Quarterly Church Trends and Our New Tagline
In April 2011 we gathered quarterly statistics for Q4 2010 and Q1 2011 from ECCU’s Ministry Advisory Panel (MAP)**. Overall, church attendance has remained flat over these two periods. Revenue, with the exception of micro churches, saw an average 84% increase in Q4 2010 and was down 24% in Q1 2011 as it adjusted back down from the year-end highs. We also asked panelists to comment on three potential ECCU marketing taglines. The results were unequivocal, with one of the options receiving 68.6% of all votes.
** The MAP is composed of ECCU member and non-member ministry staff and leaders representing evangelical Christian churches, businesses, schools, and other ministries. This report was produced by ECCU’s research department.
QUARTERLY CHURCH TRENDS
This installment of quarterly trends, which reports attendance and revenue figures for Q4 2010 and Q1 2011, is limited to only churches.
The following table reports church attendance and revenue for Q4 2010 broken down by the average, lowest, and highest for each size church.
- The average weekend worship adult attendance at panelist churches during Q4 2010 ranged from 40 to 7,700, with an average attendance of 2,120. This represents a 1% increase over Q3.
- The average revenue for panelist churches during Q4 was $1,865,074, ranging from $13,000 to $7.12 million. On average, revenue trended upward across all church segments, but megachurches experienced the greatest increases (132%), while small and micro churches suffered the greatest decreases (-48%).
- Overall, the average giving per attendee for Q4 2010 was $713 (up 37%).
The following table reports church attendance and revenue for Q1 2011 broken down by the average, lowest, and highest for each size church.
- The average weekend worship adult attendance at panelist churches during Q1 2011 ranged from 53 to 7,257, with an average attendance of 2,123 (no significant change over the previous quarter).
- The average revenue for panelist churches during Q1 was $1,422,657, ranging from $11,000 to $6.5 million. On average, revenue trended downward across all church segments by an average of -24%. This was expected given the strong Q4 2010 results. Also as expected, megachurches reported the greatest decline in giving with a -49% drop. The trend didn’t reverse for micro churches. This segment reported flat or negative revenue growth as low as -15%.
- Overall, the average giving per attendee for Q1 2011 was $599 (down 16%).
WHAT’S IN A TAGLINE?
ECCU believes ministries’ money can do more. When a ministry deposits its money at ECCU, those funds are invested to resource ministry around the world. ECCU is a financial cooperative, meaning it is owned by its members. In exchange for banking at ECCU, ministries receive outstanding service, access to expert ministry banking consultants, and the knowledge that their deposits are producing returns beyond the interest rate.
In April’s survey, we tested which of three taglines best communicates this unique ministry banking model. Here are the results:
Question: Which of these taglines best conveys ECCU’s essence and value to you and your ministry?
When it came down to choosing a favorite tagline from the three provided, there was little competition.
- Investing in ministry was preferred by 68.6% of respondents.
- It’s where your money goes to ministry only received 7.8% of the votes.
- Where you can bank on ministry accounted for the remaining 23.5%.
The clear choice—Investing in ministry—is concise, easy to remember, and it clearly communicates the essence of ECCU. Interestingly, this research uncovered certain misconceptions about ECCU. Non-member ministries still don’t see how the funds deposited at ECCU are used to support ministries beyond their own. More needs to be done to explain how a financial cooperative works. Other ministries suggested a connection between banking at ECCU and receiving “greater dividends than just a financial return from interest rates.” It’s important to tie both of these concepts together to clearly communicate ECCU’s value.
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