New study finds churches are growing and making money

In one of its first published reports, the National Study of Congregations’ Economic Practices counters a popular story line—that congregations in the US, as a whole, are shrinking.

After surveying more than 1,200 congregations from 2014 to 2017, NSCEP researchers found that, nationally, there are more congregations experiencing growth in attendance than there are ones experiencing decline. What is changing, however, is how those congregations generate revenue.

While the vast majority of congregations—81 percent—rely on individual contributions for revenue, the study found no correlation between growth in regular attendance and growth in income. In fact, one-third of the congregations that reported either growth or decline in one measure did not report a parallel change in the other.