Episode 75: The Art of Processing Church Trends

In this episode of the Generosity Podcast, Todd McMichen is joined by Warren Bird, Vice President of Research and Equipping at the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA). During their conversation they discuss facts and trends, how to sift through them, and lead with confidence.

Best Quotes

“My role with the research side is to help identify best practices and other keys to greater effectiveness.”

“There is a direct research link between trust and generosity.”

“What new opportunities for the gospel does this information open up for me and the church I serve?”

“Churches with a greater emphasis on missions see higher financial giving per household in the church.”

“In 2000, only 50% of large churches said that small groups are central to their strategy of Christian formation and discipleship. Today, in 2020, it’s 90%.”

“You get bigger by getting smaller, by people finding their identity in a group within the whole.”

“Some churches have moved far beyond just going online, but figured out new ways to mobilize the saints.”

“Churches that were economically fragile going into the pandemic – this issue of church mergers is going to become much bigger.”

“Merging is often triggered by a financial issue.”

“There is a direct relationship between the more people volunteer in church, the more they give. The more people are engaged in a small group in church, the more they give.”

Warren Bird, Ph.D., is ECFA’s vice president of research and equipping. He serves ECFA by increasing the scope, impact and depth of our knowledge base while equipping ECFA’s members to apply what ECFA is learning through research. Warren is widely recognized as among the nation’s leading students, researchers, and writers about megachurches. As @lensweet recently tweeted, “No one knows more about megachurches than @warrenbird.” An ordained minister with a big heart for the local church, Warren has led in various pastoral positions, taught at several seminaries, and served most recently for 13 years at Leadership Network, overseeing their research department where they’ve released several dozen groundbreaking reports on topics like multisite churches, large-church compensation, church planting, and church internships and residencies. An award-winning writer, he has also co-authored 30 books for church leaders on topics like breaking growth barriers, healthy mergers, and pastoral succession.

Recommended Resources

Generosity by Lifeway

“Next Generation Giving is Here!” free e-book

Excellence in Ministry Podcast

ECFA Surveys

Warren Bird’s Blog

Teams That Thrive by Ryan T, Hartwig and Warren Bird