Betty provides sound statistics on how much Americans give. I feel that too many missionaries are doom and gloom about giving. That is, they feel like Americans give very little, and they will give less in the future. (The following is from chapter 3 of Friend Raising).
How much Americans give.
Betty’s research shows that 70% of American households do indeed give. Percentage-wise, guess who gives the most. That’s right – those who earn the least. Those with annual incomes below $10,000 give 5.3%! Compare that to the 2.2% that households who bring in more than $100,000 give.
Of course that’s a percentage. I think I have heard somewhere that wealthy people (don’t remember the definition of that) give 70% of all the dollars given.
Having said that, I do believe that the wealthiest Christians who have ever lived on the face of this planet should give more. Regardless of your view on the 10% tithe from the Old Testament, remember that such a tithe was given by an ancient semi-nomadic people – so, yes, I do think American believers can give more.
[Not to be a downer, but Betty’s research via Barna also showed that only 8% of believers tithe, but twice that many – 16% – did not give their church a penny!]
When we Give more.
Betty also chronicles a time when there was incredible giving.
In the late 1980s in Armenia, there was a horrific earthquake, and the generous response globally to the tragedy astounded the media. So, yes, there are times that people give generously that surprise and inspire us.
Why Missionaries who Raise Support are important for the Church.
You will probably hear this again and again from me, but the Church needs to be challenged to partner with your ministry more than you need their dollars. What God does through your ministry can be the thing that inspires people to give more. It can be the thing that moves others to generosity and the joy of giving sacrificially.