Over a 5 year period as
national president of the Christian Stewardship Association, Brian
Kluth observed the following trends that are shaping the funding of
Christian churches and organizations.
1-ęDOWN – Percentage of
income that Christians give has been declining for 30+ years.
Current percentages are 1 ˝ to 3 ˝ percent.
2-ęDOWN – Percentage of
Christians giving 10% or more.
Barna Research recently reported that although 17% of
Christians say they “tithe” – but only 3% actually give 10% or
more of their income to the Lord’s work.
3-ęDOWN – Clear
understanding of what the word “stewardship” means (i.e.
– fundraising?, giving?, building campaign? annual pledge
drive?, whole life discipleship?). To make matters more
confusing, in the philanthropy world, stewardship means "an
organization's responsibility to its donors". In the
corporate world, it means "a company's responsibility for the
earth - i.e. environment issues). In government circles it
means the "government's responsibility to the poor".
When relating to Christian giving, it is better received if you use
terms like “biblical generosity” or “kingdom or eternal
4-ęDOWN – Use of crisis
direct mail as a primary or successful source of income (i.e.
– crisis direct mail appeals that are NOT integrated with major
donors, giving clubs, planned gifts, events, etc.).
5-éUP – Interest by
pastors, church leaders, seminaries, colleges that they
should begin to do “something” more intentional in the area of
biblical teaching on finances and generosity. (One resource is
the Crown Financial Ministries Collegiate Small Group Bible Study or
Course Book on finances).
6-éUP – National and
international ministries dedicated to helping people focus on
financial matters – Larry Burkett's Crown Financial
Ministries radio program is heard on 1100+ stations (1,000,000 calls
per year) and hundreds of thousands have gone through their 12-week
church-based financial bible studies.
7-éUP – Interest by
Christian leaders from other nations to incorporate biblical
theology on finances, generosity and resourcing Christian ministries
into their seminaries, churches, conferences, etc. (e.g. – Europe,
Africa, So. America).
8-éUP – Media coverage
by Christian and secular press.
CSA/Brian Kluth has been involved in media interviews with
Chronicle of Philanthropy (3 feature stories),
Kiplinger Magazine (circulation 1 million), NBC Dateline,
major metro newspapers, Christianity Today, Religion News, Vital
Ministry magazine, radio talk show interviews.
9-éUP – Financial assets
and material resources of most Americans (and Christians) has
increased over the last 10-20 years.
10-éUP – Planned gifts are
growing in frequency, size and complexity.
11-éUP – Ministries
turning to outsourced services for planned gifts (i.e. –
PhilanthroCorp, Lifestyle Giving)
12-éUP – Networking of
Christian financial professionals – Renaissance,
Christian Financial Planners, Institute of Christian
Financial Planners, etc..
13-éUP – Networking and
professional development education opportunities.
The Christian Stewardship Association (CSA) conference has
grown in 5 years from 400 to 1000 people.
CSA now offers professional 5-day graduate level courses in
more than 8 different disciplines.
14-éUP – Biblical
emphasis and integration in raising resources for God’s
15-éUP – Spiritual
emphasis on praying and caring for donors.
16-éUP – Christian
Community Foundation activities and impact on charitable
17-éUP – Networking of
major Christian funders through The Gathering, Faith Works,
Royal Treasure, The Maclellan Foundation, Generous Giving conference
and initiatives, local giving groups, etc.
18-éUP – Giving club
programs that allow people to regularly/systematically give
“in proportion to how God has blessed them” to the ministries
they care about.
19-éUP – Use of
technology to better inform existing and potential donors
about missionaries, projects, prayer concerns, etc.
(email newsletters, push technology, personal web pages, SF
Reports, Wall Watchers).
20-éUP – Electronic
donations (Automatic Check Withdrawals and Internet donations)
to support missionaries, churches and Christian organizations.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Brian Kluth is a national and international speaker and writer
on Biblical generosity and financial matters.
He is also a church pastor and the founder of MAXIMUM Generosity, a public ministry dedicated to advancing Biblical generosity through inspirational preaching, leadership training seminars, writing, resources and the media. Brian’s written materials have been distributed to more than 350,000 Christian leaders in more than 100 countries .For additional materials or to contact Brian, email:
firstname.lastname@example.org or visit:
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