At Central Dallas Ministries, as our revenue and budgets have grown, the percentage of income provided directly from churches has been on a steady decline for many years. The decline concerns me. I suppose my concern is rooted in how I understand the basic values of faith and the priorities of the faith community.
More recently, we've noted a real decline in funding provided, not only as a percentage measured against our budget, but in tems of real dollars sent our way.
Our assumption regarding the more recent trend has been that the economic downturn has affected congregations in a negative manner.
Then, I read a report from the Philanthropy News Digest.
Here's a taste of the article:
Most Congregations Saw Contributions Increase or Hold Steady in First Half of 2009, Report Finds
During the first half of 2009, and despite the deepening recession, more than two-thirds of congregations in the United States saw their fundraising results increase or remain the same on a year-over-year basis, a new report from the Alban Institute and the Lake Institute on Faith & Giving at the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University finds.
Based on a survey of more than 1,500 congregations — most of which are members of the Alban Institute — the 2009 Congregational Economic Impact Study (53 pages, PDF) found that nearly 37 percent of respondents reported a year-over-year increase in fundraising revenues over the period, 34 percent said their revenues were flat, and nearly 30 percent experienced a decline in revenues. Last year, about 22 percent of congregations reported a decline in revenues over the previous year.
In response, a third of respondents said they had cut their budgets in 2009. . . .
To read the entire report click here.
So, what do you think? Why aren't congregations more involved in urban development and renewal efforts?