Generosity Labs Podcast // Fascinating Tithing Statistics

For today’s episode of the Generosity Labs Podcast, Kenny Jahng shares tithing stats within America from an article that he ran across. He talks about tithing and the data that they have from self-surveys regarding tithing. Kenny also talks about the church messaging, marketing and strategy and how it could be better with a few small changes.

Link to article referenced:

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Hey there, Kenny Jahng here from Generosity Labs. Find out more details about generosity and giving resources for the church at our website,

And we are here with another episode of the podcast today. I just want to jump online and I found this interesting article that came across my desk, 21 fascinating tithing statistics and I just wanted to share a couple of them with you, but actually now that I think about it, most of them don’t even matter. There’s a whole great article. What is tithing? Tithing is defined for those people who don’t go to church, you know, they think it’s 10 percent today, that conversation and that definition has been loosened up. There’s Biblical support for it, all this kind of stuff. But when it comes down to it, there’s a couple of things. One, everyone thinks that you need to increase the giving by bringing more people into the church. And you look at the number one type of statistic that they listed here, only three to five percent of Americans who give to their local church do so through regular tithing.

That is kind of crazy when you actually survey people, obviously self reported tithing numbers go up. Number six, when surveyed, 17% of Americans state that they regularly tithe. So 17% say that they tithe regularly, only three to five percent give regular tithing to their church and they’re not even sure what they mean by tithing. They’re just saying regular giving to the church. And so that is kind of interesting. Obviously, you know, the average donations who attended us Protestant churches about $17 a week, which I think is kind of fascinating, that’s really tiny, right? Like you would think that it will be much higher than that, but the average person, if they’re only giving, $17 a week and if you assume that they go every single week, which we know is not the case, the average church goer is only going every other week, every three weeks, every four weeks.

But if they were there every single week, that would only mean $884 per person per year. And we know that’s not the case. And so, that’s really, really concerned some people. Right here at number 13, 17% of American families have reduced the amount that they give to the local church in some way. 7% have dropped regular giving by 20 percent or more. 20% or more. So one of these things that I think is really interesting is that I think that you have the emphasis on the wrong thing, that you have people sitting in your pews and literally the majority of them are not giving regularly. The majority of them are not tithing, even the ones that are giving regular or giving less. And if you listen to our last episode there are some questions that Dan Reiland from 12Stone church actually posted that I would challenge people to do a challenge, sit in the pews the Sunday and try to say yes for every single one of the top responses that people gave for when they give to a cause.

And I would say for the majority of churches, they are not doing a good job at all. In fact, they’re failing to have those answers say yes, yes, yes by anybody who attends the church. And for the most part it’s an easy fix in terms of your messaging, your marketing, and also some strategic, I guess a change in how you’re actually doing your ministry that doesn’t need to have huge overhauls in what you do in terms of your operations, your workflows, your ministries, your causes, all the things, the activities that you’re planning. But if you can tweak them and really think about it and reverse engineer to figure out how someone at your church is going to answer those questions with a yes instead of a no, then you’re on your way to becoming a healthy financial church. There is good news. Number 14 says, in total, about 10 million people actually do donate as tithers to the church and that those 10 million give about $50,000,000,000 annually to the Church and to other nonprofit causes, to the Church and nonprofit causes.

That means you have the ability to influence them and prioritize the church as one of their giving partners. Now 77% of those who people who did give significantly 11 to 20 percent of their income, we’re far more than the baseline of 10%, right? Seventy seven percent of time gave more than they needed to, and there’s a reason why. If you look at those churches in those communities, those leaders, they’re casting vision. They’re making the mission very concrete. They’re allowing people to see the overwhelming sense of purpose in that church every single time they come to church. And so 97% of Christians who do tithe make it their top financial priority, give to the local church. That I think is the fundamental question. How do you take the people that are already in your church, the people that are already giving and up the involvement and increase the commitment and the passion they have for the transformational work that you’re doing in ministry?

