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Less to give

Charity | The economic recession has meant sharply lower donations to ministries
by Rusty Leonard
Posted 1/15/10, 06:16 am

Rick Warren's "urgent" post-Christmas plea to Saddleback Church members for $900,000 in donations to cover a budget shortfall shocked observers around the country. Not surprisingly, critics of Warren and his ministry were quick to speculate on nefarious reasons for the surprising and pressing need for such a large sum of money at one of the nation's most successful churches (see below). The real reason for the shortfall, however, appears to be shared among Christian ministries across the nation, if not the world-the lengthy and deep economic downturn.

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Associated Press/Photo by Ben Margot

Losing credit?

Charity | Banking analysts differ on the health of a leading megachurch lender
by Warren Cole Smith
Posted 12/04/09, 09:58 am

The number of megachurches-churches with more than 2,000 in regular weekly attendance-has increased 100-fold since the 1970s, from less than 20 to almost 2,000 today.

For Mark Holbrook, an evangelical Christian who graduated from Biola University in the early 1970s, this growth was a great ministry-and a great business-opportunity. So he joined the staff of a small California credit union, and by 1979 he was president. Today, the Evangelical Christian Credit Union (ECCU) is a financial powerhouse.

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Rick Warren/Photo by Charles Sykes/AP

Base royalties

Charity | What do pastor-authors owe to ministries that drive their book sales?
by Rusty Leonard
Posted 11/20/09, 10:06 am

Joel Osteen is fond of telling reporters that he hasn't accepted a salary from the church he pastors-Houston's mammoth Lakewood Church-since 2005. When Pastor Rick Warren's The Purpose Driven Life made bestseller lists, he said on Larry King Live that he had reimbursed his church for all the salary he had ever taken from Saddleback Church, and that he and his wife Kay were "reverse tithing": keeping 10 percent of their income and giving away 90 percent.

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