Thanks to the Call and Response blog, an article discussing a study that has attempted to assess the economic worth of 12 congregations in the Philadelphia area. Total estimated value: more than $50 million. Some of this is conjecture of course, like the $375 “for teaching social values” to a child. But some of it is real, like the economic impact of salaries, outreach efforts, and building repairs. The range in values for different churches is quite wide, from $1.4 million for a Presbyterian congregation (with an annual budget of $265,000) to $22.4 million for a Roman Catholic parish that has 7,000 congregants, a school, and a community center.
One of the study’s directors said:
The study shows the contribution of religious congregations “to be 20 to 30 times bigger than we knew,” said director Jaeger. It “will give congregations dozens of new ways to articulate their value, broaden their constituencies, and survive and grow.”
I wonder where Grace would come out? I wonder, too, whether attempts like this to quantify economic impact of a congregation do help “give congregations ways to articulate their value, broaden their constituencies, and survive and grow.”