Report: Finances Steady at Two-Thirds of Churches
New research: Giving flat or growing for many congregations.

New research released this week by Indiana University's Lake Institute on Faith & Giving and The Alban Institute suggests giving remained steady–or grew–during the first half of 2009 for two-thirds of the 1,540 churches they surveyed.

More than three-fourths of those surveyed hail from Protestant denominations, the two organizations said.

Nearly 37 percent of congregations said their collections grew during the first half of 2009 compared to the same period of 2008, while another 34 percent said their collections remained flat year-over-year, the research showed.

The remaining respondents said giving declined in the first six months of 2009 compared to the same period a year ago–up 8 percent compared to survey results from a year ago, the two organizations said.

Other highlights of the research:

* On average, nearly 40 percent of responding congregations reported an increase of 8.7 percent in pledged giving during 2009, while 35.1 percent reported a drop of 10.4 percent;

* Among churches that faced reduced or flat budgets in 2009, nearly 16 percent froze salaries, while almost 15 percent reduced utility costs, and 13.6 percent reduced program costs;

* 6.8 percent cut full-time staff, while another 10.7 percent cut part-time staff.

To view the entire report, click here.

Your Church conducted research earlier this year that showed widening effects of the recession on church budgets, staffing, and spending priorities. Click here to see that report.

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