A new national survey of churches shows that giving increased in 43 percent of congregations last year, and decreased in 39 percent. The numbers stayed flat in 18 percent of churches.

The third annual “State of the Plate” report, sponsored by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability and Christianity Today International’s church management team, is drawn from a survey of 1,507 “churches of varying types,” the authors said Wednesday.

In 2008, the survey found giving increased in 46 percent of churches, decreased in 29 percent and was flat in 25 percent. In 2009, giving increased in only 35 percent of congregations, decreased in 38 percent and was flat in 27 percent of churches.

While wide-reaching, the survey is not a random scientific sampling of the nation’s Christian congregations.

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