October 16 – Our Churches: Giving

Cheerfully Give

Vital Sign Religious Freedom

Vanco, an organization that assists and tracks church giving and tithing, recently published some interesting statistics compiled by a survey of 1,000 churches. Here are a few: 

  • 5 percent of churchgoers tithe. 
  • Of those who tithe, 77 percent give more than 10 percent. 
  • For those who do not tithe but who give, the average weekly giving amount per churchgoer is $17. 
  • Between 1990 and 2015, the share of overall donations giving to faith organizations dropped 50 percent. 

In September 2022, the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA)  reported on a poll of churches and nonprofits taken in January 2020, just before people became aware of COVID-19. The survey asked whether or not the respondents were optimistic about the financial outlook for 2020, and their responses were overwhelmingly positive. Then came the pandemic. A follow-up survey was conducted five months later, with the expectation that optimism had fallen. 

Surprisingly, three times as many churches said they were “optimistic” rather than “uncertain” about their finances for the coming months. Several months later, the outlook was the same. 

Yet in September 2022, giving has been significantly under church budgets. 

According to a report from Giving USA, faith-based organizations made up the largest sector for giving. The trend does not seem to be changing. 

Though uncertain days remain ahead as the nation teeters between inflation and recession, ECFA stated, “God is working through these unprecedented times. … There is nothing God can’t handle.” 

A report from Gallup in January 2022 found that 44 percent of Americans say they gave money to religious organizations in 2021, a number unchanged from 2020. However, this was the lowest in Gallup’s trend studies by a significant margin. 

Roughly a third of the 50 largest nonprofits in the U.S. have a faith connection. And 40 percent of international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are faith-inspired. 

Faith-based organizations remain a valued and trusted part of America’s past, present, and future. Contributing to them is significant to the fabric of the nation. 

The apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian church, “On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come. And when I arrive, I will send those whom you accredit by letter to carry your gift to Jerusalem” (1 Corinthians 16:2-3).  

In his second letter to that church, Paul wrote, “The point is this; whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:6-8). 

How then should we pray? 

  • For the leaders of faith-based organizations and nonprofits to utilize well the donations they are given.
  • For wisdom for pastors and congregational leaders as they determine the budgets for their churches and houses of worship.
  • For clear direction from the Lord regarding what you are to give and to whom.
  • For ministry executives and boards of directors to seek the Lord for discernment in how best to apply the funds they receive.
  • For organizations like ECFA and Charity Navigator evaluate and review charitable organizations to ensure that contributions are properly administered.

See previous Pray 7 daily featured readings.

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