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Women who answer God's call provide valuable local ministries (1/11/04)

Pastors predict bleak future if local casinos open (12/28/03)

Soap, figurines, candles keep books company in Christian stores (12/21/03)

In order to form a more perfect union (11/30/03)

Federal Marriage Amendment receives Fellowship’s endorsement (11/23/03)

Drug czar congratulates Teen Challenge (11/16/03)

Christian fiction no long back-shelf item (10/19/03)

DREAM3 benefits churches (10/19/03)

Youth rise to DC03 challenge (10/12/03)

Ministry uses drama, music to touch city for Christ (9/28/03)

Displeased viewers protest raunchy programs (9/21/03)

Grit, determination key to cities blocking cable pornography (8/31/03)

Economic slump doesn't always derail giving (8/24/03)

Ruling threatens family, Christian leaders say (8/17/03)

Anti-aging options require balanced approach to health, beauty (8/10/03)

Convoy of Hope reaches out to inner-city neighborhood (7/27/03)

Fight for the flag moves to nation’s schools (7/20/03)

Drama speaks volumes to alienated veterans (7/13/03)

Church's integrity well received following nightmarish ordeal (6/29/03)

Tornadoes cut wide swath across nation's midsection (6/22/03)

Accountability partners provide human feedback that filters don't (6/15/03)

Checking out your horoscope? God advises you to skip it (6/8/03)

Christian filmmakers pursue wider market success (5/25/03)

Intervention is key to preventing suicide (5/18/03)

Adoption often right decision for young expectant mothers (5/11/03)

Dallas-based ministry keeps inmates out of jail (4/27/03)

Medical analysis of Jesus' death generates interest (4/20/03)

Small-town church reaches community (4/13/03)

Young married couples lulled by false sense of security (3/30/03)

Virtual gambling days may be numbered (3/23/03)

Contemporary Christian music copes with its continuing success (3/16/03)

A/G prayer event set for gathering in nation's capital (3/9/03)

Volunteers give church voice in community (2/23/02)

Federal law protects churches in zoning battles (2/16/03)

Singles find cyberspace dating not always match made in heaven (2/9/03)

Predators often plan strategies long in advance (1/19/03)

The Cross and the Switchblade still makes impact 40 years later (1/12/03)

Frontline Reports

2002 PE Report stories

2001 News Digest stories

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Economic slump doesn’t always derail giving

By Dan Kersten (8/24/03)

The United States’ economy was strong during much of the 1990s. But in the past five years the financial boom has given way to hard times for many people. Unemployment, terrorism, corporate scandals and increased consumer debt have caused many Americans to tighten their purse strings when it comes to giving to nonprofits, including their churches.

Numerous ministries have had to slash their operational expenses by laying off workers and cutting programs and services. Even so, many Christian leaders, laypeople and financial experts say lean times can be beneficial because believers press deeper in their faith.

“Economic hardship could simply be a time of testing of faith to determine what someone would do or not do,” says Gerald Waite, senior pastor of Faith Assembly in Arlington, Texas. “Some people are at a place in their experiences with God where they have complete trust in Him. So they keep on giving.”

Marvin and Polly Wier, members at Waite’s church, agree.

Thirteen months ago, Marvin, 53, lost his job at a computer company after it downsized. “I was stunned,” says Wier, who had 30 years in the industry and now works two jobs to make ends meet. Despite the family’s current financial situation they have remained faithful in their giving.

“We were raised to always give at least 10 percent of all income before any bills were paid,” Wier says. “It just wouldn’t work for us if we didn’t continue to do as we were taught and have practiced.”

The Wiers aren’t typical church members, according to “The State of Church Giving through 2000,” a study identifying trends in church giving by empty tomb, a Champaign, Ill.-based Christian service and research organization. The report indicates that church members only gave 2.6 percent of their income in 2000.

“I am sure all ministries are concerned in these uncertain times,” says Benny Ferguson, national coordinator for Light for the Lost. “However, our confidence is in the provision of the Lord, not in America’s economy.”

Lee Watson, vice president of the Assemblies of God Foundation, a division of A/G Financial Services Group, says believers can practice good stewardship before times get tough so that they will be able to survive and even continue giving.

“As Christians, we should always have a lifestyle that enables us to live on less than our income so that we can be consistent, generous givers,” Watson says.

Marvin and Polly Wier live by that philosophy. “It’s God’s money, not ours,” Polly says. “We maintain the faith that God will provide for us. He has faithfully blessed us through 28 years of marriage and we see no reason to doubt Him now.”

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