Consumer Caution Blurs Retailers’ Outlook was a headline article in The Wall Street Journal this morning. It had some interesting quotes…
“Consumer Confidence soured in October over the debt ceiling fight and the 16 day partial government shutdown injected uncertainty into U. S. consumers and businesses.”
“Americans kept spending in the weeks before Washington’s budget battles rocked consumer confidence, though the pace of gains suggests little chance of strong growth in the critical final months of the year.”
“…a long-awaited pickup in economic growth may have to wait until next year.”
“At best we’ll see more of the same, but more of the same is hardly a sign of increased confidence or increasing economic growth,” said Sterne Agee chief economist Lindsey Piegza.”
“While the recent setbacks may prove to be temporary, they raised worries about the economy’s trajectory heading into the holiday-shopping season. Many economists hoped the second half would offer a long-awaited jolt to economic activity. Instead, it is shaping up to provide more of the same moderate growth that has plagued the economy for most of the four-year recovery.”
You might be wondering what all of the above has to do with you and your church? Here is a truth, when consumer confidence is low for the guy out on main street you can be sure that donor confidence is impacted when the same guy sits in your pews or chairs.
Every charitable giving analyst is projecting a decline in religious giving for 2013. One reason why is the sluggish recovery of our economy. People are faced with uncertainty and one area they are cutting back is in their gifts to religion and the church.
People are spending money! Meanwhile in the same edition of The Wall Street Journal there was an article entitled, “Game Makers Lift Forecasts.” Here are some pertinent quotes…
“Videogame makers Electronic Arts Inc. and Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. raised their full year outlooks following strong sales of their products and early indications of robust holiday sales.”
“Electronic Arts also said it rung up $1.04 billion in sales, down from $1.08 billion a year prior.”
OK, so game makers are projecting growth for the final quarter when others are projecting a soft economy for them. So, we won’t spend money on some things but we do need the latest video game or console? Did you notice that Electronic Arts did have a slight decrease but still boasted sales of over a billion dollars for the third quarter? Notice that was for ONE quarter!
What does this all mean for your church? While facts like this might be of interest the real question is how will this impact you and your church and more importantly what should you do? Here are some thoughts…
People find money to spend money on what they want! Electronic Arts billion dollar sales prove this. So does Apple who successfully launched product lines in the midst of the recession. If we want it we will find a way to get it!
Lesson for the church: We must make giving to our churches appealing so that people will WANT to give.
Giving is in decline and we need to wake up. Giving has been in decline since 1968 even when at times the economy was booming. Since you know this to be a reality the question is what are you doing about it?
Lesson for the church: We must have a plan of action to reverse any declines in giving.
Wise churches have a plan and work their plan! While the headlines all point out the churches that struggle few talk about those churches that have actually seen giving increase. As I have been saying throughout these difficult economic times, your church does not have to see a decline in giving.
Lesson for your church: Get a plan and work it!
Finally, if you do nothing your giving will decline and you will be out of business! Recently empty tomb inc. released their annual study on the state of giving in the church. Giving to the church has declined from 3.11% of Americans incomes to 2.32%. If the current trend of decline continues by 2050 the percentage of Americans incomes given to a church will go down to 1.0%!
So, what are you going to do about this? As I always say, don’t just sit there do something!
Mark Brooks- The Stewardship Coach
Founder and President, The Charis Group and Charis Giving Solutions