By Deborah Bruce
Worshipers who are more involved in their congregations give more financial support to their church than do those who are less involved. This trend holds true for Catholics, for mainline Protestants, and for conservative Protestants. Greater giving is fueled by many different types of congregational involvement. Let’s take a look.
Giving levels. Two-thirds of conservative Protestants say they give 5% or more of net income to their congregation. In contrast, only one-third of Catholic worshipers and half of mainline Protestants give at that level.
Involvement influences giving. Compared to less-involved worshipers, more of the involved worshipers give at least 5% of income to their congregation. Involved worshipers:
- Attend worship services weekly or more often.
- Are members of the congregation or in the process of joining the church.
- Participate in one of the church’s small groups.
- Hold a leadership role in the church.
- Often participate in congregational decision making.
- Participate in the community service or evangelism work of the congregation.
Worshipers who are involved in multiple ways give at the highest levels. Among worshipers who are virtually uninvolved in their congregation (attend less than weekly, not a member, not involved in small groups, not holding a leadership role, not involved in decision making, not involved in service work), only about one in ten give at least 5% of income to their church. In contrast, at least six in ten of worshipers who are involved in all six ways contribute 5% of income or more to their congregation.
Implications. The good news is that most worshipers are actively involved congregational life. In fact, more than half are involved in at least three of these six ways. Increasing the ways in which worshipers are connecting to the church pays off for your congregation’s financial bottom line.