Money Matters: Personal Giving in American Churches

Hoge, Dean, Charles Zech, Patrick McNamara, and Michael Donahue. Money Matters: Personal Giving in American Churches. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1996.

The authors present findings from a research project examining factors influencing U.S. church giving. The project focused on 625 congregations of five denominations -- the Assemblies of God, the Southern Baptist Convention, the Roman Catholic Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the Presbyterian Church, USA -- in nine geographic locations. Mailed questionnaires were received from 10,902 laity in randomly selected congregations. Twelve congregations were studied in depth. The authors conclude that individual giving varies by family income, age, religious beliefs, level of involvement in the congregation, feelings about the church, and the extent to which their giving is planned. Theological commitment of members is the most important difference between Catholic and Protestant churches, and the churches' theological worldviews are important factors in denominational differences. Church size and the number of programs offered also are important. Churches successful in encouraging giving have participatory leadership, a sense of forward movement, a feeling of lay ownership, strong trust in leaders, and a full array of programs. (SM)