Church member giving as a percent of income in 2015 remained near the lowest levels in the 1968-2015 period.
Although a slight increase was measured from 2014 to 2015, the portions of income given to churches in 2014 and 2015 were among the lowest over four decades.
Meanwhile, 40 countries were not on target as of 2015 to meet global goals to reduce their under-age-five mortality rates.
Lower giving levels by members limit their churches’ potential to provide needed assistance to these 40 countries, using the widespread distribution systems already in place through denominational church structures.
These findings are presented in the empty tomb, inc., report, The State of Church Giving through 2015: Understanding the Times. The new book is the 27th in the annual series. Presenting analyses of 2015 data, the latest available, the book is scheduled to be released on October 12, 2017.
The new report suggests the potential for churches to provide leadership on addressing global need remains great.
In an analysis of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 Consumer Expenditure Survey, empty tomb found that Americans reported giving 71% of their donations to “church, religious organizations.” Further, citing research from another source, the report notes 70% of the U.S. population still identifies as Christian, whether or not they are church members.
Tables in the new report present an analysis by empty tomb of UNICEF and World Health Organization 2015 data for countries working to reduce their under-age-5 mortality rates, in keeping with the 2000-2015 Millennium Development Goals. The empty tomb analysis found that 40 countries were not on target as of 2015 to reach the goals set by world leaders.
Causes of death in each of the 40 countries are presented in the tables. According to the UNICEF and WHO data, the largest causes of death in young children include treatable conditions, such as diarrhea and pneumonia.
The difference between the target goals and the actual child-death rates in these 40 countries is referred to as the Promise Gap in the new book. An empty tomb analysis suggests that 1.3 million children under age five died in 2015 because the goals were not met, and another 1.3 million caught in the Promise Gap would die in 2017.
In chapter 8, the book discusses current church people’s potential to have a greater impact on helping to close, in Jesus’ name, the Promise Gap in the global child death rate. A micro-summary of church history from the early church through the present provides a background for the discussion.
The first seven chapters present various analyses of church member giving and membership patterns. Findings include:
Declines in giving as a percent of income were evident in both evangelical and mainline congregations.
Membership as a percent of U.S. population declined in the 1968-2015 period in a group comprised of 32 Protestant denominations and the Roman Catholic Church.
Other analyses include: potential giving levels in nine Roman Catholic archdioceses; an exploration of potential giving levels among native-born church members in the U.S., in light of the level of remittances sent by foreign-born people from the U.S. to other countries; trends in religious construction; giving and membership in 11 Protestant denominations from 1921 to 2015; and a comparison of denominational overseas missions support.