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Shopping for Faith

Reports the attitudes for Protestant churchgoers towards bill offering in church based on a study made by John Ronsvalle. Reason why people do not easily give to church; Influence of church on the attitude of the people.

What if you asked for a bill at church before making your offering? This question may seem sacrilegious, but it's not far from the mind-set of today's churchgoers, according to a study of congregants at 500 Protestant churches by psychologists John Ronsvalle, Ph.D., and Sylvia Ronsvalle, Ph.D., of Champaign, Illinois.

"People no longer give at church because it's right. They give because they want fee-for-service goods, such as day care, bus service, or new draPes for the church." says Sylvia Ronsvalle.

"They've largely stopped giving to programs that don't directly affect them."

Churches themselves may be partly to blame for this consumerism. By the mid-1980s, dwindling congregations led churches to turn to market research and advertising. "Now pastors tell us they have to keep entertaining people or the people stop coming," Ronsvalle recounts. The challenge now for church leaders, say the Ronsvalles, is to turn people away from the almighty Dollar and back to God Almighty.