April 28, 2011
What's a Congregation Worth?
The "good news" of churches' work in communities.
As cities and counties continue to eye possible taxes and fees for churches and religious organizations, interesting new research from The University of Pennsylvania's Ram Cnaan examines the economic value of a congregation to its surrounding community.
Using information from congregations in Philadelphia, Cnaan says churches, on average, provided $476,663.24 of services in 2009 to their surrounding communities.
He's now about to release information from a pilot study of 12 historic churches in Philadelphia, with one estimated to provide $6.1 million of services to the community (nearly 10 times its annual budget). Here's a graphic from the April issue of Christianity Today, our sister publication, detailing how Cnaan's research led to that conclusion.
Something else to note: Cnaan describes himself as "nonreligious," according to Christianity Today.