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"All of us should be on a journey of faith, and we should be ever increasing our commitment to resources for God's kingdom. It's a good thing to continue to strive to grow and to reach more people. But the qualification comes in that there are many regions of the country where the economic outlook is going to continue to be difficult and a challenge. So for those parts of the country where unemployment is high, foreclosures are high, and financial stress on small businesses continues to be high, I would say increase your budget, but do so with full awareness of the challenges and pain that may exist in your congregation, and certainly do so without incurring debt."

"Yes, but modestly. Next year is the third year of a presidential cycle. The head of the Federal Reserve Board is appointed by the president; he wants to be accommodating because there's an election coming up and everyone votes their wallets in this country. The net result is that there has not been a decline in the U.S. stock market in the third year of a presidency since the Great Depression."

"What we see is cautious optimism on the part of our church members. Donations seem to be trending upwards somewhat. Some of them are still down five to 10 percent compared to a year ago, but there is increasing optimism on the part of churches as we see some positive trends in the giving."

"I don't know whether churches should or shouldn't increase their budgets. We do know from the research that very few churches are intentionally planning for recalibrating their ministry and their structure to meet the demands of a new economy. Churches ought to be more intentional about that. They're not taking a proactive stance about being nimble; they're trying to cut costs, rather ...

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July 2010

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