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Funding The Local Church

Eighty percent of giving in evangelical churches comes from 20 percent of the people. The remaining 20 percent of giving is from another 30 percent of the people, leaving 50 percent not participating. Published national statistics by Barna, the Southern Baptist Convention, and others suggest that 80 percent of giving in evangelical churches comes from 20 percent of the people. The remaining 20 percent of giving is from another 30 percent of the people, leaving 50 percent not participating. The average amount contributed represents about 2.5 percent of the contributor`s gross income, rather than the basic tithe (10%). Historically, most churches have sought to stretch giving by increasing the budget or appealing through Faith Promise Missions—a single category of the overall ...

Funding The Local Church: Borrowing For Building With Bonds

(No church project I have been involved with has failed when the church followed my conservative guidelines.) Now state and federal regulations have added more registry controls that further safeguard the churches and the investors. Why do churches borrow with bonds for building? a. Long-term fixed interest rates are possible with bonds, while most banks offer variable or adjustable rates with balloon balances. The fixed interest rate removes the uncertainty of having to refinance at a higher rate of interest and additional fees when the balloon comes due. b. Bonds provide the opportunity for members to earn a higher return on their investments than banks pay on certificates of deposit. To the extent that bonds are purchased by the membership of the church, the interest is retained by the church members. c. A graduated payment schedule is an option. The loan payment can begin low and increase as church membership and giving increase. But the graduated payment schedule would pay all interest and principal within the specified period for loan maturity without a balloon. d. There is an open-ended deed of trust for future expansion loans. Unlike most conventional loans, if ...

Funding The Local Church: The Debt-Free Debate

The Continuing Debate I recently read the 1996 Moody Press book by Jeff Berg and Jim Burgess, with foreword by Larry Burkett, titled "The Debt-Free Church". The distinction is made in the text between “debt” as unsatisfied commitments and “borrowing” money from individuals or lending institutions. The comment is made that perhaps the book should have been titled “The Borrowing-Free Church,” placing the emphasis on the ills of ever borrowing money. The majority of the quotations in the book are from Larry Burkett`s writings or from retired architect Ray Bowman who wrote "When Not to Build". I disagree with both of these authors on this topic. After nearly 24 years of work as a conservative church development consultant, I do not believe their views on this issue represent an accurate interpretation of Scripture or a wise approach to ministry and facility development. I agree with Berg and Burgess that there have been many problems and failures in churches related to building program debts. But building a case on atypical extremes and abuses is wrong. Many churches have used borrowed funds wisely and have prospered. Borrowing churches are not necessarily ...

Funding The Local Church: Liabilities Of Fund Raising

As I awaited my opportunity to present church development at the church board meeting, the church treasurer presented the financial report. “Since announcing our building fund, we have accumulated $30,000 through designated giving—not nearly enough to launch our building program. However, our giving in the general fund and missions accounts is way down.” I have often heard similar comments in churches that have established a building fund, invited the people to contribute offerings to the fund, or engaged in fund raising for expansion. In many instances, giving has been designated to the building fund which previously had been directed to the general fund or missions. This practice may have minimal risks in a committed congregation of assimilated members who accept ownership of ministry and giving responsibilities. But there are many liabilities that must be considered in most churches characterized as 80/20 churches—80 percent of the giving and serving from 20 percent of the people (a national average in evangelical churches). What are the liabilities of fund raising to be avoided? a. The appeal is primarily to the existing contributors. The self-effort of ...