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‘State of the Plate’ poll: most churches see giving decline

A new “State of the Plate” poll involving more than 1,000 churches across all 50 states shows that more than six out of 10 churches have seen a decline in offerings since the coronavirus outbreak began.

The news comes as the National Association of Evangelicals prepares to launch its annual Bless Your Pastor campaign, encouraging congregations to “show and share God’s love” for pastors and church staff.

Conducted April 8–20, 2020, the State of the Plate constituency-based survey of leaders from more than 1,000 churches revealed that 65 percent have seen giving decrease since mid-March as churches stopped holding in-person services.

READ: Top 10 cities for generous giving

For pastors and church staff, there will be difficult days ahead as more church families are laid off or experience reduced incomes,” said Brian Kluth, who originally launched the State of the Plate research following the 2008 financial crisis. Kluth also is he national spokesperson for Bless Your Pastor.

The poll, organized by Kluth with the participation of organizations such as Christianity Today’s Church Law & Tax and NAE Financial Health, revealed:

  • 34 percent of churches reported giving had fallen by 10 to 20-plus percent
  • 22 percent reported a decline of 30-50+ percent.
  • 9 percent said they had seen a drop of 75 percent or more in their church offerings.
  • 27 percent of churches reported that offerings were steady, and 8 percent reported giving had increased.

Giving decreases in churches may lead to tighter church-staffing budgets. The NAE’s Bless Your Pastor movement (www.BlessYourPastor.org) equips congregations to show appreciation for their pastors and church staff in creative ways. Churches are encouraged to share “50 Creative Ways to Bless Your Pastor,” a list of practical ways to show pastors and church staff that they’re appreciated. Churches participating in the campaign will be able to request a grant-funded $250 Amazon gift card for their senior pastor.

“Having been a pastor myself,” Kluth said, “with three children and a wife who needed major medical treatments, I understand the financial struggle so many pastors and their families face and the tremendous difference it makes when a congregation shows their pastor they are there for them all the way.”

–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice

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