Bryce Boyer/World Vision/Genesis Photos

Crisis giving

Charity | Instant need calls for long-term strategy
by Rusty Leonard
Posted 1/29/10, 06:42 am

Americans have a long history of responding generously to tragedies like the earthquake in Haiti. Christians, in particular, are often among the first to get into action by offering their time, talents, and treasure to relief efforts.

But can donors respond too quickly? The desire to assist those in desperate need is admirable, but in their haste, donors may not always act in the best long-term interests of the afflicted. Or they may react too hurriedly to slick advertising from professional fundraisers, thereby producing less effective gifts.

Read more

Nina Shannon/iStock

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.

Read more

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.

Read more