Hard times are emptying company payrolls and government coffers, but they’re big business for churches, reports the New York Times in a look at America's renewed Sunday-morning religious fervor. Since September, evangelical pastors in particular have reported a burst of interest and standing-room-only congregations. “It’s a wonderful time, a great evangelistic opportunity for us,” says one.
One study found that the growth rate at evangelical churches jumped by 50% during recessions between 1968 and 2004. To capitalize, churches are offering special programs and sermons on how to cope with financial stress, while others hope to mount revivals rivaling the 19th century Great Awakenings. “We need to leverage this moment,” another pastor said.