Churches & Religious Organizations

Industry Profile Report

Dive Deep into the industry with a 25+ page industry report (pdf format) including the following chapters

Industry Overview Current Conditions, Industry Structure, How Firms Operate, Industry Trends, Credit Underwriting & Risks, and Industry Forecast.

Call Preparation Call Prep Questions, Industry Terms, and Weblinks.

Financial Insights Working Capital, Capital Financing, Business Valuation, and Financial Benchmarks.

Industry Profile Excerpts

Industry Overview

The 185,000 churches and religious organizations in the US provide spiritual worship, guidance, and education. Some organizations operate hospitals or schools. While such ancillary programs are generally managed separately from their associated organization, churches often provide financial support.

Slow-growing Membership

Church membership among major denominations has been flat or declining in recent years, challenging organizations to discover innovative ways to attract new members.

Ideological Conflict

Disagreements over controversial issues can cause congregations to split, significantly reducing revenue for the original organization.

Industry size & Structure

A typical church or religious organization operates out of a single location, employs fewer than 10 workers and generates about $940,000 annually.

    • Churches and religious organizations consist of about 185,000 organizations, which employ nearly 1.7 million workers and generate $174 billion in annual revenue.
    • Religious organizations include temples, synagogues, mosques, and shrines.
    • Church size can be classified by average weekly attendance: Small (less than 200 people), medium (200 to 400), large (400 to 2,000), and megachurch (2,000+).
    • About 22% of Americans claim to attend weekly, and 20% claim to attend nearly weekly or monthly, according to Gallup.
    • Large religious organizations include the Catholic Church (71 million members), the Southern Baptist Convention (14.5 million), the United Methodist Church (6.6 million), and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (6.7 million).
                                    Industry Forecast
                                    Churches & Religious Organizations Industry Growth
                                    Source: Vertical IQ and Inforum

                                    Recent Developments

                                    Mar 2, 2023 - Expansion Of Anti-bias Exemptions Withdrawn
                                    • The US Department of Labor has withdrawn a rule adopted in the last days of the administration of former President Donald Trump that had expanded a religious exemption from anti-discrimination laws for federal contractors. The withdrawal restores a previous, narrower exemption that allows churches and their affiliates to only hire members of their religion. The Trump-era rule had broadened the exemption to cover any employers who “hold themselves out to the public as carrying out a religious purpose,” rather than only organizations with an explicitly religious mission.
                                    • A new research paper finds that the increase in so-called deaths of despair such as from suicide or alcohol abuse for middle-aged white Americans may be associated with decreasing religious practice. The working paper, from Tyler Giles of Wellesley College, Daniel Hungerman of the University of Notre Dame, and Tamar Oostrom of The Ohio State University, looked at the relationship between religiosity and mortality from deaths of despair. The paper was circulated by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The authors noted that many measures of religious adherence began to decline in the late 1980s. They find that the large decline in religious practice was driven by the group experiencing the subsequent increases in mortality: white middle-aged Americans without a college degree. States that experienced larger decreases in religious participation in the last 15 years of the 20th century saw larger increases in deaths of despair.
                                    • More Latino faith leaders are becoming involved in politics, according to CNN. Many say that they are frustrated about how the values and morals they preach have been lost to many people in America. Latino Protestant churches surfaced as a key organizing space since the 2020 election. Some of its leaders held voter registration events in the leadup to the 2022 midterm elections and made appearances at political events. Experts say that the activity shows the potential of their political influence as the Hispanic electorate gets larger. Latinos have experienced a religion shift in recent decades, with many leaving the Catholic Church. Half of US Hispanics identified as Catholic in 2020, according to the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute. A majority identified as Catholic a decade earlier.
                                    • Provisions in the federal Inflation Reduction Act, which allocates more than $360 billion to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, allow nonprofits like religious organizations to get a direct payment for 30% of eligible costs of projects like solar panel installations. Experts say that religious organizations hoping to get federal help for such projects have had to take on complicated financing methods. The details of the requirements that must be met to take advantage of all the incentives available for solar installation through the Inflation Reduction Act are yet to be laid out by the IRS, but churches and solar advocates say the 30% direct payment is enough of a lure. The Inflation Reduction Act is “... going to allow a lot of religious institutions to meet their missions of environmental stewardship by making solar a heck of a lot more affordable,” said Jackson Kusiak of installation contractor Solar States.
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