The 2022 State of Giving

The 2022 State of Giving

64% of churches are optimistic about total cash gifts to their churches going into 2022, according to a study done by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA).1. That is a 3% increase from their outlook going into 2021. “Despite incredible challenges through an environment with much adversity, 2021 has seen remarkable endurance and significant forward motion among ECFA members and other like-minded ministries,” said Warren Bird, ECFA’s senior vice president of research and equipping. “We are impressed by their strong, optimistic belief that God will continue to provide the funding needed to fuel gospel-motivated ministry.”

As we start the second year of The Stewardship Journal, we felt it important to talk about the 2022 state of giving as it pertains to churches. Should churches enter 2022 feeling optimistic about their giving future? The answer is not as easy as one might think as there are a host of factors to consider, including the economy.

Typically, strong economies result in positive giving for churches. Lifeway Research did a study in 2021 that found churches gained some stability in giving in 2021, but only 12% felt the economy was helping their congregation. “Most churches are taking a deep breath financially following the uncertainty of the height of the pandemic,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research. “While the official recession ended quickly in April 2020, economic growth has been uneven, and few churches are feeling actual positive impacts from the economy at this point.”2.

Southern Baptist churches have weathered the economic and pandemic impact better than most churches. We believe there are three primary reasons why. First, SBC churches typically teach the tithe, leading to a greater long-lasting giving from members. Next, SBC church’s Great Commission focus keeps donors more energized and engaged in life change, which stimulates giving. Finally, most SBC churches in 2021 returned to primarily on-campus worship and meeting, which helped them see a giving increase.

“I think all of us in the stewardship field were surprised at how quickly giving stabilized,” said Mark Brooks, The Stewardship Coach. “As we move into 2022, the question we need to be asking is how did giving stabilize? When you look at giving data, you find that existing donors, particularly Boomers, gave the bulk of the money to keep churches solvent. How long will that last when 10,000 Boomers a day turn 65 and are entering into retirement? One of our biggest challenges as a Convention is our aging donor base.”

What should a church do to see its 2022 state of giving improve? Brooks stressed two key things churches must do. “We must work to raise up the next generation as well as helping our aging donors see the importance of leaving behind a legacy.” The typical SBC church sees most of its giving coming from those 50 and up. This means we need to focus on discipling and training up the Next Generation of donors. This is one of our primary purposes for producing The Stewardship Journal.

Rob Phillips, who leads the team for the Stewardship Journal, stated, “Now starting its second year, the Stewardship Journal has gained traction with Missouri Baptist leaders who especially seek to train up the next generation of donors. With the Journal’s new web-based format, finding and sharing timely articles and tips is easier than ever before.”

In addition to training up future generations of donors, Brooks advises working with older donors about leaving behind a legacy through their estate. “Tragically, few churches have any plan for encouraging estate planning.”

Dr. Neil Franks, the President of the Missouri Baptist Foundation, commented on the importance of estate planning by saying, “Because of COVID’s many churches stopped passing a physical plate by members and many members are still fearful of returning to church. This has impacted giving. As a result, other means of giving must be developed to offset these losses.  A good estate plan is one way to offset those losses. The most significant financial gifts many individuals can make are when they no longer need their assets at the end of their lives. Most people are not going to part with their home, cars, or prized possessions as long as they are alive, but once they take up residence in heaven, they will no longer need their stuff.  Which provides an opportunity to support the ministries they wished they could have supported in life. MBF is well positioned and ready to serve our churches to bring up these conversations and guide them through the process.  We would love to start a conversation.”

Predicting the future of anything is problematic. That holds true for predicting the 2022 state of giving. Being optimistic is a start, yet optimism alone cannot help giving improve without a plan of action. Our commitment to you is to help provide you with actionable plans to ensure a solid 2022 year of giving.


Share this post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *