Numbers matter, in both attendance and giving

Church and finance |

Over the last 3 years, 35% of congregations have experienced a decline in giving and 17% have stayed the same.

Over the last 3 years, 35% of congregations have experienced a decline in giving and 17% have stayed the same. How are you addressing these trends?

Lake Institute on Faith and Giving has been a partner of Everence® since 2012. Because of this partnership, we are invited to annual gatherings for ongoing training.

At the most recent gathering, we had early access to their newest research project, titled A National Study of Congregations’ Economic Practices (NSCEP). Dr. David King, Executive Director of Lake Institute, spearheaded the project.

Following are a few research findings from this 2018 study on religious practice and giving in America.

Demographics regarding religious attendance and affiliation in the USA:

  • 28% Mainline Protestant.
  • 43% Evangelical Protestant.
  • 14% Historic black Protestant.
  • 10% Roman Catholic.
  • 5% non-Christian (Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, other).

Demographics regarding congregational size: 

85% of congregations consist of fewer than 250 adults, and 64% have fewer than 100. There are about 350,000 total congregations of all faiths in the U.S.

  • 38% of congregations have 10-49 adult participants.
  • 26% of congregations have 50-99 adult participants.
  • 21% of congregations have 100-249 adult participants.
  • 12% of congregations have 250-999 adult participants.
  • 3% of congregations have 1,000+ adult participants.

Congregational budget size over last 3 years

(A total of $125 billion was contributed to congregations in 2018.)

  • 28% of congregations had a budget of $0-99k.
  • 33% of congregations had a budget of $100-249k.
  • 17% of congregations had a budget of $250-499k.
  • 13% of congregations had a budget of $450-999k.
  • 9% of congregations had a budget of $1 million+.

Change in giving trends over the last 3 years

  • 48% of congregations have experienced an increase in giving.
  • 35% of congregations have experienced a decrease in giving.
  • 17% of congregations have stayed the same in giving.

As we reflect on trends in church participation and giving, we would do well to consider the longer-term implications.

More information will be coming to our stewardship consultants over the next several weeks. We encourage you to be in touch with them if you’d like to review the more complete report. They can help you consider where your congregation fits into the evolving trends and what you might do to prepare for the changes ahead.

You’re also encouraged to seek more information about attending a Cultivating Generous Congregations training event in your community. Contact your Everence® stewardship consultant for more information or be in touch with me if you have questions.

Author

Beryl Jantzi
Director of Stewardship Education