The latest report from Giving USA is out. The numbers from 2017 report a record high of $410.02 billion given to charitable causes. Religion still receives the largest share at 31% of all gifts, but the number is well below what it was 20 years ago.  And religious giving continues to shrink as a percentage of income. The reality is that as the Builder/Greatest Generation fades away, their giving goes away. And new givers are not making up the difference.

70% of all giving is still done by individuals. And the vast majority of that is done by ordinary folks. There are mega-gifts being made by the Gates and Buffets of the world, but these generally come from their charitable foundations. This tells me that people have money to give, but they are choosing to give in many places besides religious organizations.

Folks, we cannot keep kicking financial support for the mission and ministry of the church to the bottom of our concerns. Our local churches and conference will not last long without strong financial support.  And it will not happen without clergy and lay leadership ensuring that generosity is always integrated with any teaching on discipleship.