A new “State of the Plate” poll involving more than 1,000 churches across all 50 states shows that more than six out of 10 churches have seen a decline in offerings since the coronavirus outbreak began.
The news comes as the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) — a national organization serving 40 denominations and representing 45,000 churches — prepares to launch its annual Bless Your Pastor campaign, encouraging congregations to “show and share God’s love” for pastors and church staff.
Conducted April 8–20, 2020, the State of the Plate constituency-based survey of leaders from over 1,000 churches revealed 65 percent have seen giving decrease since mid-March as churches stopped holding in-person services.
“For pastors and church staff, there will be difficult days ahead as more church families are laid off or experience reduced incomes,” said Brian Kluth, who originally launched the State of the Plate research following the 2008 financial crisis. Kluth is also the national spokesperson for Bless Your Pastor.
The State of the Plate poll, organized by Kluth with the participation of organizations such as Christianity Today’s Church Law & Tax and NAE Financial Health, revealed:
34 percent of churches reported giving had fallen by 10-20+ percent
22 percent reported a decline of 30-50+ percent
9 percent said they’d seen a drop of 75 percent or more in their church offerings
27 percent churches reported that offerings were steady, and 8 percent reported giving had increased
Giving decreases in churches will likely lead to tighter church staffing budgets. The NAE’s Bless Your Pastor movement (BlessYourPastor.org) equips congregations to show appreciation for their pastors and church staff in creative ways.
Churches are encouraged to share “50 Creative Ways to Bless Your Pastor” — a list of practical ways to show pastors and church staff that they’re appreciated. Churches participating in the campaign will be able to request a grant-funded $250 Amazon gift card for their senior pastor.
Kluth said, “Having been a pastor myself, with three children and a wife who needed major medical treatments, I understand the financial struggle so many pastors and their families face and the tremendous difference it makes when a congregation shows their pastor they are there for them all the way.”