How Your Over/Under Split Can Determine Your Future

How Your Over/Under Split Can Determine Your Future

A church sent me the breakdown of their Over/Under split and it was 84% vs. 16%!  84% of the churches dollars come from those 50 in age and above.  This group gives $1.3 million of the $1.5 million church budget.  The under 50 crowd only gives 16% of the budget yet they comprise 60% plus of the churches attendance!

The Associate Pastor pulled this data together for me and it is used with permission.  He did the math.  Unless something changes at this church they are in trouble!  But let me ask you…

Have you done the math?  Do you know what percentage is given by those above 50 years of age versus what under 50 year olds give?  I call this The Over/Under Split.  We must be aware of this split and working to create a healthier balance.

The Over/Under Split – Most churches are well above 70% of their giving coming from older generations.   How would I define a healthy balance?  At this point I don’t have a set split of what the typical church should be at.  Too much is still unknown.  I am more concerned with reversing my clients split NOW.

Yet, I can tell you, every church in America is in trouble IF they are not actively working to solve the issue.  Here is what I want you to know…

This churches problem is probably your problem.  It’s the problem of most churches in America.

The question is what are YOU going to do about it?  Because ready or not this problem is already impacting you.  It will not get any better and if you do nothing it WILL get worse sooner rather than later!

What’s the solution?  Spotting the problem is one thing.  Solving it is another.  Yet solve this problem we must if we want to set up the next generations for success.

So, here are your Stewardship Coach’s thoughts …

First, be Aware!  If I were a leader in my church reading this I would immediately want my pie chart of my church or campus giving by age.  The results might scare you but you can’t reverse a trend if you don’t know what the trend is.

Next, you have to Act!  Listen, the longer you put off doing something, anything, the greater your giving crisis will be.  Working from behind is always harder and much more difficult to catch up.  You might be fine now, but do the math.

Every church is facing what I call The Great American Giving Shift.  The sooner we realize this and act the better our chances of fully funding our churches.  It’s past time to spring into action!

 So….What can we do?  Here were some thoughts…

  1. Focus on the generations that matter today. Right now that is GenX and Baby Boomers.  These two groups are at the top of their earning power.  We need to tap into that NOW to assure a solid future.
  2. Redouble your focus on the fundamentals. For us that needs to be making generosity a part of our discipleship teaching.  We are always one generation away from extinction!  Let’s bring teaching about the life of generosity into all our discipleship processes.
  3. Bring younger generations to the decision table.  If we want the younger generations to get excited about giving to their church we need to let them into the engine room.  If leadership positions are filled primarily with those over 50 don’t expect much giving from those under 50.
  4. Get serious about retention. Don’t lose what you already have!
  5. Get your house in order. The church that survives into the future is the church that plans today for tomorrow!  Getting your house in order is finalizing your building plans and getting out of debt.  It also means setting up and executing an estate plan immediately.
  6. Stay agile. This is hard for the church but so needed!  One area of needed agility is providing for your members multiple avenues by which they can give.  In our technologically driven world those platforms change frequently.  Be ready for everything!

Right now thinking.  That is what I call that.  It’s why my focus now isn’t hitting set formula’s but helping churches be aware and to start the process of balancing out the ratios.  Right now thinking is not hard.  We need right now thinking but to solve this we must have…

Forward thinking.  Not long ago I wrote a post asking this question, “What will the Church of the latter 21st century look like?”  That is the kind of question we need to be thinking about.

This is what gets me up in the morning!  I don’t have an easy solution to this.  There is no easy fix but I do believe that starting right now you can begin to take strides towards a healthier over/under balance.

What is your Over/Under Split?  More importantly what are you doing about it?

Mark Brooks – The Stewardship Coach

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