Few realize why the window of opportunity is closing for churches. Giving to the church is on a continual decline. If you think it is caused by the past recession you are sadly mistaken. Giving is on decline for a multitude of reasons why. Here are some of the major reasons for the decline.
1. We are increasingly a more secular society. Just look around to see the evidence of this. We now have a new category of faith, the “Nones.” Those are people who when asked their religion say, none. Over 20% of Americans are in this category.
2. Church attendance is at a steep rate of decline. You can trace the decline of giving to the church and the decline of church attendance side by side and the graph will look almost identical. When people check out of attending church their money goes with them.
3. The view of our economic present and future is uncertain. This is the combined result of 9/11, The Great Recession and the current slow economic recovery. Donors are simply less confident than in the past and this does impact their giving. The word of our day is uncertainty!
4. The technological revolution has changed how Americans do commerce. We have become a checkless and cashless society. Yet the typical church uses the offering plate or bucket as their only means of collecting money.
5. The demographic shift in America has changed. The Silent Generation, born between 1925 and 1945, one of the most generous generations has all but moved off the stage. Their children, Baby Boomers, born between 1945 and 1964, are now the largest generational donor group for churches. Yet every day 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 years of age and that figure will happen every day for the next 20 years. Baby Boomers are at the peak of their earning power now. Yet they are quickly moving into retirement where their incomes will be significantly less. Thus their ability to give will be diminished.
NASA when launching any rocket looks for the best opportunity for that launch. A lot of research and planning goes into when the proper window exists. They do this not only for the launch but also for re-entry.
The long ago movie, Space Camp, first introduced many to the concept of the window of re-entry. The window is the allotted time which is given for the shuttle to enter the atmosphere and glide in for the landing. If it enters too early or late it has no way to adjust its trajectory being as it is essentially a glider at the mercy of gravity. If they miss the window they must wait for the next window of opportunity to come back around.
The Churches window of opportunity is closing fast and most are doing nothing about it. We currently are living in one of the most fast paced changing times in history. Change is happening right in front of us at an almost blinding speed. Would you have ever thought just five years ago that you would be debating same sex marriage and legalized use of marijuana? Look how fast that happened. We are encountering massive changes every day.
“5 Massive Changes Coming to Your Church (If They’re Not Here Already)” is a crucial article written by Karl Vaters in a post at http://www.christianitytoday.com/karl-vaters/
Vaters lists five changes that we need to be aware of. Here are the five…
1. The Way People Earn Is Changing.
2. The Way People Give Is Changing.
3. The Way People Attend Church Is Changing.
4. The Way People Commit Is Changing.
5. The Way People Trust Is Changing.
If uncertainty is the word of the day for those in your chairs or pews then change is the word of the day for you and I as ministers! We don’t have to change our theology but we do have to change our methodology and our practices. Every day we delay we risk missing a window of opportunity. We need to understand that,
The real question is what do you need to do NOW to take advantage of what opportunities still exist for the Church.
For giving there is a five to ten year window left for churches to finalize whatever projects are on the planning table. With your major donors, Baby Boomers, moving into retirement you had better strike now while the iron is hot or, while the window is still open.
So, here is my advice, whether you use us or not, get moving on that plan you have been thinking about. NOW is the time. Your window of opportunity is fast closing. In these uncertain times we do not know what the future will bring. We have an opportunity now. The window is still open. Let’s not miss our opportunity. Act NOW!
Mark Brooks – The Stewardship Coach