Episode 433

Giving is Up But Challenges Remain at Churches & Thank God for Answered Prayer

Sep 8, 2023

Three years after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, churches have fewer people in the pews, more money in the collection plate and less conflict than they had in 2020. An, a Lifeway Bible Study talks about the importance of prayer.


Three years after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, churches have fewer people in the pews, more money in the collection plate and less conflict than they had in 2020.

Despite their struggles, many congregations are optimistic about the future.

Those are among the findings of the latest report from the Hartford Institute for Religion Research, part of a five-year study of the impact of the pandemic on America’s churches. This latest report drew from surveys for 4,809 congregations from 58 denominational groups, as part of the Exploring the Pandemic Impact on Congregations study. The surveys were fielded from January to May of 2023.

The median attendance at local congregations stood at 60 people as of spring 2023, down slightly from 65 in the spring of 2020, according to the report — a decline of 9 percent. About a third (30 percent) of churches said they’d experienced significant decline, while a quarter (24 percent) experienced some decline. Twelve percent stayed the same, while 11 percent said they’d experienced some growth.

Giving at congregations went up by about 42 percent over the past three years, from a median of $120,000 in 2020 to $170,000 in 2023. 

Online giving appears to have played a role in boosting donations. Congregations that offer online giving reported higher per capita giving, ranging from $2,052 at congregations where online giving is used a little to $2,428 where online giving is used a lot. Congregations that do not offer online giving options reported per capita giving of $1,809.

The report noted that only 31 percent of churches reported using online giving in 2015, whereas now 67 percent do so, and nearly half (48 percent) use this method “a lot.”

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Good News for Today is made possible through our friends at The Voice of the Martyrs, a nonprofit organization that serves persecuted Christians around the world. Founded in 1967 by Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand, VOM is dedicated to inspiring believers to deepen their commitment to Christ and to fulfill His Great Commission — no matter the cost. Find out more and sign up for their free monthly magazine at vom.org/goodnews.

How do you handle life’s unanswered questions? More specifically, what about your own unanswered questions? A Lifeway Bible Study talks about the importance of prayer. Looking back to the Old Testament life of Daniel, the lesson speaks about how Daniel looked to God to bring the answers he needed.

More powerful that googling or searching for an online video, God’s people have an invitation to bring their cares, concerns and questions to God. The Lord is faithful and while the answer may not be what you want or expect…you can trust that God is good and His desire is to do good for His children.

You can read the full piece and learn more about our daily emails at Baptist Press.com.

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