An Ohio megachurch among several churches nationwide to receive millions of dollars last year under the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program has announced it will give away $2.5 million over the next 25 weeks.
"God has blessed Crossroads over the past 25 years and we don't take that lightly, so we want to use what we've been given to bring positive change in the communities we serve," the church’s founder and Senior Pastor Brian Tome said in a statement. "That means sharing our resources with partners who are doing good work. Where God is moving, we want to be investing."
City Gospel Mission, a Cincinnati organization that helps fight homelessness, will be gifted $100,000 to become the first of 40 organizations in the area to receive a donation, WKRC reported.
"There will be some tears. I can tell you that right now. I think there'll be a lot of joy and hope, hope to our staff," David Pinson of City Gospel Mission told the news outlet. "Hope is getting it to those people, the hurting people that we work with because it will get around, and people will know that, and that might even attract people to us as well."
The multi-campus church, which had an estimated weekly attendance of over 35,000 in 2018, was started in Cincinnati in 1995. It now has 10 locations throughout Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton and Lexington.
“We’re so thankful to the city, we’re so grateful for all the nonprofits that are in the city so as a result of our 25th anniversary we are going to put a little dot in between 2 and 5, giving 2.5 million dollars in the next 25 weeks,” Tome said in his statement.
The funds for the community giveback are expected to come from the church’s operational budget.
“God’s made a difference in us, and we want to make a difference in our communities. That’s just what we want to do," Tome said. “City Gospel Mission will receive $100,000, and then we are going to be unveiling what organizations we are going to bless over the next 25 weeks."
Tome, who expects to help organizations in India and Haiti, told WLWT5 his goal for the next 25 years is to “enjoy life and serve God diligently and make aggressive moves as a church to bless our city."
When his church was awarded $3.6 million in forgivable PPP loans last year, Tome said he initially didn’t realize churches could be helped that way.
“We were going, 'wait a minute, really?' Churches are generally left out of those kind of programs,” he told WCPO.
“When you take a look at the value churches offer the social sector, it is enormous,” Tome noted earlier this year. “I think that the government at least this time around recognized that in this emotional crisis, financial crisis, spiritual — it’s a crisis of every kind of category possible — churches provide a meaningful service to the communities.”