Multiplication Center

Is the Economy Hitting Large Churches “at an Unprecedented Rate”?

May 13, 2010

Kluth-website My friend Pastor Brian Kluth is quite the pioneer. He was one of the first people I know to create resources about generosity in churches. His materials are biblical and practical, full of helpful stuff. His heart is absolutely in the right place. I love the motto on his website: “inspiring open-handed giving in a tight-fisted world.”

His recent State of the Plate survey, co-sponsored with Christianity Today Int’l, got an amazing amount of press coverage, mostly positive at that. The report they created is visually appealing and instructive.

That said, my friend Brian and I might differ on one point in the survey, one that many editors chose to make their headline. Maybe you saw it: Megachurches Are Especially Hard-Hit. Another version is in the title to this blog. The actual line from the report was “Megachurches suffered this year more than ever before.” Perhaps that’s a bit extreme because the only comparison is to one previous survey, conducted a year earlier. Hardly “more than ever before.” Further, there’s a difference between being “down” which could be as little as 1% versus “hurting,” “suffering,” or being “hard hit,” which implies a much bigger and more painful and significant downturn. (For numbers crunchers, here’s the actual survey findings and see also this article.)

I’m curious to get a fuller perspective on large churches. Maybe you are too.

Once we tally up our large church annual salary survey, we’ll compare findings with Brian, have a good talk, and one or both of us will get back to you!

— Warren Bird, Research Director, Leadership Network 

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