By late 2022, more economists were predicting that the national and global economy would experience a recession. There is no agreement on when such a recession would begin, its length or intensity. How should congregations prepare? How should we engage our leadership teams? What ministry opportunities might emerge, and how can we be faithful in embracing them? Are there questions we can ask now and steps we can take now that will strengthen our congregations and communities whether a recession comes or not?

While our Fellowship has produced a host of resources since 2020 to help CBF partner congregations overcome financial strain, in these days of continued economic volatility, we have produced a new series of tools and resources to encourage churches to begin prayerfully considering questions that affect both the congregations and the communities they serve. These resources can be helpful in maintaining a church’s overall health and well-being regardless of economic conditions.


Preparing to Flourish in Faithfulness during a Recession

CBF Executive Coordinator Paul Baxley challenges those leading congregations and ministries to adopt a mindset informed by Scripture and living faith in this time of economic volatility. He draws from Joseph’s preparation for the famine in Egypt found in Genesis 41 to hold up several important themes to encourage leaders to assess how they might lead.
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First Steps in Preparing for a Recession

Where can you begin preparing for a recession? What conversations do you need to have? What are the big questions to ask? This resource invites you to ask the right questions internally and externally to be prepared with faithful responses that will allow congregations to offer a unique and compelling witness to Christ in these days.
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A Practical Church Guide to Navigating a Recession

With some experts predicting we’re at the edge of a recession, there are practical steps churches can take to prepare their operations, community and donors to not only survive but thrive. This guidebook is a collaborative effort between CBF and CBF Foundation to provide concrete and practical support to churches to help in strategizing, preparing and implementing a plan to stay financially healthy and make an even bigger community impact.

Resources to Prepare for Challenging Economic Times

Through the Toward Bold Faithfulness process of listening to Cooperative Baptists in 2019 and 2020, CBF discerned that addressing financial strain was an urgent need of its partner congregations. Since that time, CBF’s fund development team in collaboration with the CBF Foundation have developed practical resources to support churches in this need. These resources provide encouragement and practical ways for churches to build healthy cultures and practices around finances and stewardship. These resources can be particularly helpful in preparing for economic challenges, such as a recession, but they can also be very helpful in maintaining a church’s overall financial health and well-being.

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Congregational Financial Health Assessment

The assessment helps churches to evaluate their financial health in four critical areas: operating budget, capital needs, legacy gifts/endowments and stewardship education. Once the assessment is completed and submitted, the church will receive an executive summary of the results giving them an overview of their strengths, their growth areas and their opportunities. The executive summary ends with practical action steps for the church to take. There is also an opportunity for church leadership to go over the data/analysis with CBF and CBF Foundation staff. The gathering and analysis of these financial data is extremely helpful in guiding strategic financial decisions in preparation for challenging economic times, such as a recession.

Sacred Spaces Innovative Places

This printed resource and the videos that accompany it tell the story of seven CBF partner churches and the creative ways they are using their facilities and property. The goal is to spark the imagination of how congregations can use their space to both meet community needs and generate additional income. For many churches, there are opportunities to turn their buildings into assets that can enhance partnerships with other nonprofits/ministries and generate an additional source of revenue. This work becomes even more important during tough economic times. The resource includes questions for conversation about the case studies, important thoughts related to taxes and other financial implications of such work and a list of books and organizations for further study on the subject.
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Growing Generous Followers

In partnership with Smith & Helwys, the resource offers Bible studies around generosity and stewardship for adults, youth and children. These lessons are available to be used for a focused time of study on what it means to be good stewards. Generosity and financial stewardship are important steps of the discipleship journey. It’s important to teach these biblical principles for people to understand that they’re not giving their hard-earned money to a building or just one person. It’s a sacrificial act with deep spiritual implications.
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Sample Stewardship Calendar

One of the most effective ways of preparing for a recession for any non-profit, which includes churches, is to stay close to their donors/supporters. As such, this sample stewardship calendar encourages churches to create a year-long stewardship calendar that provides focus and that takes advantage of the natural rhythms of the year that lend themselves to generosity. This sample calendar is meant to provide ideas that can be adapted to each church’s context.
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12 Best Practices for Church Budgets

A guide for churches to learn and implement best practices, which becomes even more important and helpful during a recession.

Legacy Gift Guide for Churches

This guide helps churches introduce and strengthen a legacy giving program. Every church should promote legacy giving. During a recession, people can be more open to this type of giving because it does not impact their current cash flow. Legacy gifts are often the largest gift an individual makes in her/his lifetime, and introducing legacy giving to your church provides an additional avenue for your members to express their generosity towards their church.
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Bequest Template for Churches

A turnkey resource for making writing wills accessible to everyone in your congregation. In partnership with FreeWill, CBF and CBF Foundation provides all our partner churches access to the online platform for anyone in your church to their will. This opens more opportunities for churches to become beneficiaries of legacy/bequest gifts. The packet includes an email template, website integration template, Facebook post template, program/brochure print blurb template and phone script.
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Church Endowment Guide

A practical step-by-step guide for churches who want to start an endowment fund. An endowment fund is one of the indicators of financial health for a church. A church’s legacy giving program and the creation of an endowment fund provide important ways for churches to both encourage alternate ways of generosity and extra income that supports mission and ministry needs beyond the operating budget.
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QCD/Stock Template packet

Churches need to diversify the way they receive gifts. Stock and QCDs are two of the fastest growing ways that people give. Churches need to be prepared to receive such gifts, especially during a recession, as these types of giving have great tax benefits for the person giving while saving them cash for their own immediate needs. This packet includes customizable QCD/Stock templates for email, website integration, Facebook and church bulletin inserts.

Cultivating Generous Congregation Cohort

A two month/four session virtual learning cohort that is offered twice a year. Cultivating Generous Congregations is offered by CBF in partnership with the Lake Institute to support churches in making generosity an integral part of their church’s culture. Lake Institute is one of America’s foremost authorities on faith and generosity. We offer two cohorts each year – one in the winter (February/March) and one in the fall (September/October). Cohorts are composed of 12 congregations with each church having space for three participants. Over the course of the study, we focus on developing a healthy theology of generosity, understanding the latest statistics and trends related to giving, creating a year-round approach to stewardship education, developing our members as donors and understanding how different generations are motivated to give, among other topics. At the end of each Cohort, churches work to form specific stewardship goals based on what they have learned in the class. The cost to participate is $550 per congregation. This includes all materials and access to our online learning archive of articles, videos and charts related to various elements of generosity. If you would like more information or if you would like to enroll your church to participate in one of the two opportunities in 2023, please contact Rickey Letson, CBF Congregational Stewardship Officer at
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Generous Fellowship

CBF’s e-newsletter related to church finances and stewardship. The newsletter is delivered every other month and includes practical articles for both ministers and laity. Generous Fellowship is also a great place to learn about upcoming events and resources related to church finances. In this season, Generous Fellowship is committed to helping churches think through the changing economic landscape and its effects on the local church. To receive Generous Fellowship, email Rickey Letson at

Congregations & Health Insurance: A Guide to Common Strategies

One of the largest costs and most challenging elements of compensation for church staff is health insurance. This guide describes the various approaches that churches take with Health Insurance. The goal of the guide is not to advocate for one particular approach. Instead, the desire of this resource is to share strengths and weaknesses of each so that congregations can make informed decisions on the strategy that best fits their congregation.