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Finances

All but a few churches in our region are struggling with their finances. Giving is down, expenses are up. Many of the ensuing financial discussions focus on what should be cut to meet ends. We need more insights on how to increase income. I had a recent discussion about church finances with a pastor who […] Read More

David Platt, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s International Mission Board (IMB), announced in August plans to eliminate 600 to 800 missionary positions due to a $210 million spending deficit. However, Platt’s numbers do not add up. EthicsDaily.com analyzed IMB audits from 1985 to 2014. As explained in part 1, the audits show a nearly […] Read More

Finances have long been a source of conflict in many clergy homes. Few people go into the ministry with the thought of becoming wealthy, but many are not prepared for the reality of what churches provide in the way of salary and benefit packages. Often, it is not enough to provide financially for the family […] Read More

David Platt, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s International Mission Board (IMB), announced in August plans to eliminate 600 to 800 missionary positions due to a $210 million spending deficit. However, Platt’s numbers do not add up. EthicsDaily.com analyzed IMB audits from 1985 through 2014 and found a different fiscal picture than the one painted […] Read More

I had the opportunity to attend the Economics of Ministry Summit at Central Baptist Theological Seminary (CBTS) in Shawnee, Kansas, “where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the students are above average” (to paraphrase Garrison Keillor). The topic addressed was far from humorous, however. The key question voiced […] Read More

If there is one recurring theme to the conversations I have regularly with clergy, lay leaders and denominational employees, it is viability. In a myriad of ways, people are asking viability questions about ministry, congregational life, finances, staff models, facilities, organizational structures, mission and just about every aspect of religious life today. These viability issues […] Read More

(RNS) Abdullah Nana, an imam at the Islamic Center of Mill Valley, Calif., just north of San Francisco, has a distinct advantage over many of his fellow imams in the United States. It’s not fluency in Arabic or training in Islamic jurisprudence. It’s his bachelor’s degree in business. American imams get asked about financial ethics […] Read More

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (RNS) The old Lorilee Craker would have picked up a couple of $16 children’s shirts without a second thought, ordered a $20 pizza without checking what’s in the fridge, and sent out her bills a few days late. The Amish-makeover Lorilee peruses garage sales and finds a lovely $5 oil painting of […] Read More

Charitable giving to religious organizations was flat in 2010, equaling the amount given the previous year. By contrast, charitable giving to all causes was up 3.8 percent as reported by Giving USA Foundation. “If (all charitable) giving continues to grow at that rate, it will take five or six more years just to return to […] Read More

While total estimated charitable giving edged up by 3.8 percent compared to 2009, gifts to churches and religious organizations actually declined when adjusted for inflation. Philanthropy toward other human services groups, like those that sought funds for the Haiti earthquake disaster, fell even more, registering a 1.5 percent decline when adjusted for inflation. The latest […] Read More