Now, there is something to be said about good habits being started from when you’re young. The number 18 says people are more likely to practice tithing when they begin the practice in their teens or early 20s and people tried to regulate typically is less debt than other demographics. This is why a financial stewardship, a debt class Dave Ramsey type of program in your church is something that probably is going to help individuals first, but then the halo effect is that you will receive the benefits as a church, as a ministry, as a community, as you get people out of debt and into a stronger financial position. So, this is one of those things that if you look at this article that there is some really dire statistics here that paint a gloomy picture, but at the same time there’s an interesting trends and interesting facts that Americans are actually giving.

They’re giving their wealth away to good causes are giving their wealth away to from family to family here. One trillion to 3 trillion in wealth will change hands every year within the Christian community, from family to family. A total income of the United States is 5.22 trillion annually, nearly half of the world’s total Christian income. That is amazing. Nearly half of the world’s total Christian income is here, right in the United States. And only three point three to five percent of those Americans who give to the local church do it regularly. So what do we need to do to change the mentality of giving regular financial support and how do we give more of it? There’s, those are the questions you need to start to reverse engineer and start to understand. It’s not about trying to figure out how to bring more people into church through church growth to get more giving families.

It’s really about what do you have in your community now that they’re just making proactive decisions, not to prioritize your church budget over other nonprofit and causes that they’re giving to each year. Now, again, number seven for Christian families making less than 20 percent a year. Eight percent of them gave at least 10% or more. And for families making a minimum of $75,000 more, the figure drops to just 1%. They’re just giving one percent in terms of their tithing to the church. So, there’s a lot to be done, but there’s a lot of opportunity so that if your church is struggling, if your church is one of the 86%, 84%, according to the rocket survey that was done several years ago, 84% of churches are at or below their budget. That means they don’t have any margin for any emergencies.

They don’t have any margin for incremental outreach or spur of the moment ad hoc things they are at or below budget. Only 16% of churches are making their budget or have margin that are raising more money than they spend. And so you got to think of it as, “Hey, there is the answer. It’s right in front of you. It is your community.” But the reason, there’s many reasons why they’re choosing not to give or prioritize your ministry in terms of their giving profile. So I just want to leave that open ended a question with a lot of these stats for this article. Hopefully that’s a conversation starter. I would love for you to comment on the blog or any way that you or anywhere that you were actually consuming this podcast, Youtube, etc. Jump into the comments, share your thoughts and ideas, and let’s start the conversation because this is a critical one as we keep on moving forward to share resources, share best practices on how to help get your church fully funded for your mission and the vision that you have for the ministry in your community.

I’m Kenny Jahng. Thank you for listening to today’s episode, generosity labs podcast. Remember generosity starts with you.


01:46 One, everyone thinks that you need to increase the giving by bringing more people into the church. And you look at the number one type of statistic that they listed here, only three to five percent of Americans who give to their local church do so through regular tithing.

02:13 Number six, when surveyed, 17% of Americans state that they regularly tithe. So 17% say that they tithe regularly, only three to five percent give regular tithing to their church and they’re not even sure what they mean by tithing. They’re just saying regular giving to the church.

03:28 number 13, 17% of American families have reduced the amount that they give to the local church in some way. 7% have dropped regular giving by 20 percent or more.

05:23 Number 14 says, in total, about 10 million people actually do donate as tithers to the church and that those 10 million give about $50,000,000,000 annually to the Church and to other nonprofit causes, to the Church and nonprofit causes

09:15 number seven for Christian families making less than 20 percent a year. Eight percent of them gave at least 10% or more. And for families making a minimum of $75,000 more, the figure drops to just 1%. They’re just giving one percent in terms of their tithing to the church.

Generosity Labs Podcast with Joseph Sangl on Preaching about Money

Generosity Labs Podcast with Joseph Sangl on Preaching about Money

In today’s episode of the Generosity Labs podcast, we interview Joseph Sangl who is on a quest to help pastors get over their fear about talking about money. He is the founder of I Was Broke Now I’m Not.

