Church Giving – The 55/45 Rule

Leadership Network recently published an insightful article by Chris Willard and Warren Bird focused on giving metrics in the context of congregational ministry.  This piece mentions something I think should be called the 55/45 rule. This rule comes from research conducted by David Thoroughman, CEO of the donor analytics firm MortarStone.  Thoroughman found that, on average, 99% of a congregation's funding comes from giving units that give $200 or more a year but only 55% of all attendees Read More …

Most Popular Sermons of 2015

I preached around forty sermons this year at Fort Myers Congregational United Church of Christ (Fort Myers, FL).  According to YouTube views, the most popular messages are That's the Book for Me – watch / read - a 16 min. message on the Bible (warning: this is the first and only sermon I have ever preached that includes singing) Titleless – watch / read – a 13 min. message on humility Surprising Salaries – watch / read – a 12 min. message on generosity Personal Transformation + – watch Read More …

Sermon: A United Church

Sermon Text: I Corinthians 12:1, 4-12, 25-27 (The Message) Sermon Excerpt: Our culture teaches us the importance of starting well each New Year.  People tend to take New Year’s resolutions very seriously – at first. If you need confirmation, simply visit the gym of your choice sometime this month. Those crowded gyms never last long.  While most resolutions are truly good ideas, often our motivation is inadequate to sustain our efforts. One study found that after just one week, only Read More …

Church Giving Decline Continues

In 2011 (the most recent year for which statistics are available) the percentage of a church member’s income given to the church was 2.3%.  This percentage reflects a decline for the fourth consecutive year, marking the longest decline since the Great Depression.  Additional research from Empty Tomb, including reports from 2011 and prior years are available online. As one might expect, the overall decline is impacting congregations affiliated with denominations all across the theological Read More …

Hurry Up & Be Generous

Seth Godin is the author of twelve books that have been bestsellers around the world and changed the way people think about marketing, change, and work. He is also the master of saying a great deal using relatively few words on his blog. Recently he shared that while people are in a hurry to do many things, generosity isn't usually on that list.  Godin then asked a powerful question: What happens when we adopt the posture of being in a hurry to be generous? So What? As we start the season Read More …

Has Church Giving Rebounded?

Last week the findings of the third annual "STATE of the PLATE" shows that  after two years of steep decline, giving to churches increased slightly in 2010.  Writing for USA Today, Cathy Lynn Grossmann summarized the research with four bullet points: Giving is up: 43% of churches saw increased giving in 2010, up from 36% in 2009. The decline has stabilized: 39% of churches said giving was down in 2010, 38% last year. December offered a boost: Christmas-time generosity often puts church Read More …

Giving is Both/And not Either/Or

Adelle Banks recently wrote a piece for Religion News Service about research conducted by Grey Matter Research & Consulting on behalf of the nonprofit fundraising firm the Russ Reid Co.  The research suggests: Houses of worship and other charities often aren't in competition for dollars but instead tend to reap donations from similar donors . . . the more Americans give to a house of worship, the more they donate to other groups. So What? In the article, Banks quoted Ron Sellers, Read More …