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April 23rd, 2008

by Bobby Gruenewald

How Does Economic Uncertainty Affect the Church?

I’ve heard many different perspectives on this topic from pastors and church leaders:

POSITIVE

  • People return to the church during challenging economic times because they are more aware of their dependence on God during those times. This results in an overall increase in church attendance.
  • People tend to give more when there is economic uncertainty because:
    • they’re drawing closer to God and, as such, are more obedient.
    • they want God to bless them financially.
    • more wealthy people tend to liquidate their investments and consequently have more cash.

NEGATIVE

  • People don’t attend church as regularly because they’re having to work more to make ends meet.
  • People don’t attend church as regularly because they can’t afford the gas to get there.
  • People stop giving, or they give less, either because they’re struggling to pay their bills or they’re trying to save more money for fear that they might lose their job.

We have only been a church for 12 years, and we have seen just a few periods of economic uncertainty during that time. Also, the areas where most of our congregation lives have been more modestly affected than other regions of the US and parts of the world. We have continued to grow in just about every area during those times, so I would say that if there has been an impact…it has been neutral to relatively positive.

How about you? What has your experience been? What are some other perspectives that you have (positive or negative)?

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