Key points in the discussion:

  • How does a pastor bring up the taboo subject of money with his preaching?
  • What are some take-aways to add into a pastor’s sermon about giving and generosity?
  • How powerful and important is an offering prep?
  • 4 Resources About Financial Management

You can listen, subscribe or watch my interview with Joseph below.

Reach out to Joseph Sangl on

CHECK OUT WWW.GENEROSITYLABS.ORG for more episodes, blog articles and more resources about giving and generosity.



KENNY: Good day everybody. This is Kenny Jahng coming at you again and today, in the hot seat, we’ve got a good friend Joe Sangl. Thank you so much for being with us, Joe, today.

JOE: Fired up. Thanks so much brother.

KENNY: It is great to be with you especially because the conversation that we’ve been having with a lot of churches in the past recently center around the taboo topic of money. Giving and money. And I know that you are in that space. You’re talking about that everyday, actually. So, why don’t you share with our audience a little about who you are, what you do and how you help churches in particular.

JOE: My name is Joseph Sangl. And I founded an organization called I Was Broke, Now, I Am Not. and I’d like to say people, if you’re saying now, he is broke? You’re failing grammar class and it’s not fun being broke. And I got unbroke and I did it by following God’s Word and applying His principles. And as I went through the process, I have an Engineering degree from Purdue University, got my MBA, and I was still broke. And I was wondering, “Was it that difficult?” And I realized, I was thinking too hard that it’s really the reading of God’s Word and the application of it. I started finding all the scripture about money. And I’ve found out that God’s Word is not silent on it. But, my pastor had been silent on it. Therefore, I was educated by all those great marketers from Madison Avenue and I spend it all. I have the spiritual gift to making money disappear and I got deliverance. And I am on a one-man quest to help pastors get over their fear in talking about money because all their people, they make money decisions all day long.

KENNY: So, let’s get into that because I think it’s still even today in 2017, a little bit of a taboo topic for these pastors and church leaders that we’re talking to, they’re afraid to bring it up. They feel like they’re begging for money. They feel like it’s out of place. It’s not an etiquette. In fact, I’ve had lunch with a pastor this week who said, he literally doesn’t have any data on how much money people give in his church. They put up a security wall, so that he literally doesn’t know. So, what is the first step? If people here listening today want to embrace a culture of generosity, how do they bring up money and tithing and giving if they’ve never preached on it before, right, which is very possible, they don’t do it in classes, or workshops or seminars, or even in the bible studies, what’s the first step? How do you bring it up for the first time the pulpit or from the stage?

JOE: That’s a great question and I would say, they need to start with the “Why”. Why do they want to talk about it because if it’s just to get them to give, that’s not appropriate “why”. If it’s, I want to teach them about what God’s Word says about all of money,  giving but also saving, debt, planning, investing, if I want to see them win and fund the dreams God has placed in their life and be able to fund the shared dream of the church, then, when they get to that place if that is their why, then, that’s when they need to approach the church with it. A lot of pastors, when they hear us say, “You need to preach on money.”, they immediately, something about that word replaces it with the word with ‘giving’ — preach on ‘giving’. But, that’s only, you know, 10%. If you’re giving, preaching the tithe, that’s only 10% of the resources God has placed in their hands. You need to make sure you speak to the entire pocket, the other 90%, as well. And so, I would start by talking about their goal as a leader to help people live a fully funded life, being able to do exactly what God has called them to do, regardless of its cause or income potential and then, go from that point. I am going to talk about giving, yes, that is God’s Word. We should be givers. I will talk about the rest, too because I also want to help you live the best and only life you have.

KENNY: I love that. That is such a critical insight. That, if you’re preaching on giving, you’re only talking about 10% of their daily living of what they go through, you need to talk about the holistic aspect. Now, some people have an allergic reaction to thinking that money and stewardship is a part of spiritual discipline. What’s your take on it?

JOE: I just say, how can you say you love the Lord and not be a giver? How can you say He died and paid the ultimate price that we can have liberty? And you know, I have heard one said, “How can I stare at the blood-stained cross, and say what is the minimum of I can give?” You know what I’m saying? So, Jesus said in Matthew 6:21, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” And if you say you love the Lord, if you say your heart is with the Lord, it will compel you to be a giver.

