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Recession Squeezes Churches

August 17, 2009 by

The Wall Street Journal recently covered the financial strain churches are facing as the recession continues. It’s really the same story we’ve seen before with churches tightening budgets, laying folks off, and on the plus side, increasing ministries to the unemployed and helping folks out.

But the most telling quote comes from Brian Keith, a 39-year-old engineer who is currently unemployed. He cut his financial donations to the church, but increased his volunteering:

“Ten percent of zero is zero,” he said. “I can’t tithe without a job.”

Post By:

Kevin D. Hendricks


When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998 and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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8 Responses to “Recession Squeezes Churches”

  • Jim
    August 17, 2009

    i can relate…i was laid off last November. Since then, I picked up work contracting/consulting and volunteering where i can


  • Joel Zehring
    August 17, 2009

    The recession is only squeezing churches that depend on money. Churches that depend on Jesus are still rocking.


  • Mark Collier
    August 17, 2009

    Joel, that sounds zippy as a slogan, but its shallow and assumes a lot. Many churches that totally trust God are still going through hard times. They will come through to be sure, but they still go through…


  • Joel Zehring
    August 18, 2009

    Certainly didn’t want to come off snarky. On my softer side (which is small but growing), I feel for believers who are charged with carrying out God’s vision for his church and balancing a budget. That’s more pressure than any believer should be asked to endure.
    It strikes me that the tithe business-model (or any business-model) just doesn’t fit on the body of Christ. Certainly the individual members might feel squeezed by the economic circumstances, but Christ isn’t squeezed by any circumstance, and I think his local body might be equally immune.
    Is it possible that many churches have shackled themselves to financial liabilities that Christ never intended? Is it possible that Christ is using this recession to shed some of the financial liabilities from his local body?


  • moonbeam47
    August 19, 2009

    I believe if more churches were run like businesses (greater accountability) there would be less waste and more resources. People give tithes in good faith and the salaries and resources they provide should not be squandered under any circumstances.


  • Corey Mondello
    August 20, 2009

    If Churches didn’t have tax-free existences they would have gone bankrupt by now…especially because of those child rapists they have to protect, hide and the families they have to pay off.


  • Sean Pee
    August 20, 2009

    Well that would be the catholic church and that’s a different issue all together, I mean come on now, men should be married, celibacy is just WRONG.
    You know if the Liberal christians would vote better, and vote more for individuals who represent what the government was FOUNDED on, small government, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, freedom, you know all that America mumbo jumbo that makes this country better than any other place, Then individuals wouldn’t be taxed so much, businesses wouldn’t be taxed so much, and people, well they just might be able to afford to tithe and donate money and time instead of busting their butts to make ends meet. I know, I know how dare I say such evil conservative things.
    Not surprising that statistically conservatives and republicans out give liberals and democrats EVERY year. From rich, to poor, conservatives give, while liberals take.
    Render to ceasar what is ceasars, and if liberals like Kevin Hendricks get their way, that will be most of your pay check. After all, a secular, christian hating liberal government will be more compassionate, thoughtful, and responsible with your hard earned dough. GG.


  • Sean Peeisawesome
    August 20, 2009

    Also, its a little ridiculous to be volunteering a lot of your time to a church during a recession.
    Where are all the real men at?
    My dad always said, work hard at your job, and if you don’t have a job, you do nothing else but work to get a new job, and if they aren’t hiring, then you get a job flipping burgers, and you work, and you work hard.
    What the hell happened to our society? Volunteer at a church? Please, be a man, provide for your family, work.
    I swear Jews have it figured out WAY better than christians.



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