Written by Nikki Rach, Director of Client Services KPIs

The new realities of the pandemic are beginning to have a financial impact on our churches. But there is some good news among the challenges churches are facing.

According to a LifeWay Research survey of 400 pastors, about half said giving has decreased from earlier in the year.[1] Only 18 percent stated that giving remained the same.[2]

With Easter—the largest giving Sunday of the year—behind us, churches are discerning ways to grow the generosity of their members, determining other funding sources, and facing difficult ministry and staffing decisions.

To further complicate the situation, amidst the drop in giving, the need for pastoral care has grown. Parishioners face uncertainties about job and income. Shelter at home mandates have forced us to disconnect when we know God created us for relationships. These realities have led to a rise in depression, spiritual searching, and tangible needs of food and shelter.

Connection, hope, and faith—the strength of the church—are what people are searching for today and what churches are best equipped to provide. Today’s climate begs the question, how can the church meet the rising need with diminishing financial resources?

To answer that question, we must look at how churches got to where they are today. Diminishing church giving directly correlates to two factors: online worship and a low rate of online giving subscribers.

First, the shift to remote worship means people are not present to give to the weekly offering. According to Lake Institute of Faith & Giving, 78 percent of money given to churches is received in the context of a worship service, with a check or cash.[3] Remote worship creates the logistical impossibility of passing a plate.

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[1] Aaron Earls, “Most Churches Have Stopped Gathering, Few Plan to Meet on Easter,” LifeWay Research, April 2, 2020, https://lifewayresearch.com/2020/04/02/most-churches-have-stopped-gathering-few-plan-to-meet-on-easter/ 

[2] Ibid. 

[3] David P. King et al., “The National Study of Congregations’ Economic Practices,” Lake Institute on Faith and Giving (Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, September 2019), https://www.nscep.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Lake_NSCEP_09162019-F-LR.pdf  

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The generous will prosper: those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.
(Proverbs 11:25)

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