The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability’s annual State of Giving report found that giving to ministries jumped in 2021 more than any year in the past 10 years.
The report comes as the nation grapples with inflation and the effects of the pandemic.
The ECFA survey included responses from about 1,800 members, who reported receiving at least $19 billion in donations in 2021. When adjusted for inflation, giving increased by about 3 percent, Christianity Today reports.
“Contrary to what many expected, giving during the pandemic to ECFA members was strong,” ECFA president and CEO Michael Martin wrote in the report. “The findings we unveil emphasize the good work that ECFA members are doing to serve and expand their services in the face of inflation and other challenges.”
Among megachurches, however, giving numbers were different. The EFCA surveyed 87 churches and found giving to megachurches dropped by 6.6 percent in 2021. In 2020, that number was only 1.1 percent.
ECFA vice president of member accountability Jake Lapp said the decline might be due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which shut down churches, and while most churches have reopened services, some are still at only 50 percent of pre-pandemic attendance.
“One of the big impacts is with churches not being able to meet or maybe meeting with limited capacity again,” Lapp said. “Congregants had been slow to return to the pews.”
Specifically, congregations with annual budgets over $20 million saw giving drop by only about 2.5 percent, while those surveyed with budgets under $2 million saw giving drop by eight percent.
Meanwhile, about 80 percent of non-profit ministries saw an increase in giving.
“I find it to be earthshaking news,” Lapp said, “that in the midst of record inflation at the end of 2021 and economic uncertainty that donors were extremely generous.”
That increased giving likely stemmed from giving to orphan care ministries and homeless ministries.
Nearly 80 percent of pregnancy resource centers also saw an increase in giving in 2021.
Photo courtesy: Vladimir Solomianyi/Unsplash
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.