(RNS) — All the available hard evidence — not to mention a look around many houses of worship — shows that religious congregations are declining. As congregants increasingly head for the exits, younger Americans, who say they have no religion, are far less likely than previous generations to join a church.
But a new nationally representative study from the Lake Institute on Faith and Giving at Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy finds that revenue is not necessarily declining along with attendance. In fact, the study finds that nearly half of America’s estimated 360,000 congregations saw an increase in giving from three years ago.
The study, which included a representative sample of 1,231 congregations — including churches, synagogues, mosques and other houses of worship — found that 48% of congregations saw an increase in revenue, 35% saw a decrease and 17% said giving remained the same.