“The average church spends…?”

“The average church in the United States will spend as much as 64 percent of its budget on staff salaries. Additionally, it will spend as much as 30 percent of its offerings on maintaining its buildings.5 Researchers say that churches spend between 82 – 96 percent of their financial resources on maintaining themselves.6 This does not include the millions that are spent on building bigger buildings.”

According to Generous Giving, a nonprofit organization whose mission is “to spread the biblical message of generosity and grow generous givers,” financial priorities in the average church look like this:

Buildings over Evangelism: When asked “What would you do with an unexpected financial windfall?” 31 percent of Protestant pastors said they would build, expand or update their church buildings and facilities. Seven percent said they would give more to foreign missions and evangelism.

Salaries over Missions: Almost 50 percent of the average church’s budget goes to staff and personnel salaries. Missions and evangelism accounts for about 5 percent.

Large Staff: On average, mega-churches in America had 20 full-time leadership staff in 2005, up from 13 in 2000.

American churches spend an average of 22 percent of their budgets on the upkeep or expansion of their physical buildings.

Overseas Ministries: Only 2 cents of every dollar given by American Christians goes to support overseas ministries.

***

Question: Does this model and these priorities look like a New Testament church to you?

5  William Tenny-Brittian, House Church Manual (St. Louis, MO: Chalice Press, 2004), 67-68.

6  Larry Kreider and Floyd McClung, Starting a House Church (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 2007), 107.

***

Join us next time for “Fine. Tell Us Why,” followed by “Pew Perspectives” and “Something More?”

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