I just finished reading yet another article on the economic climate’s effect on church giving in the United States. Many articles have been written and surveys conducted, portending to know the outcome for 2009.
While I agree there will be affects in many churches, it is unwise, even unfaithful, to believe that ALL churches will be affected negatively. Some continue to flourish, even in these times! Should our 2009 ministry plan (budget) anticipate a shortfall? Perhaps. It is thoughtful to be conservative in times like these.
But we know that in three of the last six recessions dating back to 1968, church giving actually increased! And two of the three instances where giving did decline in past recessions were in the final year of a multi-year recession. In a study published by The Empty Tomb, they concluded that giving does not necessarily decline due to an economic recession.
So what’s the problem? All these articles share the same “doom and gloom” without balancing the positive things that have and continue to occur in churches all over this land. Clients share with me the generosity welling up in their congregations to serve those that are truly hurting. Isn’t this the kind of opportunity that affords Christians to really shine the light of Christ? It has happened before!
Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints.
2 Corinthians 8:2-4