Yesterday I drove down to Pennsylvania for a meeting. There is so much more snow down south at the moment. I was listening to the radio and it was being reported that there was actually snow on the ground in all 50 states (even Hawaii at high elevations). Texas, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama … all have snow!
The three very large systems, that buried Washington DC in over 50 inches, all missed us to the South (mercifully). Talking to pastors from down there, there are some who have had to cancel church services 3 Sundays this year. Ouch!
I remember we were hit like that a couple of winters back, and lost 2 Sundays. It disupts everything, of course. Planned series and special events all have to be rescheduled, and you feel like you’re losing your sense of contact and continuity with each other.
But the practical side of it is that when the church doesn’t meet, they don’t have the usual opportunity to receive offerings. When you do get back to regular services, some people will “back-pay” what they would have given. I can testify, however, that you never quite make it up. Some of that giving is lost. I don’t know too many churches that have large cash reserves – we mostly all live month to month – so it really hurts.
This comes at a time when churches were already stretched because of the situation with the economy, many members having lost jobs, AND everyone trying to respond to the tragedy in Haiti. Many churches were already cutting their budgets and laying off staff.
Pray for the American churches that are really under the pump with this latest challenge. It’s snow joke! (Sorry) Ultimately God will use all this to strengthen us, teaching us to rely on Him and not to be wasteful. But it’s tough right now for many.
Thankfully, our own church (having not lost Sundays) is doing pretty well. But I’m praying for my brothers and sisters further South.