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Long-term declines in church giving and membership can be addressed

empty tomb, inc.

Helping dying children in Jesus’ name will also help the church

Recent survey data from Gallup points to a decline in church membership in the U.S. For the first time in over eight decades of surveys, Gallup found church members were less than half of the U.S. population.

Similar trends show up in numbers reported by a broad set of church denominations and collected by empty tomb, inc.’s The State of Church Giving series.

For example, giving as a percent of income was down 31% on a per-member basis, from 3.02% in 1968 to 2.05% in 2018, the latest year collected.

A group of 34 Protestant denominations and the Catholic Church included 45% of the U.S. population in 1968 and 33% in 2018.

The 30th edition, The State of Church Giving through 2018, not only documents these numbers.  In addition, the new book contends, the trends need not continue. The proposed solution is a goal large enough to attract people’s attention, time and money.

One goal offered by empty tomb is to help, in Jesus’ name, decrease the rate of deaths among children under five around the world.  In spite of declining trends, church distribution channels are often still present where need is greatest. empty tomb’s Mission Match® encourages churches to design mission projects to help reach this goal by 2025.

The new empty tomb book, The State of Church Giving through 2018: What If Jesus Returns in 2025? (30th edition, Dec. 2020), is available from Wipf and Stock Publishers.

More information about Mission Match is available at

See also Reference Resources:

For the Gallup survey results, see: Jeffrey M. Jones; “U.S. Church Membership falls Below Majority for First Time”; 3/29/2021: “Americans’ membership in houses of worship continued to decline last year, dropping below 50% for the first time in Gallup’s eight-decade trend. In 2020, 47% of Americans said they belonged to a church, synagogue or mosque, down from 50% in 2018 and 70% in 1999” (p. 1).

For Pew survey data on the decline of Christianity, see: Gregory A. Smith, Associate Director Research, et al.; “In U.S., Decline of Christianity Continues at Rapid Pace”; 10/17/2019.


Sylvia Ronsvalle
empty tomb, inc.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Religion News Service or Religion News Foundation.

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