Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on ReligionInstitute for Studies of Relgion
IJRR :: 2015 Volume 11 :: Article 11
2015 Volume 11, Article 11
Gifts of Time and Money: The Impact of Church Leadership Roles

Author: Robert Stonebraker

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Studies often find that the more active members of a congregation also contribute the most money to the church. However, because these studies typically rely on cross-sectional data, the causation is unclear. Does increased participation lead to more giving, or does more giving increase participation? Moreover, one influential paper found that gifts of time and money are substitutes; in other words, increased financial support causes decreased religious participation. Using a unique time-series data set from a moderately large mainline Protestant congregation, I was able to track annual giving by members who had been elected to the congregationís governing board. This allowed me to isolate how changes in participation correlate with changes in financial giving over time. The results support the hypothesis that increased participation leads to increased monetary contributions. Serving in this leadership capacity leads to a significant increase in giving that is sustained for a period of at least several years after leaving the position.

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