Local churches weathering economic storm

Montgomery, Al. (WSFA) -- It's where most people go to find relief from the stresses of life.

Now, with money tight everywhere you turn, churches are looking for relief of their own.

For example, one church in Tennessee now offers tithe refunds to attract new members, promising to return three months worth of offerings.

"If at the end of those three months, you don't feel like you've been blessed more than you gave, then we'll give you the money back," explained Pastor Steve Stone Heartsong Church.

Back in Montgomery, it's a different story.

Churches may be mindful of hard times, but collection plates remain relatively full.

"Our tithing has remained almost stable," explained Rev. John E. Brooks of Metropolitan United Methodist Church.

"We've been able to do some greater things, even with the economy doing this, so we're just grateful that our people are still looking at the church as a place they need to contribute to."

Though the money is still there, pastors and their parishioners are keeping a close eye on their finances.

"Use less. Do more. Prioritize," Brooks advised.

"We can avoid some financial problems from simply saving and spending and giving in a wise manner," explained Pastor Michael Cassity of Ridgecrest Baptist Church.

Churches and residents may need that wisdom during these rough financial times.

"There are good times and there are bad times, and if we hang in there, I believe everything tends to work out," Cassity said.