Church Giving Has Rebounded despite COVID-19, New Survey Finds

Amanda Casanova

A new survey from the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability shows that tithes and donations to most evangelical churches and ministries has stayed steady or grown despite stay-at-home orders across the nation.

According to Christianity Today, in April, giving equaled or surpassed April 2019 giving levels at 66 percent of churches and 59 percent of nonprofits, the report, titled “Optimism Outweighs Uncertainty,” said.

Also, 72 percent of churches and 61 percent of Christian nonprofits in the survey said their April 2020 cash donations met or surpassed January’s level.

Christian leaders had worried that stay-at-home restrictions put in place because of the coronavirus pandemic would impact giving.

“For pastors and church staff, there will be difficult days ahead,” State of the Plate founder Brian Kluth had previously said. In a March podcast, the Barna Group reported that 62 percent of US pastors said giving was down at their churches.

But the new survey shows giving has rebounding despite the pandemic.

Half of the leaders in the survey said they were “optimistic” about cash gifts in May through July, while 27 percent said they were uncertain and 15 percent said they were “pessimistic” about summertime donations.

“From what I’m hearing here in the Silicon Valley, we’re not going to be hit that hard,” California Southridge Church pastor Micaiah Irmler said.

“The only thing that has me somewhat nervous,” he said, is how many church members “might move out of our area” to decrease their cost of living.

Churches and nonprofits are also looking to make cautious choices with the gifts as the pandemic continues and cities across the U.S. begin to slowly reopen.

About one in five churches and Christian nonprofits in the survey said they have instituted hiring freezes for nonessential roles while 11 percent of churches and 14 percent of nonprofits have made cuts to hours for some staff.

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Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and She blogs at The Migraine Runner.