Friday, Nov 14, 2017 by Dan McGowan, Senior Writer/Reporter, Inside Indiana Business

A $1.67 million grant will fund a nationwide study on how congregations deal with their finances. The funding from Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc. will support research by the Lake Institute on Faith & Giving at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI.

The school says existing research usually involves the motivation and giving habits of individual donors. The new study will focus on “the most common recipients of that giving, religious congregations.”

Institute Director David King says “religious leaders frequently express concerns about their congregations’ financial solvency, their discomfort in discussing faith and money, and the uncertain, changing funding patterns faith communities are facing. This new research will examine congregations’ theological, cultural and practical orientations toward money to provide a deeper understanding of how they receive, manage and spend their financial resources.”

The National Study of Congregations’ Economic Practices, with King as the project director, will include a survey of approximately 5,000 U.S. congregations, interviews with clergy and laity, focus groups with lay people and on-site observations of select congregations. Indiana University Bloomington School of Public and Environmental Affairs assistant professor Brad Fulton is the study’s co-principal investigator.