For today’s episode of the Generosity Labs Podcast, Kenny Jahng shares tithing stats within America from an article that he ran across. He talks about tithing and the data that they have from self-surveys regarding tithing. Kenny also talks about the church messaging, marketing and strategy and how it could be better with a few small changes.
Link to article referenced: https://healthresearchfunding.org/21-tithing-statistics/
Hey there, Kenny Jahng here from Generosity Labs. Find out more details about generosity and giving resources for the church at our website, www.generositylabs.org.
And we are here with another episode of the podcast today. I just want to jump online and I found this interesting article that came across my desk, 21 fascinating tithing statistics and I just wanted to share a couple of them with you, but actually now that I think about it, most of them don’t even matter. There’s a whole great article. What is tithing? Tithing is defined for those people who don’t go to church, you know, they think it’s 10 percent today, that conversation and that definition has been loosened up. There’s Biblical support for it, all this kind of stuff. But when it comes down to it, there’s a couple of things. One, everyone thinks that you need to increase the giving by bringing more people into the church. And you look at the number one type of statistic that they listed here, only three to five percent of Americans who give to their local church do so through regular tithing.
That is kind of crazy when you actually survey people, obviously self reported tithing numbers go up. Number six, when surveyed, 17% of Americans state that they regularly tithe. So 17% say that they tithe regularly, only three to five percent give regular tithing to their church and they’re not even sure what they mean by tithing. They’re just saying regular giving to the church. And so that is kind of interesting. Obviously, you know, the average donations who attended us Protestant churches about $17 a week, which I think is kind of fascinating, that’s really tiny, right? Like you would think that it will be much higher than that, but the average person, if they’re only giving, $17 a week and if you assume that they go every single week, which we know is not the case, the average church goer is only going every other week, every three weeks, every four weeks.
But if they were there every single week, that would only mean $884 per person per year. And we know that’s not the case. And so, that’s really, really concerned some people. Right here at number 13, 17% of American families have reduced the amount that they give to the local church in some way. 7% have dropped regular giving by 20 percent or more. 20% or more. So one of these things that I think is really interesting is that I think that you have the emphasis on the wrong thing, that you have people sitting in your pews and literally the majority of them are not giving regularly. The majority of them are not tithing, even the ones that are giving regular or giving less. And if you listen to our last episode there are some questions that Dan Reiland from 12Stone church actually posted that I would challenge people to do a challenge, sit in the pews the Sunday and try to say yes for every single one of the top responses that people gave for when they give to a cause.
And I would say for the majority of churches, they are not doing a good job at all. In fact, they’re failing to have those answers say yes, yes, yes by anybody who attends the church. And for the most part it’s an easy fix in terms of your messaging, your marketing, and also some strategic, I guess a change in how you’re actually doing your ministry that doesn’t need to have huge overhauls in what you do in terms of your operations, your workflows, your ministries, your causes, all the things, the activities that you’re planning. But if you can tweak them and really think about it and reverse engineer to figure out how someone at your church is going to answer those questions with a yes instead of a no, then you’re on your way to becoming a healthy financial church. There is good news. Number 14 says, in total, about 10 million people actually do donate as tithers to the church and that those 10 million give about $50,000,000,000 annually to the Church and to other nonprofit causes, to the Church and nonprofit causes.
That means you have the ability to influence them and prioritize the church as one of their giving partners. Now 77% of those who people who did give significantly 11 to 20 percent of their income, we’re far more than the baseline of 10%, right? Seventy seven percent of time gave more than they needed to, and there’s a reason why. If you look at those churches in those communities, those leaders, they’re casting vision. They’re making the mission very concrete. They’re allowing people to see the overwhelming sense of purpose in that church every single time they come to church. And so 97% of Christians who do tithe make it their top financial priority, give to the local church. That I think is the fundamental question. How do you take the people that are already in your church, the people that are already giving and up the involvement and increase the commitment and the passion they have for the transformational work that you’re doing in ministry?
Now, there is something to be said about good habits being started from when you’re young. The number 18 says people are more likely to practice tithing when they begin the practice in their teens or early 20s and people tried to regulate typically is less debt than other demographics. This is why a financial stewardship, a debt class Dave Ramsey type of program in your church is something that probably is going to help individuals first, but then the halo effect is that you will receive the benefits as a church, as a ministry, as a community, as you get people out of debt and into a stronger financial position. So, this is one of those things that if you look at this article that there is some really dire statistics here that paint a gloomy picture, but at the same time there’s an interesting trends and interesting facts that Americans are actually giving.
They’re giving their wealth away to good causes are giving their wealth away to from family to family here. One trillion to 3 trillion in wealth will change hands every year within the Christian community, from family to family. A total income of the United States is 5.22 trillion annually, nearly half of the world’s total Christian income. That is amazing. Nearly half of the world’s total Christian income is here, right in the United States. And only three point three to five percent of those Americans who give to the local church do it regularly. So what do we need to do to change the mentality of giving regular financial support and how do we give more of it? There’s, those are the questions you need to start to reverse engineer and start to understand. It’s not about trying to figure out how to bring more people into church through church growth to get more giving families.
It’s really about what do you have in your community now that they’re just making proactive decisions, not to prioritize your church budget over other nonprofit and causes that they’re giving to each year. Now, again, number seven for Christian families making less than 20 percent a year. Eight percent of them gave at least 10% or more. And for families making a minimum of $75,000 more, the figure drops to just 1%. They’re just giving one percent in terms of their tithing to the church. So, there’s a lot to be done, but there’s a lot of opportunity so that if your church is struggling, if your church is one of the 86%, 84%, according to the rocket survey that was done several years ago, 84% of churches are at or below their budget. That means they don’t have any margin for any emergencies.
They don’t have any margin for incremental outreach or spur of the moment ad hoc things they are at or below budget. Only 16% of churches are making their budget or have margin that are raising more money than they spend. And so you got to think of it as, “Hey, there is the answer. It’s right in front of you. It is your community.” But the reason, there’s many reasons why they’re choosing not to give or prioritize your ministry in terms of their giving profile. So I just want to leave that open ended a question with a lot of these stats for this article. Hopefully that’s a conversation starter. I would love for you to comment on the blog or any way that you or anywhere that you were actually consuming this podcast, Youtube, etc. Jump into the comments, share your thoughts and ideas, and let’s start the conversation because this is a critical one as we keep on moving forward to share resources, share best practices on how to help get your church fully funded for your mission and the vision that you have for the ministry in your community.
I’m Kenny Jahng. Thank you for listening to today’s episode, generosity labs podcast. Remember generosity starts with you.
01:46 One, everyone thinks that you need to increase the giving by bringing more people into the church. And you look at the number one type of statistic that they listed here, only three to five percent of Americans who give to their local church do so through regular tithing.
02:13 Number six, when surveyed, 17% of Americans state that they regularly tithe. So 17% say that they tithe regularly, only three to five percent give regular tithing to their church and they’re not even sure what they mean by tithing. They’re just saying regular giving to the church.
03:28 number 13, 17% of American families have reduced the amount that they give to the local church in some way. 7% have dropped regular giving by 20 percent or more.
05:23 Number 14 says, in total, about 10 million people actually do donate as tithers to the church and that those 10 million give about $50,000,000,000 annually to the Church and to other nonprofit causes, to the Church and nonprofit causes
09:15 number seven for Christian families making less than 20 percent a year. Eight percent of them gave at least 10% or more. And for families making a minimum of $75,000 more, the figure drops to just 1%. They’re just giving one percent in terms of their tithing to the church.