Joe called during budget preparation season. His church was average, he said. Not too big. Regular givers, but no surplus. Joe hadn't had a raise. "Is it okay to ask for one?" he wondered. He also thought some ministries might be getting short shrift. He pointed out one program that received a large slice of the budget. "Is that normal?"
Joe sounded like a new father calling the pediatrician. Parents want to know if their kids are within normal ranges. Pastors ask, too—about their churches. Many of the calls we receive at Leadership could be summed up: "Is that normal?"
So periodically we turn to our research team at Christianity Today International, to find out. We may not be able to ascertain what's normal; but, given the idiosyncratic nature of congregations and the infinite range of responses, we can tell you, at least, what's average.
We mailed 1,184 surveys to randomly selected churches in the United States; 277 were completed for a 23 percent response rate. Results are considered ...1