Do UK churches lack a culture of generosity?
A friend of mine speaks regularly in churches, both in the US and the UK. In one case, a US church gave him an honorarium of $3,000 (£2,000) plus travel expenses plus an expensive and thoughtful gift. In contrast, a couple of weeks later a church in the UK church gave him a fraction of that, no travel expenses and no gift. He says this is almost always the case.
‘No big deal,’ you might say. ‘The US church is clearly more wealthy than the UK church.’ Not so. The US church has a young congregation of under 200 and is in a very mixed area, socially and economically. The UK church is much larger, older and is located in a quite prosperous area.
(I don’t know the identity of either church so I can’t provide any further demographic information – just in case you were thinking of asking.)
A mutual friend of ours spoke at a church weekend. He was away from Friday to Sunday where he gave four talks which involved four days preparation. Six days work in total. He was given a £30 gift token. I wouldn’t mind if it were a small church in a poor area, but again it was a large church in a prosperous area.
My friend’s explanation is that US churches have a culture of generosity which UK churches lack.
It could be that the church collectively is generous or it could be that the members are generous. But I suspect there is a strong link between the two (and not just in the sense that individuals giving generously enables a church to be generous). A collective culture of generosity encourages individuals to be generous which enables collective generosity.