Friday, November 7, 2014

Protestant churches show economic improvement

By Jim Burton

The nation's slow economic recovery from a deep recession is showing up in the offering plates of Protestant churches in the U.S., according to a recent survey by LifeWay Research.
Although 56 percent of churches still report negative impact from the economy, 13 percent report a positive impact -- a jump of 4 percentage points from May 2012. When compared to the previous three years, churches are reporting less negative and more positive economic impact.
"The most recent recession revealed poor habits among Americans in terms of spending and lending," Scott McConnell, LifeWay Research director, said. "Surely churches have had to learn some of these same lessons."
Two-thirds of the churches surveyed report meeting or exceeding their 2014 budget. Nearly half (46 percent) are matching their budget, while 22 percent say receipts exceed their budget. Meanwhile, 29 percent of churches report receipts below budget.
When compared to 2013 giving, 74 percent of Protestant churches report offerings are at or above 2013 while 21 percent say receipts are lower than 2013.