Economy, Stewardship and things that go bump in the night

Started by Brian Hughes, November 21, 2008, 10:34:27 AM

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Brian Hughes


  OK, thought I'd start a new thread.  How are things going for people around the country?  Late last spring we saw 5 to 7% ahead of last year's giving.  Then gas started creeping up.  When it hit 4 bucks a gallon, giving stalled at last year's level.  Usual summer slump, a little lift in early September and then ...  Who blew the bottom out of this bucket?

  Our area has been routinely fairly recession proof in the past.  A few of our key people are out of work, but already have numerous interviews.  OTOH, we do have a number of small business owners who are in their words, "sucking wind right now."  That group is scared and their giving reflects it.  That's having an impact on the congregation too. 

Anyone seeing no effects from this economy? What's weird is that it was much worse when I was in SW PA after the collapse of the steel industry when large numbers of people were unemployed and leaving the area.  That made sense.  Here, overall unemployment has not yet changed so I'm thinking living on credit has come home to roost and folks are redirecting their finances to pay down those cards.  As an aside, biblical money management has been a theme the last couple of years around here, including living on your income, 10/10/80, etc.  Seemed to be resonating until September. 

Meanwhile, attendance is ahead of this time last year.  So, how much of what we're seeing across the country is psychological and how much real?  Or is it a spiritual issue? Thoughts?

Oh, and reading blogs and hearing from others in much larger churches around the country, most of them are really feeling a downturn right now.






Darrell Wacker

I think much of it was psychological at first, but it seems to be turning real.  I live in Dayton, Ohio, and the economy hasn't been good here for several years.  As automotive manufacturing jobs have been lost, nothing has replaced them.  The one bright spot is Wright-Patterson Air Force base, which has been the beneficiary of the BRAC closings the last couple of rounds.  But Ohio's unemployment rate is inching toward 10%, about 2-3 percentage points above the national average.  Huge layoffs announced this week will take effect after the first of the year, so I think the national average will rise significantly as well.

As for church giving, overall we are about 3-4% above last year.  Had a significant deficit over the summer, but reserves covered that.  Our financial position is as good now as at any time in the last 2-3 years I have served on our council.

jrubyaz


Brian ,

As a pastor in one of those larger churches, we are not seeing a huge impact right now. Where we may see it is in year end giving in the form of stock gifts, which no one has made gains on this year (unless you sold everything a year ago or early this year) .

Our fall stewardship drive went well, pledges of 1.4 million over 1.1 last year.

However, we are monitoring things, and wonder if 2009 will be where it really hits.

Jeff Ruby

Quote from: Brian Hughes on November 21, 2008, 10:34:27 AM

  OK, thought I'd start a new thread.  How are things going for people around the country?  Late last spring we saw 5 to 7% ahead of last year's giving.  Then gas started creeping up.  When it hit 4 bucks a gallon, giving stalled at last year's level.  Usual summer slump, a little lift in early September and then ...  Who blew the bottom out of this bucket?

  Our area has been routinely fairly recession proof in the past.  A few of our key people are out of work, but already have numerous interviews.  OTOH, we do have a number of small business owners who are in their words, "sucking wind right now."  That group is scared and their giving reflects it.  That's having an impact on the congregation too. 

Anyone seeing no effects from this economy? What's weird is that it was much worse when I was in SW PA after the collapse of the steel industry when large numbers of people were unemployed and leaving the area.  That made sense.  Here, overall unemployment has not yet changed so I'm thinking living on credit has come home to roost and folks are redirecting their finances to pay down those cards.  As an aside, biblical money management has been a theme the last couple of years around here, including living on your income, 10/10/80, etc.  Seemed to be resonating until September. 

Meanwhile, attendance is ahead of this time last year.  So, how much of what we're seeing across the country is psychological and how much real?  Or is it a spiritual issue? Thoughts?

Oh, and reading blogs and hearing from others in much larger churches around the country, most of them are really feeling a downturn right now.







Dave_Poedel

Based on the fact that most of our givers are fixed income pensioners, we are pretty stable, though giving has been flat for a while.  We are being held up by God while at the same time restraining spending as much as possible.  Memorial Funds pay for upgrades to our environment for worship, offerings for the day-to-day.  We have very little income from bequests.

Terry W Culler

     Our giving hasn't altered much.  I have found here that there is relatively little increase per family in giving year over year, but when there is a ministry need the money always shows up.  I've been trying to change our annual budget presentations to show the costs by ministry activity but so far without luck.  I think if I can do that weekly giving will increase.
     In the AFLC there is no required or even expected benevolence.  Since we joined our benevolence giving has more than doubled because the congregation now decides who is helped and how much.  In fact, our giving to the AFLC is apportioned by the ministries we wish to support; eg. Home Missions, Evangelism, Schools, etc.  We give approximately 1/2 of our benevolence to the AFLC and reserve half for local ministries.  Our budget for 2009 anticipates another 10% increase in benevolence.
     The two things I've mentioned, money appearing when a ministry need is identified and the increase in benevolence when the giver is allowed a part in the decision process, teach me that the more input the givers have in the decisions, the more money will be forthcoming.  In tough economic times people will still give when they have a sense that their giving is furthering the work of the Kingdom.
Blessings
Terry
"No particular Church has ... a right to existence, except as it believes itself the most perfect from of Christianity, the form which of right, should and will be universal."
Charles Porterfield Krauth

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