Monday Morning Insights

Photo of Todd

    The Average Church Goer GIves at 2.56%

    Bookmark and Share
    The Average Church Goer GIves at 2.56%

    2.56%.  Seriously.  The new study just released said that if people would only give 10%, there would be an extra $161 BILLION dollars to work with...

    The report, published by Illinois-based research firm empty tomb, inc., also found that congregations continue to keep more money for their own needs instead of "benevolences" beyond the four walls of a church.

    The good news.  The general population gives just 1.8%, on average, to any kind of charity.

    said churches have become complacent -- "lukewarm" is the term the Bible uses -- and are no longer challenging themselves to do extraordinary things. There is a "lack of vision" and churchgoers have a hard time seeing how their contribution to missions can affect the world or its problems.

    "One of the changes that seems to have happened to the church in the United States is that it has moved away from vision," she said. "It's not challenging itself to be great. Don't go to safety, go for faithfulness."

    Example A: the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation's largest Protestant body, which has set a goal of recruiting 2,800 missionaries to contact all "unreached" people groups, but has not laid out a financial roadmap, or price tag, for how to get there, she said.

    One solution the report offers is through the idea of "wholesale billionaires" -- individuals with an ability to donate large sums of money -- and "retail billionaires" -- individuals whose small contributions, when combined with others, can add up for big impact.

    The report suggests that if wholesale billionaires make a pledge to match the total amount given by retail billionaires, congregations will see the impact of their individual contributions, and be more inspired to give.

    (OK, they lost me there... I understand, but that's kind of a weird way to go with the research).

    What do you think?  Have you done the research?  What does YOUR church give, on average?




    if you want a Globally Recognized Avatar (the images next to your profile) get them here. Once you sign up, they will displayed on any website that supports them.

    1. Brian Ayers on Wed, October 07, 2009

      very interesting.  Do you have a link to the full report I’d be interested to read more.

    2. Peter Hamm on Wed, October 07, 2009

      I think they might give a similar percentage of their time and talent, too…

    3. Mark Brooks on Wed, October 07, 2009

      empty tomb always has good stuff.  Typically their reports come out two years or so after the fact.  This allows them to be more thorough.  While it might not be the best news we have heard that average has been hovering around that mark for sometime.  Pastors that I work with are always surprised how few give so much.  It will be interesting to see what their 2008 study shows in terms of the recessions impact overall.

    4. Patrick Johnson on Wed, October 07, 2009


      50% of the people in the pew give $0 annually.

      30% - 40% of the people in the pew are tipping God.

      10% or less of the people give 10% or greater.

      If hearts truly do follow money, then are our people’s hearts really invested in the work of church?  And why is this true?

    5. Peter Hamm on Wed, October 07, 2009

      Patrick, GREAT breakdown… So…

      let’s say, worst case scenario, that passion follows money.

      so 10% of my congregation will “get it” and give their life (and resources) to the Great Commission, 30 - 40% of them will “kinda get it”, and half of them are just not there yet.

      I’LL TAKE IT! Wow, room to grow the church without adding one single more person! Be encouraged if your church is like that! It’s got potential like CRAZY!

    6. Patrick Johnson on Wed, October 07, 2009


      That’s an interesting and “glass half full” way of looking at it.  So my question to you as a church leader is how are you going to move each of these giver segments in your church to take a next step to fully embrace the Kingdom through their giving?  For that matter, how are we going to help them take a next step to Kingdom living in their marriage, in their work, in their friendships, etc.? 

      Perhaps money is just a CRYSTAL CLEAR barometer of true Kingdom commitment among church goers.  With your money, you just can’t pose like other areas of our walk.  So what kind of Kingdom Christians are our churches producing in light of these giving numbers?

    7. Peter Hamm on Wed, October 07, 2009

      Patrick asks [So my question to you as a church leader is how are you going to move each of these giver segments in your church to take a next step to fully embrace the Kingdom through their giving? ]

      I’m glad you asked! I don’t do anything to move them. I merely equip them for works of service as Ephesians says I’m designed as a gift to the church to, and if the Holy Spirit acts, GREAT!

      But we provide opportunities to love God and love our neighbor in really concrete ways here all the time, we think of it as our focus, as “being the church” and not “going to church”. I think we’re doing pretty well at that!

