Worshipers are putting less cash in the collection plate at Protestant churches, according to the latest report from Empty Tomb Inc., a nonprofit that studies church giving patterns.
Empty Tomb reported that church members gave 2.3 percent of their income in 2011, the last year statistics are available.
That’s down from 2.4 percent in 2010, and the fourth year in a row that giving declined, according to Religion News Service.
The decline is part of a long-term pattern of diminished giving.
“In 1968, church members gave an average of 3.1 percent of their income,” reported RNS.
Empty Tomb looked at giving from 23 Protestant denominations for their report. Some of the giving figures from the Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches, according to RNS. Researchers also contacted some denominations directly.
Researchers said that churches are failing to teach church members how to be generous.
“Is the issue that the church is not providing an authentic alternative to the consumer mindset?” Sylvia Ronsvalle, executive vice president of Empty Tomb, told RNS. “Over a period of time, if the church isn’t providing more of an authentic alternative, the church will lose.”
In a piece here at Facts & Trends, Sam Warner wrote that churches must create a culture of generosity among their people through proper, biblical teaching on the subject.
Don’t be afraid to talk about generosity and giving in your church. Jesus certainly wasn’t afraid to talk about it. You’ll find more than 1,000 references to money in the Bible, second only to love.
Use the Scriptures to guide your church in the area of giving. If you want your members to be humble and faithful, then it is up to you to provide the guidance they need to become great givers.