New Report Urges the Church in the U.S. to Focus on Global Triage Needs in Light of Declining Giving and Membership Trends in the U.S. through 2011
CHAMPAIGN, Ill., Oct. 11, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ — While on earth, Jesus Christ carried out works within a defined geographic area and set the entire area abuzz about God’s agenda.
In contrast, church member giving and membership as a percent of population declined from 2010 to 2011 in the U.S.
Church leaders would be wise to focus on Christians’ potential to set the globe abuzz about God’s agenda for caring for those in need, instead of trying to figure out techniques to reverse the negative giving and membership trends.
That, according to The State of Church Giving through 2011, to be released October 11, 2013. The book is the 23rd edition in the series from empty tomb, inc.
Data from a broad set of denominations in the U.S. was analyzed in the new report. The year 2011 is the latest data year available, due to the time denominations need to obtain and aggregate congregational reports.
From 2010 to 2011, per member giving to churches declined. Giving to Total Contributions declined as a percent of income, reaching the lowest point in the 1968-2011 period. In dollars, per member giving declined when adjusted for inflation, but also in current dollars. The 2008 decline in current dollars was the first in the 1968-2011 period. Current dollar giving to Total Contributions also declined in 2009 as well as in 2011, which was lower than in 2008.
Regarding membership as a percent of U.S. population, a group of 36 communions, including the Catholic Church, the two largest Protestant churches, and some of the fastest-growing Protestant ones, measured 45% in 1968 and 35% in 2011.
The prolonged trends of decline suggest that technique is not the answer, according to the study’s authors, John and Sylvia Ronsvalle. Jesus Christ demonstrated the answer, in doing the works of the Father. The book suggests two key needs should be given increased priority on a triage scale.
One need is engaging the unengaged unreached people groups who have no way to hear the Gospel. The second is to help world leaders close the gap between the goal of reducing global child deaths and likely reality in 2014. To not do so may mean 2,297,991 child deaths globally in 2014.
Noting that Jesus asked the blind men, “What do you want me to do for you?” (Matt. 20:32), the report states “If the body of Christ in the U.S. asks the world in 2013, ‘What do you want us to do for you?’ the world has already answered.”
World leaders in 1990 and again in 2000 announced that reducing global child deaths should be a top priority. World agencies have provided a country-by-country analysis where these deaths of children under age 5 occur, and what are the causes of death. Further, experts have estimated that an additional $5 billion a year is needed to speed up reduction of these deaths.
The State of Church Giving through 2011 advises that:
– church leaders begin a coordinated, parallel emphasis across denominations and other church organizations to increase the priority level of reducing global child deaths among their constituents.
– launch a parallel yet coordinated distribution effort, through the vast network of church delivery channels already in place, to deliver the additional needed assistance to the children in the 74 countries that account for 96% of these deaths.
– each of 187 church denominations ask its own members to donate an additional $50 each per year to that denomination’s own efforts to reduce these child deaths. Given the membership in these denominations, 100 million donations of $50 each through these denominations could raise the needed $5 billion to help, in Jesus’ name, reduce the number of global child deaths as part of pursuing God’s agenda.
A PDF of the proposal, www.emptytomb.org/scg11.ExecAnalysis4of4.pdf, is available at www.emptytomb.org/leadershelpchildren.html.
Chapter 8 of the new report is available at www.emptytomb.org/scg11chap8.pdf
The full report, The State of Church Giving through 2011: The Kingdom of God, Church Leaders and Institutions, Global Triage Needs, and the Promises of Jesus, is available for purchase in book form through Internet booksellers or directly from empty tomb, inc.