    8. rbud on Thu, October 08, 2009

      Peter, I’m not so sure passion follows money, as that money follows passion. People give where their hearts (passions) are.

      As Mark pointed out, this is not really news. I think the concept of tithing is largely lost today. People complaint when sermons talk about money, so we don’t talk about money. (Kind of goes back to the question of what entertains the most.)

      People also give based upon their perceived value of the service rendered. Like tipping at a restaurant. The old adage, 10% of the people do 90% of the work, follows equally as well here. The 90% of church-goers do not have a clear sense of the value they receive (do they receive value?). At least in a restaurant, you know the value based upon the check amount, so you tip 15-20% if you liked the food and service. In church, how do folks perceive value?

      We need to do a better job of instilling a commitment to tithing. We need to do a better jobs of instilling a sense of value from the worship experience. Since people tend to think on their wallets, is there a way to translate the value away from the entertainment component and toward the mission/ministry component?

      This may seem more philosophical than spiritual, but really it’s just practical to our modern day culture experience.

    9. Peter Hamm on Thu, October 08, 2009


      Misprint on my part. I meant to say that money follows passion…

      But although I think the tithe is a good place to start, I think we need to teach our people more of the concept that EVERYTHING is God’s and we are stewards of it. The danger of “stopping” at tithing is that people think that a mere 10% of what they have is what is required.

    10. Pastor Matt on Thu, October 08, 2009

      If everyone in the church gave 10% then we’d just have nicer church buildings, more church staff and bigger salaries, better computers, equipment, etc.  I wonder how much of that extra money would actually make a difference to your community, country, world.

    11. Pastor Matt on Thu, October 08, 2009

      Anyway, what does 10% have to do with anything?

      If you’re referring to a “tithe”, that is an old testament law that Jesus fulfilled so that we do not have to.  Pastors defend the concept of a tithe because their salaries and ministries depend on it.

      Jesus replaced it with an emphasis on heart-felt generosity but not toward an institution or a bunch of people working in a church building but to looking after orphans and widows.  Sure we see the odd “love offering” in Paul’s letters but not regular giving to pay the mortgage on a building and the pastors’ salaries. 

      Just another area where we have to wonder how far we’ve departed from the original vision.

    12. Peter Hamm on Thu, October 08, 2009

      Pastor Matt, with all due respect, do you not think that is a gross mis-charcterization? I know if our coffers were more full, we would expand our benevolence giving right alongside any staffing changes we’d make (Heck, in our community it’s not unusual for other churches to send people to us when they run out… we have that kind of rep for generosity), and we only build the building we need, not what we want.

      I might also suggest that every dime that is spent on our building, our salaries and even our office supplies is money spent on outreach. Every penny,

    13. Peter Hamm on Thu, October 08, 2009

      oh, you posted at the same time as me.

      As far as the “what does 10% have to do with anything?” I gotta agree. I always like to say that we’re not a “law” church, we’re a “grace” church. Means no, you don’t have to give 10%. Not at all. You’re free to give 12%, 15%, 25%, whatever you want! (I stole that from Erwin McManus.)

      Grace is where I can give and do more, not less…

    14. Pastor Matt on Thu, October 08, 2009

      >every dime that is spent on our building, our salaries and even our office supplies is money spent on outreach

      Well that is certainly what they want you to think - bless you for honouring your leaders.

      >10% giving

      Absolutely - the rich can give more, the poor can give less.  10% was always an unhealthy burden to the extremely poor and a let off for the rich (even our government gives us the first �6,000 tax-free).

      I just doubt the wisdom in giving it to church.  Maybe I’ve been in too many finance meetings in different churches over the past decade.

      Give your money to and make a difference.

    15. Peter Hamm on Thu, October 08, 2009

      Pastor Matt, churches in this society are actually reaching people and changing lives, like your church is doing. You write [Well that is certainly what they want you to think - bless you for honouring your leaders.] First off, I am on of the leaders. Second, I am sorry that your experience has created so much cynicism. The church is a tremendous source for good, THE good, in the world.

      Sorry that you can’t seem to see that.

    16. Page 1 of 5 pages  1 2 3 >  Last »

      Post a Comment

    17. (will not be published)

      Remember my personal information

      Notify me of follow-up comments?