churches across the United States are becoming increasingly popular which is not only bringing thousands of worshippers together, but also billions of dollars in profit. The loan received by Osteen's Lakewood Church … North Carolina Pastor Stephen Furtick of megachurch Elevation Church is building a $1.7 million-dollar home. Palm Valley, like about 40 percent of Protestant churches in the United States according to a LifeWay Research survey, decided to apply for the forgivable loan. With the government set to issue a new round of business loans as part of its latest COVID-19 relief bill, struggling small businesses, like Thereasa Black’s gelato shop, are hoping for more than a miracle. from Dr. Roger Barrier and get Christian, Biblical advice on today's issues. Died: Carman, Christian Showman Who Topped Charts with Triumphant Faith, Ravi Zacharias’s Denomination Revokes Ordination, RZIM Confirms Ravi Zacharias’s Sexual Misconduct, Canadian Pastor Jailed Over COVID-19 Violations, Ravi Zacharias’s Books Pulled by HarperCollins After RZIM Investigative Report, The Multiethnic Church Movement Hasn’t Lived up to Its Promise. “Is it really manna from heaven? Megachurches were integrated by blacks seeking to end ‘the most segregated hour in America.’ But now those churches are getting Trumpy, and blacks are leaving. Two in 5 Protestant pastors (40%) say their church has applied for government assistance offered through the CARES Act or the Small Business Administration, while 56% say they have not. Mike Vaughn doesn’t think churches should accept money from the government, normally. These churches of darkness are flourishing by discrediting the Scriptures. Palm Valley staff called every member of the church to check in every two weeks, praying for them, encouraging them, and listening to their needs. Popular Christian financial advisor Dave Ramsey strongly discouraged churches from taking the money on his radio show, for example. Because of that, Chelette said, they were able to put a lot of energy into helping those in need. That financial security helped ministry teams focus. The Edmond, Okla.-based church, pastored by Craig Groeschel, brought in $143.4 million in cash and noncash donations in 2018 and reported $281 … “Not only has the PPP helped the strategic shift, but it’s also helped maintain the teams that are focused on caring for and supporting our communities,” Chelette told CT. “Strong churches help ensure strong communities.”. He is a faith healer who preaches that faith can heal all illnesses. Thereasa Black opened her gelato shop to fulfill a promise to her daughter Isabella in Arlington, Virginia, in December 2019. Get the most recent headlines and stories from Christianity Today delivered to your inbox daily. mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 2:3. American churches took in as much as $10 billion in taxpayer funds through PPP loans. Turn on desktop notifications for breaking stories about interest? The SBA also extended the PPP loans to nonprofit groups, which normally wouldn’t qualify through the agency. More than 400 evangelical churches received loans of at least $1 million. In the end, Black said she was denied the PPP loan because she had applied for it through multiple lenders even though she had been advised to do so. “However, there were, from the outset, structural flaws with this program, structural barriers.”. Browse 60+ years of magazine archives and web exclusives. Sign Up For Our Newsletter Televangelist Joel Osteen's megachurch in Houston received a $4.4 million Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan.. 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