By Jeff Harvey, Content Strategist
Today’s social and economic realities are rapidly reshaping church finances. Over 17,000 churches and organizations partner with Subsplash to reach, engage, and grow their ministries with the best church tech tools, including online giving.
We’ve compiled four trends that will have a significant impact on church finances in 2024. The simple truth is that churches face a lot of challenges from social pressures to economic stress and more. Let’s take a look at a few of these issues, their impact on churches, and how your church can turn these challenges into opportunities to grow.
#1: The generational handoff will accelerate
Over the last few decades, church attendance has slowly declined to its lowest numbers in U.S. history (Gallup, March 2021). While older generations have attended church less since the COVID-19 pandemic, attendance among Millennials (people born between 1981–1998) increased from only 17% in 2021 to 39% in 2022. This makes them the largest segment of new church visitors!
Add to this the fact that Millennials are poised to inherit over $68 trillion by 2030—the largest wealth transfer in world history. This presents a major opportunity for your church to reach more people, share the gospel, and raise up a new generation of disciples ready to impact the world through their generosity!
To connect with younger generations, start by engaging them online through your church’s website, online giving, and mobile apps. Remember, younger people are digital natives and millions of them have never even written a check. They expect easy access to everything online.
That’s why Subsplash offers a beautifully designed mobile giving platform with no setup or monthly fees, allowing your donors to give from anywhere at any time. Churches partnering with Subsplash Giving see an average of 10% growth in their giving within the first year!
#2: Digital culture will deepen its roots
All of us experienced the major shift to digital experiences due to COVID-19. We started working remotely, attending church services online, holding video calls with family and friends. The learning curve for most people felt intimidating at first, but we adapted out of necessity and eventually discovered the benefits of using new tech tools in our daily lives.
Recent studies have found that 67% of Christians really enjoy attending virtual services, and 74% really enjoy attending in-person services. In other words, the majority of church members enjoy having a hybrid church model that offers both in-person and online experiences, discipleship resources, and opportunities to connect with their church families.
It’s easy for church leaders today to feel overwhelmed by the fast-paced change of new church technology, especially if they’re not tech-savvy. However, it’s important to help people overcome hesitation about financially investing in tech. These investments are critical for helping your church achieve its mission.
#3: Donors will give more to churches they trust
64% of donors won’t give to a charity that they don’t trust (Better Business Bureau, 2020 Trust Report). This is especially true when it comes to younger generations who are more skeptical of organizations and charities. So, how can your church build trust?
First of all, invest in your local leadership’s commitment to faithful stewardship. Fortunately, there are some financial best practices you can implement to create trust signals with existing and potential donors.
- Don’t allow one person to be solely responsible for your church finances.
- Regularly pull financial reports and review them with leadership and your board.
- Create processes and teams of people responsible for collecting, counting, and depositing cash & checks.
- Establish protocols for reporting suspected fraud or financial irregularities.
Such steps help demonstrate transparency and accountability, and this is important for building trust.
Secondly, be sure that your church’s donation pages on your website and mobile app are custom-branded with your church’s logo, colors, and other design elements. Studies have shown that people are six times more likely to complete their online donation if they recognize the page as belonging to their organization compared to a generic giving page.
Lastly, we must embrace the challenges the pandemic caused in the church world. For example, we know that Millennials are more likely to show up to church now than before the pandemic. They may attend online or at your building. Fortunately, the trend of offering a hybrid church experience has actually increased engagement with younger generations.
#4: Generosity will be more widely seen as a part of discipleship
Increasingly in 2024, organizations that view generosity as part of gospel formation will see donations grow, as donors give more and give more gladly.
For Christians, financially supporting the mission of the Church isn’t an isolated activity—it’s a matter of discipleship. While capital campaigns and community needs are great causes to fund, they’re not addressing the real motivation behind generosity.
On the other hand, when discipleship under Jesus is our motivation, generosity overflows. Here are a few practical ways to make generosity a part of your disciple-making process:
1. Teach about generosity from the pulpit, always connecting it to discipleship and the gospel. Don’t shy away from speaking about the role of having a giving spirit plays in your people’s spiritual development.
2. Model it as an organization. When your people give their tithes and offerings, are they giving to your church or through your church? In other words, tell the story of the impact of your church’s generosity. Regularly share what other ministries, charities, and communities you support thanks to the generosity of your donors.
3. Make generosity a core component of discipleship. The goal of being a disciple is to become more like Jesus and raise up other disciples. Jesus was the ultimate example of generosity. During your discipleship training, share the effect a generous heart has on spiritual growth. Teach others that without individual generosity of our time and resources as Christ followers, it’s impossible to raise up new disciples.
Free financial resources for your church
We hope you found this information insightful and useful. Here are some more helpful resources that we’ve prepared to help you navigate the changing waters of church giving, engaging, and discipleship in 2024.
- Church Budgeting Guide
- Hybrid Church Service Playbook
- Online giving: Top 10 platforms & features for churches
- Free Church Health Assessment Tool
Jeff Harvey lives in Austin, TX and is a husband, father, and bonsai enthusiast.
He’s served churches for over 20 years as a pastor, teacher and missionary. He also holds a MBA from George Fox University and is fluent in Portuguese and Spanish.