Home Christian News Lifeway Research: Most Churches Find Financial Stability in 2021

Lifeway Research: Most Churches Find Financial Stability in 2021

“We see great improvement in the number of churches with a downward trend in giving,” said McConnell. “A year ago, more than a third of churches had seen giving decline, and 13 percentage points fewer say so today. Some of those churches may still be working to get back to 2019 levels, but the number with declining income is back around the historic norm.”

When asked about the specific percentage change from last year to this, 3 in 4 pastors (74%) say it is at or above 2020’s offering, including 47% who say it is the same, 9% who say it is up from 1% to 9%, 15% who say giving is up from 10% to 24%, and 3% who say the offering at their church has gone up by 25% or more.

Still, other pastors note a further decline in giving since 2020. For 3%, offering dropped by less than 10%. Another 11% say it fell 10% to 24%. Around 1 in 14 churches (7%) say giving decreased by 25% or more since 2020.

“Churches where the financial news is bad, it tends to be really bad,” said McConnell. “Among churches with offerings below 2020, the declines are typically steep, double-digit declines in year-over-year giving. These churches are having to radically rethink their ministry.”

Trouble Areas

While most pastors saw giving bounce back after 2020, others in some demographics continued to struggle with the economic fallout of the pandemic.

In recent years, African American pastors have been more likely to say the economy was having a negative impact on their congregation. In 2021, they were less likely than their white counterparts to say the economy was a neutral force for their church (39% to 51%).

African American pastors are also more likely than white pastors to say their giving in 2021 was lower than budgeted (43% to 25%). Specifically, they are 3.5 times more likely than white pastors to say their offering was down by 25% or more (21% to 6%).

Mainline Protestant churches are faring worse financially than evangelical ones. Mainline pastors are more likely than evangelical pastors to say their 2021 giving has been lower than budgeted (32% to 24%). Pastors at mainline churches are also more likely than those at evangelical congregations to say their giving is below 2020’s levels (26% to 20%).

“Mainline and African American churches were slower to resume in-person worship services amid the pandemic,” said McConnell. “This reduced face-to-face contact appears to have impacted giving in these churches.”

This article originally appeared here.

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Aaron Earls is online editor of FactsAndTrends.net where this article originally appeared...