Tough Economy Hits Churches Hard

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Tough Economy Hits Churches Hard
A survey released Monday found that the country's dire economic situation is now negatively impacting houses of worship and nonprofits across the nation.
Tough Economy Hits Churches Hard
[12.02.08] According to the latest Barna
Research survey
the world’s current economic woes have taken a major toll
on churches and nonprofits.

The Barna survey took a random sampling of more than 1,200 adult respondents
across the country, one of every five households has decreased its giving to
churches or religious organizations in recent months. Nonprofits have been hit
the hardest, with almost one-third of all adults (31 percent) donating less to
such groups. Among individuals cutting back on their giving, almost one in five
reduced it by as much as 20 percent. Seventeen percent slashed their giving in
half, while 11 percent decreased what they gave away by more than half. The
study showed that 22 percent have stopped giving altogether.

Not surprisingly, those hit hardest by the economic downturn—and subsequently
giving less to churches—are households making less than $20,000, as well as the
43 percent of families struggling with “serious financial debt.”

Among those surveyed who attend church, more than one-third said their church
had specifically addressed the economic turmoil. A larger percentage of
churches (39 percent among Protestant churches) had offered financial
counseling to those struggling, while about half (52 percent) had created
opportunities for congregants to receive such material assistance as food or

“Most nonprofits and churches count on the fourth quarter of the year to
produce at least one-third of their annual income,” said researcher George
Barna. “[But] the giving patterns we're witnessing suggest that churches,
alone, will receive some $3 billion to $5 billion dollars less than expected
during this fourth quarter.”

“The average church can expect to see
its revenues dip about 4 to 6 percent lower than would have been expected
without the economic turmoil. We anticipate that other nonprofit organizations
will be hit even harder,” he concluded.

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