How the Economic Slump is (or isn’t) Hitting Churches

Leadership // May 4, 2009

If America’s national recession and economic downturn are like a season of bad health, do churches have pneumonia, a bad cold, or merely the potential of illness?

Overall, churches are doing better than the national economy. If the economy has pneumonia, most churches either have only a cold or are adding precautions in anticipation of a possible illness. While all churches are closely monitoring their finances, and the situation is worsening for some, in general most churches are cautious but holding steady – and churches that are growing are doing well economically.

In an effort to get an accurate picture of the church’s current economic outlook, Leadership Network asked identical questions about the economy’s impact in surveys conducted in both 2008 and 2009. A comparison of the responses led to several surprises. In addition to Leadership Network’s own statistical analysis, the following report includes summaries and references to other recent research on church economics.

About Rusty Lewis

As a church leader, there’s nothing more frustrating than not having the funding to do what God’s calling you to do. But when you think about trying to address that problem, you feel overwhelmed, you dread the potential pushback from your congregation, and you’re not sure where to turn for help. Over the last 18 years, I’ve helped more than 120 churches close the gap between their current financial reality and what they need to move forward in ministry.

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