Saturday, February 03, 2007

Do Something About This, Part 3

Revolution, by Barna, p. 33. Regarding resource investment:

  • Churched Christians give away an average of about 3% of their income in a typical year - and feel pleased at their "sacrificial" generosity.
  • Fewer than one out of every ten churched Christians donates at least 10% of their income to churches and other nonprofit organizations. (More than 1/3 claim to do so.)
  • When asked to explain their understanding of biblical stewardship, less than one out of every twenty includes resources such as time, relationships, ideas, or skills in their assessment.
  • Most believers are unable to identify anything specific they have ever donated money to that they would describe as producing life-changing outcomes.
When it comes down to it, do most people believe that the church really is making a difference? Is it because people are struggling with materialism, have not really been given a vision for a changed world, or maybe some of both?

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Anonymous said...

This prompts a couple of observations:

1) The discrepancy between the number who claim to give sacrificially and the number that actually do correlates to similar statistics in attendance. There is a wide margin between stated church attendance (telephone surveys and the like) and what actually happens on Sunday morning. The difference may be that in a survey respondants state what they 'want' to do, but Sunday morning is real action.

2) I have not heard much preaching on stewardship (our euphamism for giving) over the past few years. I don't think this is because we don't need to hear the lesson. Is it because we are afraid of being classified with those churches that are only about the money?

vaught_family said...

Thanks for your comments! I think there is a fear that if we talk to much about money then people will not want to come and listen. Interestingly, I believe that money is one of the things that is in the top couple of things that Americans struggle with. Jesus seemed to think the same thing during his day and talked about it all the time.

Maybe if what we were talking about was not the "asking for money" but about money itself - the good and the bad. What if we showed how money can eat at your soul, with real examples. What if we showed how money was being used well, to transform real lives. My own personal opinion is that people will be willing to give when they are given a worthy cause; it may talk some to the discrepancy between what people say they give and what they really do.

Isn't it interesting that we are so touchy about the subject, but we rely on money probably more now than ever to support the organization.