KENNY: In terms of preaching, you were saying that, “Hey, look, we’re not going to talk about actually giving to the church. That is not the focus or the end goal or the call to action at the end of the first time you’re talking about it.” What’s the take-away of that first talk, the first sermon someone’s going to give?

JOE: I think the take-away is to ask the question, “Are you truly honoring the Lord with everything He has placed in your hands?” And I would challenge every person within my church to spend an hour this next week reviewing their last month’s spending. Pull out their credit card statements, bank statements and say, “In an audit, when someone convicts you, which means having them found guilty of, living a generous life and being a wise manager.” I am going to start there. I love the story that Jesus shares in parable to talents in Matthew 25:14-30, where it talks about the three manager. And it says in there, each according to their ability they’re giving different amounts. If people want more to manage, increase your ability to manage it. It says, the Lord pays attention to that.

KENNY: Got you. Shifting gears a little bit. About the specific offering, one of the things that I’m a bit proponent about, and I think that people miss is that the offering part of the service is one of the most strategic moments of your ability to influence the daily living of your congregants. How powerful can that be? Have you seen any tangible differences when people pursue that?

JOE: Absolutely. There’s a massive difference. Some people called it an offering prep. But, really, it is an opportunity to speak about money 52 times a year in a positive, productive and spiritual principle manner. And we encourage people to change it up each week, so it doesn’t blend into the woodwork. Many churches have fallen into a routine, and it’s, “Oh yeah, we need to do that.” But really, giving is one of the most tangible forms of worship that we can do. It is really us, saying, “I can give this and believe that with God’s blessing on the rest, I can live a better life.” It’s the tangible form of saying that I trust the Lord. And so, I want to encourage every leader that’s listening to this, watching this is that you should think through and spend as much time planning the offering moment as you do in planning the message. It’s that important.

KENNY: And one of the biggest hesitations is that if you are constantly putting up calls-to-action about giving and money that the reaction is being negative, you’re going to be seen as someone who’s greedy and self-serving. How do you avoid that perception on the receiving end?

JOE: So, again, if the leader feels like that is what they’re doing, then, they are probably doing that they need to re-evaluate their why. But on the other side, the way you speak about giving, it needs to be about the mission and the vision and how giving has helped accomplished it. And being into the attitude of gratitude to tell people, “I’m so grateful to you’ve chosen to be part of the vision here at Cornerstone Church, at Crosspoint Church. Let me tell you how your giving a dollar makes a difference in our community and connecting the dots that these dollars really have equal life change.” And when you do that, it actually encourages people. It helps them understand that there’s a return of investment, an ROI here. And they know for a fact, this is the greatest place that I can give my dollar.

KENNY: Tell us a little bit more on your ministry in particular, how you actually help churches accomplish that tactically and logistically. What other resources that you are able to derive?

JOE: Well, I feel like there are four spokes of the wheel that fund churches. And we’re serving all 4 of them. One is personal stewardship. With I Was Broke, Now I Am Not, we have personal finance group studies, think of Dave Ramsey’s Type studies. I go on sites, teach stewardship messages, teach 2 hour classes. And then, have DVD based studies resources. The next one is InJoy Stewardship Solutions. That’s capital campaigns. That’s the sacrificial pocket. You know, that time of sacrifice come and go. And that helps churches raise big time money when they’re raising half of the year’s the budget or more. That’s when we can help. And then, the third pocket is the regular giving pocket. And I started that with somebody you and I both know, Michael Lukaszewski, an organization called Fully-Funded. It’s an online coaching membership where churches have gathered together, learning how to implement regular giving systems within their church. The fourth pocket is Estate Planning and that’s talking to people about their assets and what they’re going to do with them when they leave. And how they can still have kingdom impact even beyond their after life. And so we help in those all four categories and the greatest place to start really is a conversation with I Was Broke. Now, I Am Not or with InJoy Stewardship Solutions or Fully-Funded whichever category a pastor needs. We love to help them with that.

