I saw this editorial on the leftist Washington Post and thought it was useful in case you get this question.
Broadly speaking, American churches are incredibly generous to the needs of a hurting world.
As noted by The Philanthropy Roundtable:
“In 2009, overseas relief and development supported by American churches exceeded $13 billion, according to path-breaking calculations by the Hudson Center for Global Prosperity. (This includes not just evangelical churches but also Catholic and mainline Protestant congregations, and covers both direct missions work and donations to private relief groups.) That compares to $5 billion sent abroad by foundations in the same year, $6 billion from private and voluntary relief organizations apart from church support, and $9 billion donated internationally by corporations. The $13 billion in religious overseas philanthropy also compares impressively to the $29 billion of official development aid handed out by the federal government in 2009.”
[…]In 2012 alone, the evangelical relief group World Vision spent “roughly $2.8 billion annually to care for the poor,” according to World Vision U.S. President Richard Stearns. “That would rank World Vision about 12th within the G-20 nations in terms of overseas development assistance.”
World Vision is only one such major evangelical ministry. Groups such as Samaritan’s Purse, Food for the Hungry, World Relief and many others provide hundreds of millions of dollars in anti-poverty programs at home and abroad.
The gold-standard accountability group for evangelical ministries, the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, represents groups that provide food, medical care, education, adoption services, orphan care, post-prison assistance, substance abuse help and other critical services at home and abroad. In aggregate, the more than 600 evangelical ministries represented in the ECFA provide more than $9.2 billion in relief assistance.
Catholic ministries, too, here and abroad are vibrant: How many Americans, of every faith and every economic status, have received world-class health care in Catholic hospitals? In total, The Economist magazine’s assessment of the Catholic Church’s estimated $170 billion total U.S. income finds that about 57 percent (roughly $97 billion) goes to “health-care networks, followed by 28 percent on colleges, with parish and diocesan day-to-day operations accounting for just 6 percent, with the remaining $4.6 billion going to ‘national charitable activities.’”
[…]What about some hard numbers? Of the major national conservative Christian groups that are involved in the political arena, here is a representative sampling of various financial reports:
- Susan B. Anthony List: $7 million
- Americans United for Life: $4.5 million
- Family Research Council: $15.2 million
- National Right to Life: $6.4 million
- National Organization for Marriage: $1.7 million
- Focus on the Family: $94.5 million
- Alliance Defending Freedom: $38.2 million
For the sake of argument, let’s add in the roughly 40 state Family Policy Councils and, generously, surmise their budgets, together, total $100 million.
[…]If you want to be generous, the national/state combo is about $270 million.
I am actually not in favor of Christians focusing so much on alleviating poverty through these massive organizations. This is especially true now, when it’s pretty clear that religious liberty is at stake, even to the degree that our schools, universities and churches are going to lose their tax-exempt status. I think now, we should probably thinking a lot more about apologetics in the churches, better schools and universities, raising influential kids, and political action. This is a crisis situation, survival is more important to me than helping others. We can get back to helping others if we are still here in 25 years.