The market has been up and down, the economy is clearly down, and many try to predict the impact of the downturn upon giving. Certainly, in circles where giving is motivated by tax deductions, we’ll see giving drastically decline. But one thing we know: even in times of recession, giving often remains steady in the church.
God’s people often remain faithful even in the downturns. Giving of this kind is not motivated just by virtue of a tax deduction. Giving has its own virtue—the advance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ around the world, the support of the poor, the orphan, the widow, the needy.
But a recent Barna study out last week has revealed that the recession has impacted even Christian circles harder than expected. The results of the study, which looked at giving to churches over the last three months, can be summarized thus:
1) One out of every five households (20 percent) has decreased their giving to churches or other religious centers.
2) Among those who reduced their donations to churches, 19 percent dropped their giving by as much as 20 percent; five percent decreased their funding by 21 to 49 percent; 17 percent reduced their gift by half, and 11 percent cut their support by more than half.
3) A surprisingly large proportion, 22 percent, stopped their offering to churches altogether.
4) Upscale households were most likely to reduce their giving.
5) Barna projects $3 – $5 billion less for churches in 4th quarter.
6) Thirty-five percent of respondents said their church had offered a special talk about the financial hardship and ways to respond to it.
Fortunately in SCCF circles, we’ve seen giving rise nearly 60%. We’ve seen distributions rise at an even greater pace. It is an exciting time. I tell people that I envision the day when we might well deliver the final check for the completion of the Great Commission. What a privilege it would be to hand over the final check as some mission organization makes its way into some forgotten jungle tribe. These are indeed great times, and I believe the saints who’ve gone before us will run to greet us upon those streets of gold to hear our tales of great adventure of the incredible advance of the gospel.
You can decide which statistic you join – we invite you to come with us on our journey, trusting God to provide for His children.