April 24, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. GMT+1
Pastor J. Artie Stuckey has cut or eliminated every staff salary at his small Mississippi church. He is nervously watching the payments for the building where Restoration Baptist meets. He reminds his congregation to keep tithing, but he knows many of them — the barber, the electrician, the musician — have also seen their finances rocked by the pandemic shutdown.
Stuckey, a 42-year-old who sold cars until the ministry called him 15 years ago, is sympathetic to being cash-strapped. Restoration wasn’t in great financial shape even before the virus wiped out more than 50 percent of its weekly offerings.
But now the 65-member evangelical church outside Jackson is in survival mode. Which, to Stuckey, feels like a test of faith.
“I made a commitment to God, to my people. We’ve been teaching and preaching faith. Anyone can be a leader, but if you’re a faith leader, what do we do?” he asked. “Do we fold, or do we become a living example of what we’ve preached for so many years?”Read More…https://www.washingtonpost.com/religion/2020/04/24/church-budgets-coronavirus-debt/