Financial meltdown for the Church?

Written by Church Leadership Center /
January 13, 2016


Financial Meltdown for the Church?

“Donations to evangelical churches and organizations are on course to decline by about 70% within the next 25-30 years due to the deaths of the most generous generation” says John S. Dickerson in his book, The Great Evangelical Recession.

This financial meltdown megatrend is already underway as he further predicts with urgency that, “Our churches and para-church ministries are unprepared for the 46 % drop in donations that we will likely see in the next 14 years” (p.91).  Dickerson’s predictions are based on the fact that the majority of donations in churches come from those 65 and older, with no indication that the younger generations will be equally generous as they age.

Sobering stuff.

The book is filled with many similar assessments and predictions for the American Evangelical Church.  While Dickerson readily acknowledges that no one knows the plans of our provident God and that God in His sovereignty could guide the church into an entirely different future, the megatrends he analyzes are worth deep consideration by the leaders of all churches

But there is hope.

In the last half of his book, Dickerson outlines 6 solutions for recovery to address the six trends of decline he names earlier.  The hope lies, of course, in the Lord and leader of the church who promises to build his church.  But Dickerson goes on to outline a process for addressing these trends that would bring the modern church, most unremarkably, back to its beginning in the New Testament Church.

The six solutions are:

  1. Re-valuing–Instead of buying the model of exchanging more bucks for more ministry, to re-set to Kingdom priorities.
  2. Good–Instead of inflaming cultural hostilities, to be examples of goodness.
  3. Uniting–Instead of a dividing presence, for churches to model unity in essentials, charity in non-essentials.
  4. Solvent–Instead of ministry being driven by dollars to ministry being driven by Holy Spirit empowerment of new leaders that lead a solvent church.
  5. Healing–Instead of depleted and spent leaders, raising healthy shepherding leaders who disciple the people.
  6. Re-Igniting–instead of over-looking evangelism, to intentionally raise evangelistic leaders that focus on reaching ALL people.

When I re-read the book recently, I gave thanks to God for CLC.

As an organization in service to the church, CLC is positioned to help churches and para-church ministries to manage a time of change and to re-center the church for the challenges ahead.  Commissioned Pastors are one such example of our equipping of leaders for the church of today and tomorrow.  Other new initiatives CLC is engaging are Elder and Deacon training, a visioning leadership retreat, and a new course for church planters called, “Resourcing the Church Plant”.  These initiatives are on the front end of these trends.

Use the “LET’S TALK” form on the right side of this page if you would like to talk with someone within CLC about specific actions your church or ministry can take to position you to take advantage of these trends and not be harmed by them.  

Trusting the Lord of the Church with you….

Jim Lankheet

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