Faith and finances: practices and attitudes in Australian churches

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This paper uses data from the 2016 National Church Life Survey to examine financial giving practices in Australian churches.


Financial giving matters to local churches and denominations and is also of interest to researchers. The 2016 National Church Life Survey included a range of questions on the following topics:

  • The finances of local churches, including their current financial situation, budgeting and their sources of income;
  • Attitudes of church attenders to money and various money-related issues, including how these issues connect with faith and Christian teachings, and attenders’ desires for resources to help connect faith and money; and
  • Church attenders’ financial giving to their local church and other causes, and the factors that influence their decisions to give.

Major findings include: half of churches had a stable financial base; the most commonly nominated main source of income for churches was offerings from attenders; and acceptance of offerings via direct debit has been growing, with eight in 10 churches doing so in 2016.

Authors: Carol Gan, Michelle Cartwright, Miriam Pepper, Paul Oslington, Nicole Hancock, Ruth Powell


Gan, C., Cartwright, M., Oslington, P., Hancock, N. & Powell, R. (2018). Faith and finances: practices and attitudes in Australian churches. NCLS Research Occasional Paper 37. Sydney: NCLS Research.