Is Income Exceeding Expenses at Your Church?

Findings from the 2012-2013 Compensation Handbook for Church Staff reveal that the overall percentage of churches operating in the black—income EXCEEDS expenses—declined in almost every region.

The biggest drop in churches occurred in these five regions:

• West-South Central (32%, down from 45% in 2009)

• South Atlantic (27%, down from 33% in 2009)

• Middle Atlantic (25%, down from 33% in 2009)

• Mountain (25%, down from 39% in 2009)

In our survey, we asked: Over the past year, which best describes your church's finances? 1) Income below expenses; 2) Income meets expenses; 3) Income exceeds expenses

Depending on whether survey respondents interpreted the word "income" to mean just weekly offerings or total income, including such sources as endowments and other funds, the percentages on the map below simply provide a snapshot of their income and spending at the time they answered the survey question. What we can't tell from this data is whether these churches are closing out each year in the red or black.

Typically, 48 percent of a church's income/budget is devoted to salaries. According to Warren Bird, research director of Leadership Network, that average for staffing costs also holds true for larger churches (attendances of 2,000 to 20,000).

This content is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is published with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. "From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations."

Due to the nature of the U.S. legal system, laws and regulations constantly change. The editors encourage readers to carefully search the site for all content related to the topic of interest and consult qualified local counsel to verify the status of specific statutes, laws, regulations, and precedential court holdings.

Like This Article?

If you enjoyed reading this article, get more like it. Become a Church Law & Tax member today.

Learn more

Already a member? .

Recent Posts
Become a Church Law & Tax Member



Experience a whole new way to set compensation. Eliminate the guesswork – get access to detailed compensation reports in just minutes.

Church IT

Church IT Member access only

Learn how to find the best solutions when choosing software and hardware for your church.
Avoiding Church Lawsuits

Avoiding Church Lawsuits Member access only

Create proactive procedures to avoid common reasons why churches most often go to court.