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Blaming Economy for Drop in Church Giving May be Mistake, Says OC-Based Church

Contact: Amy Karjala, 503-680-9325

ORANGE COUNTY, Calif., May 19 /Christian Newswire/ -- Throughout the United States, churches are blaming the economic downturn for a decrease in giving revenue. But, one Orange County-based church cautions that the recession may only be partially to blame.

"Christians haven't stopped giving, but they are reprioritizing. And they want churches to do the same," according to Pastor Ken Eastburn of The Well. Barna Research Group confirms this assertion, noting that the proportion of Christians' total giving that goes to churches has dropped precipitously in recent years.

Eastburn isn't surprised by this shift. With the average church committing 85 percent of its budget to salaries, buildings and other internal operations (www.generousgiving.com), "Christians are opting to give to nonprofits that are turning this model upside down, using the majority of their income for direct ministry not overhead."

That is precisely what The Well did when it left its building in 2005 to become a community of house churches. The Well now commits 50 percent of its tithes and offerings to benevolence and service projects decided on by the individual house church. And, much of the remaining 50 percent that goes to The Well collectively is also sent back into the community as directed by the church board.

"Shedding our building helped get our priorities in order," says Eastburn. "We have gotten back to the basics, equipping disciples and sharing the love of God. Instead of meeting IN a church, we are BECOMING the church -- the living, breathing body of Christ."

The Well has taken its message to the streets, challenging other churches and individuals to consider how they might reprioritize on its blog: www.leavethebuildingblog.com. Eastburn and The Well invite OC community members and churches to join the conversation and discover the benefits of reprioritizing.