Report: Megachurches Thriving in Tough Economic Times

Religion Today

Report: Megachurches Thriving in Tough Economic Times


A new survey shows that despite the tough economy, many of the nation's largest churches are thriving, with increased offerings and plans to hire more staff, the Religion News Service reports. Just 3 percent of churches with 2,000 or more attendees surveyed by Leadership Network, a Dallas-based church think tank, said they were affected "very negatively" by the economy in recent years. Forty-seven percent said they were affected "somewhat negatively," but one-third said they were not affected at all. The vast majority -- 83 percent -- of large churches expected to meet their budgets in 2012 or their current fiscal year, and a majority also reported that offerings during worship services were higher last year than in 2011. Even though some churches have ministries that provide other income, such as schools or wedding chapel rentals, an average of 96 percent of their budget comes from members' donations. Most megachurches surveyed spend 10 percent or more of their budget beyond their congregation on causes ranging from local soup kitchens to world missions. Most large churches also reported that they expected to give staff at least a 1 percent raise in the next budget cycle. Most also expect to modestly increase staff, and just 6 percent expect to reduce the number of staffers.

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