Thursday, January 26, 2006

Barna on Stewardship...

Doug Bass of Crossword Bebop asked a question in my previous comments section - Odds and Ends post. The question was raised about Christians and their giving habits. I did a bit of digging on and found this collection of statistics.

Reported giving

* Over 80% of all households donated some money to at least one non-profit organization or a church in 2003, 2002 and 2001, compared with 84% in 2000 and 87% in 1999.
* The proportion of households that tithe their income to their church – that is, give at least ten percent of their income to that ministry – has dropped by 62% in the past year, from 8% in 2001 to just 3% of adults during 2002 (2003)
* 9% of born agains tithed 10% of their income to a house of worship in 2004.
* Nearly 9% of the evangelicals tithed in 2002 – roughly three times the national average. (2003)

Reported giving to the local church

* Six out of ten adults (61%) gave money to one or more churches in 2000, a small decline from 1999 (66%).
* The average church donor contributed a mean of $649 to churches in 2000, down from the $806 in 1999.
* 17% of born again adults tithed in 2003 compared to 6% in 2002, 14% in 2001 and 12% in 2000.
* Nearly one-quarter of all born again Christians (23%) gave no money to a church in 2000 – which is significantly lower than the 39% of all adults who made no financial contribution to a church in 2000.
* More Americans claim to tithe than actually do: 17% of adults claim to tithe while 6% actually do so. (2000)
* 12% of born again Christians (compared to 3% of non born agains) tithed their income to churches in 2000.
* The average cumulative donations to churches by evangelicals totaled $2097. For evangelicals, cumulative donations totaled $2097. (2000) Among the born again population, which represents 38% of all adults, the average giving to churches in 2003 was $1411 –much higher than a year earlier ($1220), but below previous year’s totals. (2004)
* Slightly more than half of all adults (54%) donate some money to a church during a typical month. (2000)
* Busters are substantially less likely (36%) than are Boomers (58%), Builders (68%) or Seniors (68%) to give to a church in a given month. (2000)
* Married adults are more likely than are single adults to donate some money to a church in a typical month (64% to 42% respectively). (2000)
* Close to two out of every three households (63%) donated some money to a church, synagogue or other place of religious worship during 2003. That percentage has remained constant since 2001, but is somewhat lower than the number of church donors identified in 2000 and in 1999 (66%).
* When contributions are examined as a percentage of household income, giving to religious centers represents about 2.2% of gross income. (2003)
* In total, one out of every twenty households (5%) tithed their pre-tax income to non-profit organizations. (2003)

Parachurch giving

* 36% of all adults – 47% of born agains – gave money to a religious organization, other than a church or worship center, in 2000.
* the average per capita amount given to a religious organization, other than church, by these donors was $176 (and $264 among born agains). (2000)
* two-thirds (63%) of evangelicals gave to a religious organization, other than a church and their average giving was $502 beyond their church donations. (2000)

Church Budget

* The average annual operating budget for Protestant churches in 2000 was $115,000.
* The 2000 average budget was up by only about 5% from 1999 budgets ($110,000).
* The average annual operating budget ranges from a low of $96,000 among churches in the Midwest to $130,000 among churches in the south. (2000)

Groups that are Most and Least Likely to Give

* The segments that were most likely to give at least ten percent to their house of worship included evangelicals (14% did so); adults with an active faith (12% of those who had attended church, prayed and read the Bible during the previous week); African-Americans, born agains, charismatic or Pentecostal Christians, and people from households with a gross income of $60,000 or more (7% among each of those segments).
* The segments that were least likely to tithe included Catholics (1%) as well as non-born again individuals, adults under 35, and those from households with a gross income of $40,000 to $59,999 (2% of the people in each of those segments tithed). (2003)

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pete said...

I responded to your recent comments on my blog.

Douglas said...

There's a lot of interesting information to consider. Thanks!

Douglas said...

How does Barna distinguish an evangelical from a "born again?"

mrclm said...

You're welcome Doug. As for how Barna distinguishes, I'm not 100% sure but I'll give you my guess. I would suspect that "born again" would be considered as a subset of Evangelical. There are those evangelicals (and evangelical denominations) who would not fit the standard definition of born again, but yet are clearly still within the Evangelical grouping.

Big Chris

Zane said...

Barna's "Revolution" will be discussed this Friday night (2-3-06) on the nationwide Moody Broadcasting Network. "Open Line" is a call-in show which is aired at 8-8:55 pm CT. The phone number to participate is 312-329-4460.

What Barna is setting forth in this book has been subject to a wide variety of opinion and speculation. He was personally invited to clarify the issues. It should be an informative exchange and much of the content will, no doubt, pertain to stewardship.

For station and time of broadcast information see The programs are archived for download/podcast if you're unable to tune in.

House Church Network