4 Disturbing Trends Behind the National Decline in Church Giving

by | September 9, 2019

Church Giving Realities

Charitable giving has consistently risen from less than $150 billion to more than $400 billion in the US over the last 40 years. Yet, last year individual giving fell by 3.4%, charitable giving fell by 1.7% (inflation adjusted), and sadly, inflation adjusted giving to churches fell almost 4%.


What do these giving realities mean for churches?

If this trend continues for just five years, churches in the United States will have 20% less ministry funding.


What should church leaders do next?

In this video, Joe Park explains the trends behind this decline in church giving. He also offers some very practical advice to church leaders to address these giving realities. Some of what Joe discusses is likely brand-new territory for many church leaders. Churches who have made these practices part of their funding model are enjoying increased ministry funding.



If you want to watch the rest of the Giving Intelligence series and access a variety of practical tools to help you cultivate a culture of generosity in your church, visit our Giving365 resource center.


Click here to request a free 20 minute consultation by a Horizons Ministry Strategist about how your church can increase ministry funding and improve discipleship through a process we call Next Level Generosity.


  1. Avatar

    I put a chapter in my book, PROPEL, on donor development in 2015….we were seeing this trend in giving at Resurrection. I appreciate your video warning and appeal!

    Clayton Smth

    • Joe Park

      Clayton, Thank you for sharing for echoing this message. It is a great concern that if this trend holds, we could see the sum of the churches in the US with 20% less ministry funding by 2023. Joe

  2. Avatar

    We are very much interested in increasing giving in our church.
    Thank you.

    • Joe Park

      Clyde, I am glad your church is interested in developing a culture of generosity in your church. I hope you signed up for free Giving365 access. There are dozens of blogs there, as well as over 20 other video’s like this one.

  3. Avatar

    This was very eye opening. This was a timely reminder of the necessity of having a financial leader in the ministry. Thank you so much.

    • Joe Park

      Stephen, I am glad you found it helpful.

  4. Avatar

    Thank you for doing this video and series. As a church consultant and coach I work with hundreds of churches across the country of all sizes and situations. I would say that at least 99% could benefit from this resource and Horizon’s experience. Would appreciate being able to share this video and others in workshops if that is possible? Thanks again

    • Joe Park

      Jim, Thank you for your kind words. Of course you may share this information, as well as any of the 20+ other video’s in the Giving365 Library. Joe

  5. Avatar

    Thanks for a clear and concise overview. I am sorry that you did not include data showing trends on a constant (inflation-adjusted) dollar basis, as it would moderate the apparent historical growth trends and deepen the effects of things like the federal change in standard deductions and other tax-related impacts for charitable giving (although those data are very recent and would not show in the charts presented here).

    • Joe Park


      Thank you for your kind words. You are absolutely correct. This video was shot before that data came out. I will create a newer version this later this year.

  6. Avatar

    I thought this would be helpful to the session I moderate. However, after viewing it I do not see us attracting those “high income” earners/givers. We are an energetic, committed congregation of 55 members. We “may” have one family unit that fits your definition of “high income.” They are involved because of a multi-generation, decades involvement. I did appreciate the statistics and will share that information with the session.

    • Joe Park

      Katherine, While you many not attract high capacity donors at your church, most of the trends discussed in this video, do apply to churches of all sizes. I wish much success as you lead your church into the future that God images for you! Joe

  7. Avatar

    This is a helpful article. Could you cite where the statistics regarding giving trends are from?

    • Joe Park

      There are many data points used, but much of the base data comes from research published by GivingUSA.org. If there is something specific not included in their annual report you are looking for please feel free to reach out to me.


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