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Lower Giving Could Mean Financial Crisis

According to the Barna Research Group (BRG), giving to churches dropped significantly last year, even by those identified as born-again Christians. Seventy percent of them gave to the church last year, down from 84 percent the previous year. Their average total gift for the year also fell 19 percent from 1999 to $1,166.

The nationwide survey of 1,005 adults also found that although 32 percent of born-again believers claimed to tithe, a check of their household income revealed that only 12 percent actually did.

The BRG report said that six out of every $10 given to nonprofit groups last year went to churches. Those identified as evangelicals gave the most to churches, an average $2,097. Slightly more than a third of all those questioned said they had given money last year to a religious group other than a church. Their average gift was $176. BRG estimated that parachurch groups last year took in almost $9 billion.

Commenting when the AAFCTP report was released, Donald Eberly, the deputy director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives said: "Charitable giving is not occurring at the levels it could be and should be." Contributions to religious and other groups needed to become "a major national priority," he said.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS SERVICE        Wed, Jun 06, 2001        Vol. 3  No. 52

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