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The State of Church Giving through 2003



Chapter 3 Highlights



•     During the 1968-2003 period, members of evangelical Protestant denominations gave larger dollar amounts and larger portions of income to their churches than did members of mainline Protestant denominations.
 
•     In 2003, mainline Protestant church members were giving the same portion of income to the category of Congregational Finances as they did in 1968. All other categories for both groups declined as a portion of income from 1968 to 2003.
 
•     The 1968-2003 decline in giving as a portion of income to Total Contributions was greater among the members of the evangelical denominations than it was among the members of the mainline denominations. While giving as a portion of income to Congregational Finances declined among the National Association of Evangelical (NAE)-affiliated denominations from 1968 to 1985, and again to 2003, the direction of change reversed in the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. (NCC)-affiliated denominations. increasing from 1985 to 2003. Per member giving as a portion of income to Benevolences declined in both the evangelical and the mainline communions from 1968 to 1985, and again to 2003.
 
•     Membership in the evangelical denominations grew between 1968 and 2003, in contrast to the mainline denominations, which decreased in membership. Therefore, although evangelicals were receiving a smaller portion of income per member in 2003 than in 1968, aggregate donations in inflation-adjusted dollars were higher in 2003 than in 1968 for this group.
 
•     Among the mainline denominations, the increase in giving was directed to Congregational Finances. This fact, combined with the loss in membership, may account for the finding that aggregate Benevolences donations in inflation-adjusted dollars were 20 percent smaller in 2003 than in 1968 for these communions.




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