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. Patrick Johnson on Thu, October 08, 2009

      I like the model Tim Keller uses to talk to his people about money.  TIm uses the Creation, Fall, Redemption story and applies it to money.  So:

      Creation - God owns it all - 10% acknowledges His ownership. 

      Fall - Sin causes us to struggle with materialism - giving above 10% helps break the hold of materialism in our lives

      Redemption - grace giving where the numbers don’t add up - we follow Christ’s radical model of generosity - See 2 Cor. 8: 9

      All of us should be striving to get to the grace giving category, especially in light of the affluent culture we live in.

    2. Patrick Johnson on Thu, October 08, 2009

      Pastor Matt,

      I give through Kiva AND to my local church.  I love them both. 

      I also meet with church leaders all over the country and believe I’m seeing a trend toward more outward Kingdom generosity by churches.  Frances Chan’s church gives .50 of every $1 outside the church.  I was with a church in Houston that follows that model.  And another one in Chattanooga who does the same.  I also see a movement among younger church planters to focus on external ministry versus church buildings.  Bottom line - I’m encouraged.

      I also think the economic free fall has caused many pastors to step back and think about the models that we’ve been following during “fat times”.  They are questioning debt, big buildings, etc.

    3. Pastor Matt on Thu, October 08, 2009

      Oh I’m sure most churches are doing some good.  I just think there is much greater efficiency to be had elsewhere.

    4. Patrick Johnson on Thu, October 08, 2009

      So is the primary goal of giving efficiency?

      And are parachurch ministries REALLY that much more efficient than churches? 

      My experience has been that the parachurch looks so much better than the church world because it’s hard to get a good look under the hood.  Churches are messy…..givers experience the mess….that hinders confidence in giving.

    5. Pastor Matt on Thu, October 08, 2009

      Actually, efficiency of money received to money invested in lives in the local community is a very good goal - it is hard to argue otherwise but don’t let me stop you.

      Churches as they are now are very different beasts to what Jesus said he was going to build.

      Perhaps it is because God has called me to be self-financed that I see this differently to you guys, but to be honest I’ve seen enough pastors going for another building (that will likely sit empty for 90% of daylight hours), another staff member, whatever, and asking his burdened congregation to give sacrificially to support his latest vision.

      My point is not that all Churches are ineffective, but that the answer to advancing the kingdom and building the church is prayer & fasting, not money.

    6. Peter Hamm on Thu, October 08, 2009

      Pastor Matt writes [Churches as they are now are very different beasts to what Jesus said he was going to build.]

      Sorry, I have to disagree. You’ve seen some abuses, and your “self-financed” position gives you a different perspective for sure, but there were problems like ours in the early church, too. But we are the church Jesus built.

    7. Pastor Matt on Thu, October 08, 2009

      I could never agree that the churches up and down western society look anything like the church that Jesus is building.  Sure, God in his mercy uses our churches to a degree, but seriously western Christianity is so far from the vision its not funny. 

      Anyway, once again I shall just have to disagree with a fellow commenter and leave it at that.

    8. Leonard on Fri, October 09, 2009

      Pastor Matt, I am curious, what is it you do that is so different than the western church and pastor?  I am curious.

    9. Shane Allen on Sun, October 11, 2009

      Hmm… I must jump in the fray… first When Christ was speaking to the Pharisees he said they paid tithe of mint and cummin which they ought to do.  Christ told them they should do this and not leave the other thing in the law out.  Paul said that a servant is worthy of his hire and “1 Cor 9:13-15 13 Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar?  14 Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.  15 But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void.”

      Pastor Matt, How are you �self-financed”?  Do you own a company or work a regular job, or what?  As for me I pastor own a small freight company, mow lawns, do handyman work and am looking for another source of income.  I spend so much time working to pay the bills I feel that my Church is suffering and I don’t feel like a very effective shepherd.  Sometime I feel like a very sorry one for sure but I don’t know what else to do.  I feel with all my preaching (3 times a week and Sunday School) as well as the other jobs mowing etc. and trying to be a father and a husband I am not doing what God has called me to do.  Feed his sheep.  I only wished that I could focus more on giving myself to fasting and prayer so I can minister the word more effectively.  I also witness with tracts at the store, gas station etc. and when I have time to door to door with my testimony letter.  I want to see souls saved but I pray one day that my people will tithe enough that they can support me full time so I can do what I feel God is calling me to.  Do you think that is wrong?  I am curious about your views as well.

