How are churches in the U.S. faring during this seemingly endless economic downturn? Pretty well, according to a new study released in April by Leadership Network. Overall, the researchers found, churches are doing better than the national economy—and growing churches, in fact, appear to be doing well economically.
The report, which comprised research from Leadership Network as well as other studies throughout 2008 and 2009, affirmed “that churches are not facing the pinch nearly to the level that other nonprofits are, much less the rest of society.” This is reflected in the finding that 53 percent of surveyed churches in 2009 said they still expected that income would increase during the following year. However, this is a drop from 74 percent in 2008, and a significant decrease from the 96 percent who believed the same in 2006.
Other notes of interest included that 63 percent of pastors believed their churches would meet their budgets for 2009. And among churchgoers who attend services more than once a week, 60 percent said they intended to give the same amount in 2009 as in 2008. Twenty-one percent said they planned to give more.
Perhaps the economic slump is also providing unique ministry opportunities. The report noted that a large number of churches—85 percent—are planning at least two initiatives in 2009 to help members of their fellowships learn to manage their finances and giving in a way consistent with biblical principles.
For more information or to download the complete survey, visit www.leadnet.org.