Survey: Trends in Church Budgets
How church size, wages, and the economy affected budgeting.
Survey: Trends in Church Budgets

A recent survey conducted by LifeWay Research reveals positive changes in the outlook of church finances—but it also raises concerns about the state of church budgets.

“Wages grew in 2015, and inflation and unemployment remained low,” said Scott McConnell, associate director of LifeWay Research, in a prepared statement. “Yet the financial picture for many churches did not improve.”

Data recently collected by LifeWay Research in 1,000 phone interviews with Protestant pastors reveals that for church offerings in 2015, 32 percent fell below budget, 26 percent were above budget, and 39 percent approximately met budget.

While the state of church budgets is concerning, the survey reveals a decrease in the number of churches negatively affected by the economy: In 2015, 51 percent of pastors said their church has been negatively affected by the economy. This is an improvement from data in 2014, when 56 percent said the same.

The survey also found that church size seems to have an effect upon giving: 31 percent of pastors from churches of 100 to 249 people and 34 percent of pastors from churches with 250 or more people said that church offerings in 2015 were “higher than budgeted.” Only 17 percent of pastors of churches with 0 to 49 people and 23 percent of pastors of churches of 50 to 99 people said the same.

To read more about church budgets and giving, check out "Survey Says: Encouraging Signs, but Room for Improvement" and “Five Truths about Tithers.”

For resources relating to church finance, check out Church Finance and Increase Giving at Church.

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