According to Barna's latest study, "Two out of every three families - 68% - have been noticeably affected by the financial setbacks in America. Nearly one out of every four (22%) said they have been impacted in a "major way," almost four out of ten have been affected "only somewhat" and about one out of every twelve (8%) say they have not been affected too much."
How have people responded to these tough economic times? According to Barna, churches and non-profits are feeling the brunt of the economy's woes.
During the past three months, one of the ways that adults have adjusted to their financial hardships has been by reducing their charitable giving. In total, one out of every five households (20%) has decreased its giving to churches or other religious centers.How Are Churches Responding?
The degree of reduction in giving is significant for churches. Among people who have decreased giving to churches and religious centers, 19% dropped their giving by as much as 20%, 5% decreased their generosity by 21% to 49%, 17% reduced their giving by half, and 11% sliced their provision by more than half. In addition, 22% said they had stopped their giving altogether.
Nearly 1/3 said that their church offered a special talk about the finanical situation and how to respond to it. Almost 37% said their church had offered specific opportunities for personal financial counseling.
Providing special prayer support for those who were struggling financially was noted by 73% of church-goers. And about half of Christian church attenders (52%) said that their church had increased the amount of material assistance made available to congregants during the past three months, such as food, clothing and other basic needs.
How is your church responding to the current economic challenges?