12:32 pm giving

     Recently, Christianity Today (Dec., 2008) published an article by Rob Moll titled, “Scrooge Lives!”  The article contained many statistics on giving that relate to churches.  I would like to pass some of them on to you.
    -More than one out of four American Protestants give away no money at all–“not even a token $5 per year,” say sociologists Christian Smith, Michael Emerson, and Patricia Snell in a new study on Christian giving, Passing the Plate (Oxford University Press) (24).
    -Thirty-six percent of Evangelicals report that they give away less than two percent of their income (24)
    -Only 27 percent of Evangelicals tithe (24).
    –Passing the Plate’s researchers say committed American Christians–those who say their faith is very important to them and those who attend church at least twice a month–earn more than $2.5 trillion dollars every year…if these Christians gave away 10 percent of their after-tax earnings, they would add another $46 billion to ministry around the world (24).
    -The average, regularly attending churchgoer gives 6 percent of after-tax income, but that’s a mean skewed by a handful of very generous givers (26).
    -The median annual giving for an American Christian is actually $200, just over half a percent of after-tax income (26).
    -About 5 percent of American Christians provide 60 percent of the money churches and religious groups use to operate (26).
    -America’s biggest givers–as a percentage of their income–are its lowest income earners.  “Americans who earn less than $10,000 gave 2.3 percent of their income to religious organizations,” Smith, Emerson and Snell write, “whereas those who earn $70,000 or more gave only 1.2 percent (26).
    -Households of committed Christians making less than $12,500 per year give away roughly 7 percent of their income, a figure no other income bracket beats until incomes rise above $90,000 (they give away 8.8 percent) (26).
    -“When Americans earned less money following the Great Depression, they gave more.”  When income went up, they gave less of it away (26).
    These facts are very informative.  Moll also gives the following reasons as to why many American Christians do not give as they should: (1) fixed costs have increased from 54% to 75% of family budgets since the early 1970’s; (2) would-be donors don’t trust how churches would use their donations; (3) Donors imitate the churches they donate to and spend the money on themselves (Only about 3% of money donated to churches went to ministering to non-Christians); and (4) they are not asked to give (26-27). 
    Giving should be an expression of joy and thanksgiving from a willing and obedient heart.  The apostle Paul assures us that “God loveth a cheerful giver” (II Cor. 9:7).  This is a good time to examine your own habit of giving.

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