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New Report Offers Insight into Congregational Economics
A new report co-authored by Dr. Sean Payne of the Presbyterian Church (USA), Dr. David King of Lake Institute on Faith and Giving, and Dr. Susan Barnett of the Presbyterian Church (USA) sheds light on trends in the financial futures of congregations based on data from our Faith Communities Today (FACT) 2020 study.

The report focuses on economic trends in U.S. faith communities and offers deeper insight into how congregations receive, manage, and spend resources. In addition to looking at finances in relationship to congregational size and religious tradition, the report also looks at online giving trends, an increasingly important source of income. Comparisons are also offered across 20 years of FACT studies, which demonstrate how the financial health of faith communities has changed over time.

Among the many interesting findings the report reveals are:

  • Most congregations are small and have budgets under $100,000.
  • Slightly more than half of American worshipers (51%) attend large congregations with budgets over $1,000,000.
  • The median income or gifts was $120,000, which is a 20% decline from 2010.
  • Congregational budget size is closely tied to attendance and participation.
  • Smaller congregations have larger per capita incomes and expenses.
  • Congregations with shrinking attendance have much higher per capita incomes and expenses than stable or growing congregations.
  • Eighty-five percent of revenue is from participant contributions.
  • Salaries are the largest share of expenses at 44%. Buildings make up another 26% of expenses.

Explore the full range of trends, data points and comparisons in the full report:
Baha'i Report on FACT 2020 Findings
The Bahá’í Faith has been contributing to FACT research since the initiative's inception in 2000. Surveys in 2020 were sent to 950 Local Spiritual Assemblies just prior to widespread COVID-19 lockdowns in January and February of 2020. The resulting data was analyzed by Dr. Mike McMullen, a Bahá’í sociologist at the University of Houston-Clear Lake. 404 surveys were returned, resulting in an overall response rate of 42.5%. The results for each section and question can be found at the link below.
Join Our Pandemic Study Mailing List
Many of our Faith Communities Today partners have been participating in a new collaborative 5-year study led by the Hartford Institute for Religion Research that is designed to research how congregations are changing, innovating, and establishing new ministry practices as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our first two reports produced from this study are as follows:

If you're interested in receiving updates and future reports from this study, please subscribe to the Exploring the Pandemic Impact on Congregations newsletter at this link.
Recent Coverage of Faith Communities Today Research
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