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Church Giving Outlook: You've Got Some Time

Research shows that members' contributions stay steady through first years of recession.

General philanthropic giving is decreasing as the economy worsens, The Chronicle of Philanthropy reported earlier this month. But experts say church giving will likely increase for at least the next year.

Economists are unwilling to predict the length and depth of a potential economic recession, said Wheaton College professor of economics P. J. Hill, although they agree that the economy is slowing down.

"It's early to make an assessment about whether we are going into a very short, sharp one, or whether it's going to be an extended period of time say two or three years," Hill said. "There's a huge amount of controversy about how long and how deep it is going to be."

Despite the recession, "the fundamentals of the economy remain strong," as they say—at least for church giving.

Based on past recessions, church members will keep giving to their congregations, at least for now, said Sylvia Ronsvalle, executive vice president of empty tomb inc., a research ministry based in central Illinois. ...

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