I got an interesting e-mail today from an organization calling itself the Evangelical Association for Financial Accountability.
It's launching a new workshop to give churches advice on how to make themselves recession proof. The full-day workshops will feature "presentations from ECFA executive staff, area professionals and prominent ministry experts on a variety of topics, including best church practices, best websites to increase giving and nonprofit tax, legal and accounting issues," according to the e-mail.
Churches certainly haven't been immune to this recession. According to the EAFA, 50 percent of Christian nonprofits cut their overall budgets for the 2009 fiscal year. I did a story back in December about how the economy had affected giving to York County churches. Many reported their giving to be flat or down from the previous year, which meant pay cuts for staff, ministries getting cut or scaled back, or other measures.
Some are surprised to see churches resort to pay cuts, furloughs and even layoffs when the economy goes south, but the reality is that they're struggling the same as many businesses. Churches rely on giving from their members to pay for everything from salaries to the electric bill. When their members see their paychecks getting smaller -- or eliminated -- there is a clear ripple effect.
This workshop (coming to Charlotte Sept. 17) is tailored for church pastors, ministry heads, board members, financial managers, chief executive officers and other church and ministry staff members, the e-mail says. Presentations will focus on topics including stewardship, leadership, church issues, board governance, legal issues, small church and nonprofit issues and financial management.
It will be interesting to see if any York County churches take part in this workshop.
For more information, or to register, visit www.ecfa.org.