General Interest

U.S. Religion Contributes $1.2 Trillion Yearly to Our Economy and Society

By December 12, 2016 No Comments

by Warren Bird

church-photo-1Religion makes a huge socio-economic contribution to life in the United States, some $1.2 trillion annually, according to recent research. These dollars range from the basic economic drivers of any business—staff, overhead, utilities—to billions spent on philanthropic programs, educational institutions and health care services. If that $1.2 trillion was put in terms of Gross Domestic Product, it would make U.S. religion the 15th largest national economy in the world.

Another study found that each historic congregation in America’s urban centers contributes around $1.7 million to its local economy each year. How? By frequenting nearby businesses, hiring local workers and operating schools, faith groups strengthen their community’s social safety net and economy.

Research like this underscores the huge responsibility that churches have for Christ-like, wise, talented, skilled and well-trained leadership at their helm. That’s why we put our biggest annual research effort into a huge large-church salary study (see leadnet.org/salary). One way churches use the material is to attract, retain and nurture outstanding staff. The executive summary is free and is titled, “12 Salary Trends Every Church Leader Should Know.” The webpage also offers several other helpful resources.

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Warren Bird

Author Warren Bird

Warren Bird, Ph.D. has been named a Leadership Network Senior Fellow in light of his exemplary service 2006-2018 as Director of Research and Intellectual Capital Development at Leadership Network. He serves as full-time VP of Research for ECFA.org (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability). An ordained minister with background as both a pastor and seminary professor, Warren is an award-winning author or co-author of 31 books for ministry leaders including Hero Maker with Dave Ferguson, How to Break Church Growth Barriers with Carl George, and Next: Pastoral Succession that Works with William Vanderbloemen. Other recent titles are Better Together: Making Church Mergers Work with Jim Tomberlin, and Wisdom from Lyle E. Schaller. Some of Warren’s recent online reports include "Leadership Network/Generis Multisite Church Scorecard," and "The Heartbeat of Rising Influence Churches." See also research reports at leadnet.org/megachurchleadnet.org/salary and leadnet.org/portable. He is widely recognized as one of the nation's leading researchers of megachurches, multisite churches, large church compensation and high-visibility pastoral succession. He also oversees the world's only active, sortable list of global megachurches. Follow him on Twitter @warrenbird.  Click here to subscribe to Leadership Network Advance to get updates from Leadership Network.

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