Giving to congregations has shifted upward after churches closed their buildings earlier this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new State of the Plate survey.
Research conducted in August finds that 64% of churches across the country reported in August that giving is either up (22%) or steady (42%). By contrast, in April, a similar share of churches (65%) said they had seen a drop in giving.
“This is encouraging news for churches across America,” said Brian Kluth, a former pastor who is now national spokesperson for the National Association of Evangelicals’ Financial Health initiative. “These new findings show that most churches and their families are figuring out ways to survive and even thrive in the midst of all the challenges that the pandemic has thrown their way.”
The findings are based on responses from 1,076 mainline, evangelical and independent Protestant churches. Seven in 10 of them had less than 200 attenders before the pandemic.
A third of the responding churches were in cities or suburbs, almost another third were from towns, about a quarter were from rural areas or small towns and 9% were from large cities.
The majority of respondents — 87% — said their congregations are currently meeting for in-person worship services. But 58% said attendance in person is half or less compared with pre-pandemic times. Six percent said they had seen an increase in attendance.