(405) 425-5070
Photo by iStock, used with permission

Uncle Sam helped congregations, Christian universities meet payroll

Thousands of church and faith-based higher ed jobs were retained through the federal Payroll Protection Program.

At least 47 Churches of Christ across the nation received loans of $150,000 or more through the federal government’s coronavirus relief bill, a Christian Chronicle analysis found.

In all, those Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act loans amounted to at least $9,450,000 — and as much as $23 million — for Churches of Christ, according to a list released this week by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the passage of the $670 billion Payroll Protection Plan — which was designed to avert mass layoffs by the nation’s small businesses.

Related: Uncle Sam pays some church salaries

Roughly 1,900 jobs, from ministry staff to daycare workers, were retained by the Churches of Christ listed. However, the federal data did not cite specific numbers for a few congregations that received funds. 

Also, the names of loan recipients, including churches, that received less than $150,000 were not released. Those unidentified recipients comprise more than 80 percent of the total loans.

Meanwhile, at least 10 higher education institutions associated with Churches of Christ got loans. 

The combined total amount received by those universities fell between $11,200,000 and $27,350,000. Roughly 2,500 jobs were retained at those schools, according to the government.

Noticeably absent from the list: Abilene Christian University in Texas, Harding University in Searcy, Ark., Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn., and Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif. Generally, organizations, including faith-based institutions, that employ fewer than 500 people were eligible for the funds. Those universities all exceeded the limit.

Recipients can apply for loan forgiveness if they spend at least 75 percent on payroll costs and the balance on mortgage interest, rent and utilities. 

Churches of Christ debated whether to accepted Uncle Sam's help or not.

Churches of Christ debated whether to accepted Uncle Sam’s help or not.

After the Payroll Protection Plan’s passage, many congregations across the nation debated whether to seek government assistance or rely entirely on member contributions. 

Of the nation’s 30 largest Churches of Christ (as reported in a directory published by 21st Century Christian), 19 congregations were among those receiving loans of $150,000 or more.

The data analysis was conducted for the Chronicle by Ryan Burge, an assistant professor of political science at Eastern Illinois University. 

Listed below are the Churches of Christ and Christian universities identified by the government:

$2 million to $5 million

Faulkner University, Montgomery, Ala. (494 jobs retained).

Freed-Hardeman University, Henderson, Tenn. (380 jobs retained).

Lubbock Christian University, Texas (321 jobs retained).

Oklahoma Christian University, Oklahoma City (440 jobs retained).

$1 million to $2 million

Florida College, Temple Terrace, Fla. (144 jobs retained).

Rochester University, Rochester Hills, Mich. (214 jobs retained).

The Hills Church of Christ, North Richland Hills, Texas (254 jobs retained).

$350,000 to $1 million

Crowley’s Ridge College, Paragould, Ark. (77 jobs retained).

Pleasant Valley Church of Christ, Little Rock, Ark. (48 jobs retained).

York College, Nebraska (240 jobs retained).

Memorial Road Church of Christ, Edmond, Okla. (39 jobs retained).

Related: Should Uncle Sam pay minister salaries for Churches of Christ?

Harpeth Hills Church of Christ, Brentwood, Tenn. (32 jobs retained).

Highland Street Church of Christ, Cordova, Tenn. (45 jobs retained).

North Boulevard Church of Christ, Murfreesboro, Tenn. (74 jobs retained).

Otter Creek Church of Christ, Brentwood, Tenn. (61 jobs retained).

Brentwood Oaks Church of Christ, Austin, Texas (100 jobs retained).

Ohio Valley University, Vienna, W.Va. (173 jobs retained).

$150,000 to $350,000

Twickenham Church of Christ, Huntsville, Ala. (28 jobs retained).

Southwest Church of Christ, Jonesboro, Ark. (15 jobs retained).

Campbell Church of Christ, California (number of jobs retained not available).

Hilltop Community Church of Christ, El Segundo, Calif. (22 jobs retained).

Campus Church of Christ, Norcross, Ga. (15 jobs retained).

North Atlanta Church of Christ, Georgia. (34 jobs retained).

North River Church of Christ, Marietta, Ga. (27 jobs retained).

Southeastern Church of Christ, Indianapolis (36 jobs retained).

The Park Church of Christ, Tulsa, Okla. (34 jobs retained).

Related: COVID-19: Numbers and beyond, what Churches of Christ need to know

College Hills Church of Christ, Lebanon, Tenn. (14 jobs retained).

East Brainerd Church of Christ, Chattanooga, Tenn. (number of jobs retained not available).

Ethos Church of Christ, Nashville, Tenn. (33 jobs retained).

Fourth Avenue Church of Christ, Franklin, Tenn. (14 jobs retained).

Hendersonville Church of Christ, Tennessee (number of jobs retained not available).

Karns Church of Christ, Knoxville, Tenn. (11 jobs retained).

Madison Church of Christ, Tennessee (23 jobs retained).

Riverside Church of Christ, Fayetteville, Tenn. (45 jobs retained).

A&M Church of Christ, College Station, Texas (64 jobs retained).

Alpine Church of Christ, Longview, Texas (60 jobs retained).

Broadway Church of Christ, Lubbock, Texas (37 jobs retained).

First Colony Church of Christ, Sugar Land, Texas (59 jobs retained).

Golf Course Road Church of Christ, Midland, Texas (48 jobs retained).

Grace Crossing Community Church of Christ, Conroe, Texas (52 jobs retained).

Green Lawn Church of Christ, Lubbock, Texas (48 jobs retained).

Greenville Oaks Church of Christ, Allen, Texas (48 jobs retained).

Heritage Church of Christ, Fort Worth, Texas (22 jobs retained).

Highland Church of Christ, Abilene, Texas (91 jobs retained).

Highland Oaks Church of Christ, Dallas (27 jobs retained).

Legacy Church of Christ, North Richland Hills, Texas (19 jobs retained).

Monterey Church of Christ, Lubbock, Texas (30 jobs retained).

Preston Road Church of Christ, Dallas (19 jobs retained).

Prestoncrest Church of Christ, Dallas (22 jobs retained).

Richardson East Church of Christ, Huntsville, Texas (44 jobs retained).

Related: As thousands die from the coronavirus, does Jesus care?

Saturn Road Church of Christ, Garland, Texas (17 jobs retained).

Singing Oaks Church of Christ, Denton, Texas (26 jobs retained).

Skillman Church of Christ, Dallas (25 jobs retained).

Southern Hills Church of Christ, Abilene, Texas (34 jobs retained).

Southwestern Christian College, Terrell, Texas (number of jobs retained not available).

McDermott Road Church of Christ, Plano, Texas (22 jobs retained).

Westover Hills Church of Christ, Austin, Texas (26 jobs retained).

BOBBY ROSS JR. is Editor-in-Chief of The Christian Chronicle. Reach him at [email protected].

Filed under: business Christian universities Coronavirus coronavirus aid Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act COVID-19 federal government National Top Stories Uncle Sam

View Comments

Don’t miss out on more stories like this.

Subscribe today to receive more inspiring articles like this one delivered straight to your inbox twice a month.

Did you enjoy this article?

Your donation helps us not only keep our quality of journalism high, but helps us continue to reach more people in the Churches of Christ community.

Personal Info

Dedicate this Donation

In Honor/Memory of Details

Card Notification Details

Credit Card Info
This is a secure SSL encrypted payment.
Billing Details

Donation Total: $3 One Time