By: Barry G. Allen- President & CEO
Even if you never have visited the site of Robert Schuller’s Crystal Cathedral, you likely have an image of that ministry and its facilities. The 13-story majestic Tower of Hope, which was dedicated to God’s glory in 1968, now stands idle along with the thousands of dirty glass panes in the cathedral itself. This ministry is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. It is likely thousands of other churches and ministries will be in bankruptcy within the next decade or two.
There are numerous factors that will contribute to this, but among the most significant is the passing away of the older contributors who have been and continue to be the sustaining members of evangelical churches and ministries around the world.
Those who are coming behind them, children and grandchildren, have not demonstrated anything like the level of commitment to share and to support their churches and ministries. Some futurists have projected a 70 percent decline in giving over the next decade or two if giving trends do not change dramatically. One writer has described it as “a silent tsunami that has already broken—unnoticed and miles off the coast.” Regretfully, most churches and ministries are unprepared.
Did you know people over age 75 give four times as much of their income as 25 to 44 year olds, according to “The State of Church Giving Through 2009?” Each younger generation gives significantly less of its income to ministry.
Although older members account for only 19 percent of the membership of churches in the USA, they give 46 percent of the donations, according to a Barna Survey. Can your church sustain a 46 percent drop in donations?
These older, more generous core members are the ones whose funerals are being held every day across this country. Collectively they will be passing 41 trillion dollars of wealth to their children, grandchildren, other heirs—and to the government in taxes. It is highly unlikely your church is receiving even a tithe of this largest generational transfer of wealth in history? Why? Because pastors and other church and denominational leaders are not allocating the resources necessary to educate, encourage and enable these faithful members to consider their church and other ministries in their estate plans.
The Kentucky Baptist Foundation exists for that very purpose. Please give us the privilege of assisting you and your church, and other ministries.
For more information, please call us at (502) 489-3533 or toll free in KY at 1(866) 489-3533
The information in this article is provided as general information and is not intended as legal or tax advice. For advice and assistance in specific cases, you should seek the advice of an attorney or other professional adviser.