Stemming The Silent, Second-Wave Crisis

Union montage

Rev. Mike Baughman of Union offers his insight on the need to support nonprofits

Second-wave crises always loom behind the tsunami effects of sudden disasters. In the wake of COVID-19 concerns, we are all aware of the ways that lifestyle changes are impacting restaurants, coffee shops and theaters. There is a silent, equally destructive wave of nonprofit organizations that have had to cancel spring fundraising events, lay off or furlough experienced staff, and pivot or suspend critical services.

I fear that in the wake of COVID-19, we will emerge from our living rooms and Zoom calls to find gaping holes in our society from closed, scaled back and atrophied nonprofit agencies. Nonprofit organizations stem the tide of the daily crises that result from poverty and inequity. As philanthropic giving, grants and resources shift to COVID-19-specific needs, many nonprofits are unable to scrape together the cash needed for even its most basic operations.

The North Texas Annual Conference is leading the way in the funding community by prioritizing support for the operational needs of area nonprofit agencies and providing $40,000 in matching funds for United Methodist-affiliated organizations participating in the North Texas Giving Tuesday Now on May 5. Many would expect The United Methodist Church to provide resources for its worshipping congregations, and it has. I’ve appreciated the webinars, grant opportunities and guidance from leadership.

What is unexpected by many in the nonprofit sector, including those affiliated with the church, is that the Annual Conference would see their need for operational support in the midst of COVID-19. Financial support like this builds relationship equity and bears witness to the world about critical, unspoken needs while putting real dollars to support the work that Christ values. 

Organizations that sit on the edge are always the ones most likely to take a dramatic fall when the ground of society shakes beneath our feet. The North Texas Annual Conference is providing some of the stability needed to keep our ministries operating on the edge of church and society’s greatest need.

This is what it looks like to tend to the widow, the outcast and the orphan – the stranger, the oppressed and the unseen. 

My hope is that the generosity displayed by the North Texas Annual Conference will not only breed gratitude, but that it will also inspire us – as pastors and congregations – to go and do likewise.

We, as congregations and pastors with guaranteed appointments, can generously extend the privilege of our financial sustainability to ministry on the shaky edges of society. Nonprofit organizations complement the work of the traditional church with expertise supporting communities many of us have yet to know so that these communities may find in Christ, through the church, a generous friend. 

Rev. Mike Baughman is the Community Curator and founding pastor of Union.

Published: Wednesday, April 29, 2020