Church & Culture
4 Assumptions Pastors Can No Longer Make About Church Giving Patterns
While it’s still  true that people stop or slow their giving when they’re unhappy, that is no longer the only reason for a drop in giving.

Reaching the Unchurched: Churches filled with second, third or fourth generation believers will take in more money per person than churches who are reaching new people.

Changing Neighborhood Demographics: If your church demographics are a reflection of your neighborhood, then you’ll feel what the community feels financially. This is especially true in rural churches right now. As new generations move into the city, and businesses go with them, the financial plight of many rural areas – and the healthy churches that serve them – is dropping precipitously.

A Caution: We need to be careful not to use these possibilities as an excuse to say “Oh well, our funds are down, but that doesn’t mean anything’s wrong.” In the majority of cases, a drop in per person giving is probably signaling some kind of dysfunction. So we need to deal with that first.

2. New Believers May Not Realize How The Church Is Funded

Facebook is free to its users. So is Google, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest.

Ten years ago it would have been unimaginable to have such amazing tools, games and entertainment at our disposal for free. But today, we’re so used to it that we don’t even pause to think about how they get paid for.

Since we also receive most or all of the services of the local church for free, many new believers don’t think about how the church’s bills get paid any more than you spend thinking about how you get email for free.

Many new believers don’t think about how the church’s bills get paid any more than you spend thinking about how you get email for free.

Apps and websites pay for themselves through advertising, of course. But most churches rely entirely on donations.

But many folks, especially new believers, may not know this. I’ve had several recent conversations with new believers who thought that when the church passes the plate it’s like the public school having a bake sale. They think there’s some unknown entity paying the main bills, while the money they give is for extras.

We can’t assume anything any more. New believers need to be informed of the church’s financial realities and their biblical responsibilities.

3. Telling People About The Need Is Not Enough Any More

In previous generations, presenting a need was enough to get people to give. Not today.

Because of a growing distrust in all of our institutions, including the church, people need more information to convince them, not just that the need is real, but that it’s worthy of their hard-earned money.

Pivot is a part of CT's Blog Forum. Support the work of CT. Subscribe and get one year free.
The views of the blogger do not necessarily reflect those of Christianity Today.

January 05, 2018 at 10:26 AM

Join in the conversation about this post on Facebook.

Recent Posts

Read More from Karl

Follow Christianity Today

Free Newsletters