*Are churches spending more on themselves than on the needs of those outside the church?

According to a new report they are, with churches keeping a larger share of their tithe-generated income for their own in-house needs, says the Christian Post.

In a report, titled “The State of Church Giving Through 2009,” released Friday by Empty Tomb inc., a Christian service and research organization, authors found that “benevolences” – or funds used for giving outside the church including giving to charities and seminary training – hit new lows compared to their first report in 1968.

Understandably, with the tithing amount greatly reduced over the past few years because of a bad economy, a drop in benevolences was only normal.

The report, which used data from evangelical and mainline churches including Lutheran, Presbyterians and Episcopalian churches, in fact revealed that tithing as a percentage of income was at its lowest level in 41 years, Religion News Service noted.

Parishioners were only giving about 2.38 percent of their income to the church in 2009, down from 2.43 percent in 2008 – shockingly low percentages.

Read the full story at The Christian Post.