Archive for December, 2008


RECENT RESEARCH ON GIVING…& what to do about it.

December 9, 2008

Passing the Plate is the title of a recent book released by Oxford University Press that looks closely at religious giving in North America today. Very interesting….and alarming. I am tired of being alarmed…but here goes.

1. If protestant Americans who were able to give 10% did so….and we allow for those who can give nothing as well as for those who already give more than 10%….the church would experience a windfall of over 80 billion dollars.

2. While a few givers make major contributions, the biggest givers as a percentage of income, are the lowest income earners. The widows mite still speaks loudly! Those earning 10k or less gave 2.3% of their income while those earning 70k give only 1.2%.

3. Only about 3% of the money donated to churches actually serves non-christian needs. We tend to give to serve ourselves. If churches took a more outward focus and put their money into those efforts we may see a very different attitude toward the plate.

4. Many people do not give because they are not asked to directly by their leaders. Pastors may themselves be guilty of not giving and so are reluctant to preach on it. Meanwhile, the deep value of stewardship training goes neglected.

5. Giving habits are well served by financial training and coaching. While many view spontaneous giving as spiritual, the better approach is to encourage a disciplined, routine and planned approach.

For more on this see the recent Christianity Today cover article.