KENNY: Most of the churches in this country now, in the State of the Union is that over 50% of the churches are a hundred or less in attendees.

JOE: That’s right.

KENNY: And then, you’re probably talking solo pastor ministries, right? Is the pastor himself/herself the one that really should be the spokesperson, the steward, the facilitator of this conversations or is it a treasurer, a finance person, volunteers, an elder or somebody else that should be the point person for these types of conversation?

JOE: That’s a great question. And the right answer is it depends. It depends upon the past culture of the church and how people respond to that culture. So, if the pastor feels confident talking about money and can answer those questions, then, it should be the pastor, you know, their kind of CEO of your church. They’re the public face of the ministry. They are the chief vision-caster in most cases. So, it’s most compelling when it’s from the leader. However, many pastors in smaller churches have a very strong business leader, who’s a leader of their board, who can speak very eloquently on this topic. It can be a very wise shepherd, helping people honor the Lord with their resources. So, if that’s the case, then, it’s okay if that person as well.

KENNY: I am really glad that you’re both advocating depending on the context. This past week I had lunch with a pastor who shared with me that he literally does not know any of the finances of his church. Is that wise? Is that something that you think that needs to be cordoned off, you know, the pastor, he’s deep in the Word, preaching in his ministry and the rest of the flock are concerned about the business of the church, the expansion of the church, etc. what’s your opinion on that?

JOE: I would argue strongly, the pastor should know. Proverbs 27:23 says, “A Shepherd knows the status of his flocks.” The pastors and shepherds and giving is an absolute outward sign of a person’s heart condition. I know in some cases that if the pastor knows they would be fired. So, if that’s the case, I would want to get the pastor fired. I would say, someone must know. And I would start by saying, “Anybody who’s on staff or in a key volunteer leadership position, somebody needs to know that they’re giving generously.” Plus, everything rises and falls on leadership. John Maxwell, right? And if the leader and the leaders of the church are not leading the way in this thing called generosity, you can not expect for that mission, that vision to be fully funded.

KENNY: Wow, that’s pretty powerful. I think it’s a good guidance, too. And I think it also always comes down to the confidence of the pastor. Many pastors are not, right? Seminary didn’t change us like an MBA, like you and I have. It’s a part of the profile that a pastor needs to understand. Where do they go for resources to become up to speed on the financial aspect of the business?

JOE: I would say every single pastor can sign up for our online class for free. And so, I Was Broke, Now I Am Not has a year-long course with coaching, mentoring and lessons and I would give it to any pastor, senior pastor, that contacts us. We would give it to them for free. And I’ll answer their questions. My passion. You know, there are too many broke pastors. And most pastors, especially those of the 200 or less, 100 or less, they don’t go in the ministry to make millions of dollars. They do it because of passion and calling. Most of them don’t have any vacation and are very tired. And my goal is to be able to help them become liberated in their finances so that they can solely focus on God’s calling. And finances, generally, is the number one barrier from that church growing to the 500 mark.

KENNY: I love it. And that’s what I love about your ministry. Your heart really comes through authentically. That’s where your passion is. You really want to help that pastor, the leader get a hold in their own finances, so that they can actually focus on all the other things in ministry as well.

JOE: Absolutely.

KENNY: Thank you so much for stopping by. If someone wants to get in touch with you personally, what’s the best way to do that? Social media, email, website? Give us your digits here.

JOE: Go to Just Google it. I Was Broke Now I Am Not. And click Contact Joe. That will go right through me and my team and we’ll be in touch very soon. We’d love to help any leader to be able to fund vision. It’s our passion.

KENNY: Thanks so much Joseph, really to stop by and hope some time to revisit with us later to go deeper in some other topics. But, I love what you’re doing and everything that you do for the kingdom.

JOE: Thanks for the opportunity. So blessed. Thanks Kenny.



The Generosity Labs Podcast is part of a new resource hub for pastors, providing free resources and information about digital giving. You can find more free resources  here.
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