I fished through some articles and some statistics and compiled the most interesting statistics in one post. These statistics will make you think, question, and doubt the responsibility of your leaders. I will admit, these giving statistics are not pretty, but I hope they make you rethink some things about stewardship in the Church today.
“in its 2008 report found 33.4% of estimated total giving, $103.32 billion, went to houses of worship and denominational organizations in 2007” (source).
Right off the bat, the first question is what is the Church doing with the money we have already? This is 103 billion were talking about here? Are we conquering world hunger? Do all the hidden tribes in Africa have printed bibles in their language? Are we taking care of the widows? Sure, there is pressure to give more and more, but are we fiscally responsible and efficient with the resources we are receiving already?
“85 percent of all church activity and funds is directed toward the internal operations of the congregation”. Add in another 2% going to overseas missions to support their budget costs. (1) (quote)
In the end, this leaves 13% that possibly might be used for practical purposes. Figuratively speaking, this also means that 85 billion dollars is used primarily to keep the lights on!
WOW! 85 billion dollars, that’s a lot of money, especially when you look at the new testament and see how money was used. From Acts through Revelation, you won’t find a single example where money was given or asked to meet anything besides basic needs, such as food, shelter, and health.
Granted, ministers’ salaries/needs are included in the 85 billion we spend internally, but as you can see there’s very little sacrifice for churches to give outside of their own needs. I see it as, “selfish”, but I’m sure others define it as, “sacrificial”
I think we need to separate churches from the term “ministry” because 13% of the church’s resources actually go towards administering needs.
“”Americans who earn less than $10,000 gave 2.3 percent of their income to religious organizations,” Smith, Emerson, and Snell write, “whereas those who earn $70,000 or more gave only 1.2 percent.” While the actual percentages are slightly higher for Christians who regularly attend church, the pattern is similar. Households of committed Christians making less than $12,500 per year give away roughly 7 percent of their income, a figure no other income bracket beats until incomes rise above $90,000 (they give away 8.8 percent).
In fact, in absolute terms, the poorest Christians give away more dollars than all but the wealthiest Christians.” (source)
Some things never change. The story of the widow and her mite still lives today.
“If members of historically Christian churches in the United States had raised their giving to the Old Testament’s minimum standard of giving (10% of income) in 2000, an additional $139,000,000,000 a year would become available assist in Christian based mission work.” (source)
Well let’s see after all the overhead is paid, and we have enough to run the machine, that leaves about 18 billion out of the 139 billion going towards practical needs. If you think that 139 billion is a lot of money, and we could use the tithe to do greater good, just hold your thoughts and listen to this next statistic.
In 2007, total charitable giving topped 300 billion (source)
Please . . . OH PLEASE! Tell me what a meager extra 139 billion would do. Christian stewards have received 370 BILLION dollars to do missions, spread the gospel, clothe the poor, feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, and provide ministry; and all we can do is cry about everyone tithing an extra 139 billion. Is 370 billion not enough?
“”Relatively little donated money actually moves much of a distance away from the contributors,” Smith, Emerson, and Snell write. The money given by the people in the pews, it turns out, is largely spent on the people in the pews. Only about 3 percent of money donated to churches and ministries went to aiding or ministering to non-Christians.” (source)
I have said this long before these statistics came out. Do you wonder why people struggle with selfishness? It’s because they are following their church’s example of giving. As a matter of fact, I said that we were “selfish” just above. I said that before I even read this giving statistic. Of course, I thought our external giving came to about 13%, but it looks as if I was off by 10%. We only use 3% towards practical ways of reaching the unsaved! Once again we spend only 3% of our budget to show the unsaved how generous our God is!
These giving statistics are sobering, saddening, and sickening. My giving is nothing to be proud of. What about you? How has your giving been? How does your church give? How much do you spend on your own church for yourselves, and how much do you spend on others? What do you think about these giving statistics?
- John L. Ronsvalle and Sylvia Ronsvalle, The State of Church Giving through 2000(Champaign, Ill.: Empty Tomb, 2002), 13