Economics in the United Methodist Church

Decent Essays
Many churches are experiencing economic hardships at this time, and the Methodist church is no exception. In addition to drops in attendance over the last half century, Religion News reports “The percentage of a church member’s income given to the church dropped to 2.3 percent in 2011 (the latest year for which numbers are available), down from 2.4 percent in 2010, according to the Empty Tomb study.” (Burgess) Because of this, many churches are feeling the strains of limited funds. But, there are ways that I believe that the church could possibly improve their situation. The problems include people treating the church as a free rider program, the church being used as a common pool resource, and people acting so that the church becomes a tragedy of the commons. Near the end, a solution will be offered, and it will be explored whether this solution lines up with the church in a normative manner.
The first problem (of many) that churches sometimes face is that of a free rider problem. A free rider problem is defined by Princeton as “those who consume more than their fair share of a public resource, or shoulder less than a fair share of the costs of its production.” Essentially, anyone who benefits from a resource in which they did not pay their fair share is a free rider. This is seen in churches each and every week. People don’t give a “love offering” for a Wednesday night supper. People bring their children and youth to student activities and fail to tithe, or even give at
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