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February 25, 2010

Family Money Matters: A Look at Christian Household Finances

“State of the Plate” shows debt levels, giving patterns for families.

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What really matters in an economy is not what the media says, but what people’s personal wallets say. As part of the second annual “State of the Plate,” 750 Christian households provided an inside look into their income, employment, debt, and giving/tithing.

I'm conducting this research with Christianity Today International’s Church Finance Today and Leadership journal. Based on preliminary results of this research, I've found that the average Christian family, though directly impacted by the economy, remains committed to faithful and generous giving to their church and ministries as a major priority.

Here's a closer look at four findings:

1) Income: The majority of families have either lost ground or remained flat financially this past year. For many years, most families saw their income increase. This is no longer the case as more and more families that completed the survey personally felt the effects of the sluggish economy:

- 33 percent of households said their incomes went down this past year.
- 43 percent of households saw no increase in their income.
- Only 23 percent of households saw their income increase.

2) Jobs: The negative effects of the economy are being felt in people’s homes and church. Almost everyone knows someone who has been negatively impacted by the economy. This financial pain has been felt in people’s immediate families, and everyone is mindful of other families in their church who are facing financial and employment struggles, too:

- 97 percent knew someone in their church who had lost a job in the past 12 months.
- 42 percent indicated they know people in their church who had to move away to find work.
- 33 percent of families had someone in their household whose job was negatively impacted by the economy.
- 30 percent know people personally who have lost their homes.
- 26 percent personally know people who declared bankruptcy.

stateofplate2.gif

What really matters in an economy is not what the media says, but what people’s personal wallets say. As part of the second annual “State of the Plate,” 750 Christian households provided an inside look into their income, employment, debt, and giving/tithing.

I'm conducting this research with Christianity Today International’s Church Finance Today and Leadership journal. Based on preliminary results of this research, I've found that the average Christian family, though directly impacted by the economy, remains committed to faithful and generous giving to their church and ministries as a major priority.

Here's a closer look at four findings:

1) Income: The majority of families have either lost ground or remained flat financially this past year. For many years, most families saw their income increase. This is no longer the case as more and more families that completed the survey personally felt the effects of the sluggish economy:

- 33 percent of households said their incomes went down this past year.
- 43 percent of households saw no increase in their income.
- Only 23 percent of households saw their income increase.

2) Jobs: The negative effects of the economy are being felt in people’s homes and church. Almost everyone knows someone who has been negatively impacted by the economy. This financial pain has been felt in people’s immediate families, and everyone is mindful of other families in their church who are facing financial and employment struggles, too:

- 97 percent knew someone in their church who had lost a job in the past 12 months.
- 42 percent indicated they know people in their church who had to move away to find work.
- 33 percent of families had someone in their household whose job was negatively impacted by the economy.
- 30 percent know people personally who have lost their homes.
- 26 percent personally know people who declared bankruptcy.

Brian Kluth is a pastor, author, speaker, and media expert on church giving and biblical generosity. His bestselling GenerousLife.org 40-Day Bible devotional has over 400,000 copies in print, translations underway in over 40 foreign languages, and has been used by over 1,200 churches to inspire greater generosity and increased giving. Kluth’s GiveWithJoy.org radio spots are heard on stations across the country. His free MAXIMUMgenerosity.org Church Giving e-newsletter goes to more than 11,000 pastors and leaders in over 130 countries.

Related Tags: budgets, contributions, donations, donors, e-giving, finance, giving

Comments

I question the results of number 4(giving/tithing) that 51% give 10 to 20 percent. If that was true in the churches I've been in, we would've never had any Budget problems. I do the tax returns for many Christians and have only seen one couple give 10 percent or more. Maybe a larger surveyed population would yield more accurate results as 750 is a low sample forany type of survey.

I wonder how many of these people pay for Christian education? I have been wondering if this directly affects people's giving. It is very expensive for many young families and to tithe 10% on top of that sometimes seems impossible... of course there are always things we can live without too so sometimes it is a matter of living on less.

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