Interesting article in the USA Today on the economical struggles of congregations:

The color of Christmas may be red ink this year for many of the nation’s churches.
Experts blame 6% unemployment and sinking investment income for pummeling budgets of congregations great and small, black and white, urban and suburban. Adding to it: scandals, controversies and rumors of war.
Many religious institutions finished November at 10% to 20% below the usual level for the year to date, says Jerry Butler, executive director of the Willow Creek Association, a national network of 4,800 evangelical megachurches. “The word you hear everywhere is ‘cutbacks.’ “
“Churches will cut activities and programs, maybe give fewer youth camp scholarships. They will cut equipment. The last thing they will cut is staff,” Butler says. His home church, 20,000-member megachurch Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Ill., saw the crunch coming early in 2002 and trimmed 30 people from a staff of 550.
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