    10. RevJay on Mon, October 12, 2009

      Let’s face it folks, people pay for what they receive. There is no incentive for people in the USA to go to church if all they are going to get isd what they can get on TV. Why go for the ‘concert’ and message if I can see it for free, a week later on the tube? The big names out there are pushing the crowds to the book stores and the small town preachers are just a stop on a Sunday to visit with friends after a service of ‘Blah, blah, blah…” I think 2.56% is high… Where there is no vision the people parish. Preachers and ministers are killing visions all around us by giving us no “Bacon” to chew on (pun intended - Joel) People need the Lord and not the bacon… Preachers have given way to the social ills that are driving them to shoot for the dramatic and not the dynamic.

    11. rbud on Mon, October 12, 2009

      Peter, thanks, I didn’t mean to imply that a tithe was all there was to giving. However, I think tithing is a good place to start. Understanding tithing helps people understand a sense of financial responsibility toward their church. It also offers a starting place for understanding both need and value in ministry. Most people, I believe, do not think well in abstract terms, so placing value on church can for many be an illusive approach to financial responsibility. If we only preach that people need to give because the church needs money to operate, at some point the church risks being in the position of a beggar always looking for a handout. Its a poor and unsavory image, when that fact of the matter is that church members need to take a certain sense of individual responsibility toward church financial matters that are above pocket change only when it feels good. Tithing, then is a valuable tool toward financial responsibility.

    12. Richard Griffin on Mon, October 12, 2009

      Interesting discussion; one point.

      Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also,” not, “Where your heart is, there you send your treasure.”

      If Jesus was right, the order is, “Give money to build passion”, rather than “increase passion to increase giving.”

      Speaking personally, I find that the tithe is the tipping point for me spiritually.  God’s principle is “Freely you have received, freely give”; Mammon says, “Get as much as you can get for as little as you can give.”  When I give less than 10% I end up living my life by Mammon’s principle and my worries about money increase.  When I give 10% it seems like I cross a threshold into living life by God’s principle and I’m freed up from worrying about money.  (I actually have less money to spend, don’t get me wrong - but I worry about it less.)

      Like silence, solitude, and prayer, giving is one of the actions we undertake as a discipline, not as (initially) a passion.

    13. Gino on Mon, October 12, 2009

      Very interesting discussion & sorry to get in on it so late.  There is much to comment on but I hoped to get a different thought out there since I just preached on this yesterday…

      One of the problems is that the church (both leaders & lay) have allowed (even encouraged) the government to take over in areas that should be our responsibility.  As a result, far too many Christians see the government as the ones who help the poor etc (“I mean, that is where my tax dollars go, right?” - that’s the mentality).  But the government will never be able to do what the church is designed by God to do & be - a grace filled, Spirit filled, Christ loving community. 

      It’s time to take back that calling & challenge Christians (including ourselves) to be the church once again.  That’s what the Acts 2, 4 passages show us about the early church. 

      One other thought - people need to get more involved in each other’s lives again & we need to be a more transparent church.  It starts at home & spreads (see Galatians 6:10).  By the grace of God, it can happen…

    14. David Andrus on Mon, October 12, 2009

      Interesting debate, but, as a Pastor of a church I am always concerned that people, myself included, look for the bottom line.  The New Testament candidly speaks about the depth of love for the Savior in regards to giving.  My personal thrust with our congregation has to do with personal love for the Master when it comes to the act of worship called giving.  Superficial love will always result in pitiful giving.

    15. Roger on Mon, October 12, 2009

      I’m not giving MY money.  It’s all God’s.  Tithing happened in the Bible hundreds of years before the law was ever written.  It is the principle of first fruits.  It all belongs to God but the first tenth the tithe “is holy to the Lord.”  So while it is all His he trusts us with the 90% but consecrates the 10% for specific purpose.  If I use it for my purposes then I desecrate what He has consecrated.

    16. Page 2 of 5 pages  <  1 2 3 4 >  Last »

      Post a Comment

    17. (will not be published)

      Remember my personal information

      Notify me of follow-up comments?