Church leaders know that money is an essential resource that helps make the work of the church possible: the engine that powers yearly mission trips to South America, the technology broadcasting worship services online, the repair of a leaky roof on an aging building, and of course, the staff that ministers to the entire community.
To lead well on issues of congregational finances, leaders need reliable information to understand the modern landscape of congregations’ economic practices and the unique challenges of congregational finances.
Yet, information about congregational finances can be hard to find. Oftentimes, executive pastors and other church finance staff are left to make assumptions as to best practices or trade insights from coffee conversations or zoom calls with their peers around the country.
There are a number of reliable resources available for church leaders—along with some significant ongoing research. Consider the following:
- Through its National Initiative to Address Economic Challenges Facing Pastoral Leaders, the Lilly Endowment, Inc. has helped to focus research and reflection on the topic.
- With support from the Lilly Endowment, Christianity Today’s ChurchSalary and the Lake Institute on Faith & Giving at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy have both been actively engaged on these issues.
- Church Law & Tax has conducted a number of church budget surveys over the past 20 years. Earlier this year, it completed the 2019 Church Budget Priorities Study (CBP)—leading to the recently released Executive Report detailing key findings from the newest research.