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How did that decision not to teach on tithing go over with your elders and/or trustees? I know that was always a sticky-wicket at the church I just left.
oh we were all in agreement. we were a very tight team.
That’s great and somewhat unusual, I might add, particularly when it comes to money.
Huh Oh, did someone mention tithing?
I think what that graph really showed was the conditions of the people’s hearts. That’s not to point a finger, but to make an observation. I’ve been in too many churches where that happened. The church I worked at in Oklahoma never passed the offering plate…there was a box in the back where people could anonymously put their offerings in. For some reason during one service an offering plate was passed, and you guessed it…offerings doubled. So we started passing the plate. I guess public guilt works to an extent.
Giving out of joyful gratitude is undoubtedly the standard and we do well to heed your teaching on the matter. At the same time, I am a sinner who finds all sorts of good reasons to NOT give, or to give meagerly. For me, the tithe is a worthwhile teaching that compels me to give, even when I don’t feel like it. My church never coerced my giving. They simply held up a standard.
Agree with the teaching, also agree a base amount to aim for is helpful.
I also believe low tithes = low spiritual condition, however I think money and giving of is irrelevant. In our hearts we say “what is the minimum I can give to please God”. Not just about money but time too. We must submit ALL that we are to God (our desires, our resources) and He WILL give us back the desires He wants us to have. In return we will receive the desire “How can I give more of my time and money? If only the things in my life were not holding me back. How can I change things so I can give more?”. So, I believe that if you connect in the members, encourage them in the vision, in fact foster their vision, get them pratically involved, the money will flow. Will let you know how I go with this one 🙂
I’ve found that there is NO New Testament support for tithing at all. In fact, I’ve also come to the conclusion that tithing (as practiced in churches now) is a form of bondage and legalism. There’s a good book on this called Tithing: Low-Realm, Obsolete & Defunct; Google the title, you can read the entire thing online.
To add, modern-day tithing was actually derived from Catholicism, who treated it like, pretty much, church dues or tax (it was something they added early on). It has no basis in scripture at all.
that makes me feel so bad. our church doesn’t pass a basket or a tithe. but my husband and i contribute every week regardless.
I’m not sure I agree with you on this one, David… Wouldn’t teaching about tithing (or, if you prefer, giving) be like teaching about prayer, fasting, confession, Bible study, etc., under the umbrella of other spiritual disciplines? By avoiding talking about money, it’s almost as though you’re saying that particular part of your life doesn’t matter to God. I’d want to hear (well, maybe not always!) how the Gospel connects with all aspects of my life, including financially. …My 2 cents. ~Stan
My favorite is the line that tithing is “giving to God.” When I was an ‘elder’ in the church, I was part of all sorts of meetings where ‘we’ decided what ‘we’ would do with the money. We assumed God was guiding our decisions on what new sounds equipment to buy, who to hire, money for youth, etc.
But what a loaded statement. Tithe = Giving to God.
Don’t buy it anymore at all. My family and I give to a variety of causes, some with a Christian adjective preceding them and some not. Generosity with others is good … but tithe also seems to tie into a clergy/laity distinction to me and one small group of people deciding where God’s money goes.
That said – I pray for a healthy windfall to come your way NP – just cause I like you and respect you standing up for what you believed in. Kudos.
is that Sophia on the boat?
This joke just got deeper/better. (Says the comedian…)
OK so point taken, giving to God: one big question is, does God call us to bring the money to the local church or to “The Church”? i.e. is your local church the vehicle through which God chooses to distribute? Some thoughts:
1. Why do we give to church? Often it seems so that we can buy a new projector or whatever. But all we do in the local church should surely be contributing to the “Great Commission”? So paying pastors etc is surely so we can be built up and we can ALL go as missionaries into our work, schools, overseas or where ever? If we are in God’s family we are in the family business – making disciples for His Glory.
2. What if I don’t believe in where my money is going to when I give to church? Wrong question perhaps – God is asking you to be obedient to give where He wants you to. After all it is actually His money. So if the Elders buy 3 projectors instead of 2, then God will hold THEM accountable for that, but you accountable regarding you own obedience.
3. Does God need our money? Most would say no, but I would say yes. Not because He needs us per se, but in His mercy He chose to work out His plan through His people – so to fulfill His plan He needs us to step up: to give of our money, our time, but most of all our heart felt devotion to ALL He is doing in His world. If He didn’t need us, surely in His sovereignty there would be world peace, no hunger, etc.
” He who gives himself entirely to his fellow-men appears to them useless and selfish; but he who gives himself partially to them is pronounced a benefactor and philanthropist.” Thoreau
great quote Sam.
Giving to one’s local church is much more preferable than mailing money to some TV or radio ministry because (presumably) the local church will actually provide an annual financial statement that accounts for every dime received. But even the local church could be much more conscientious about allocating their financial resources in accordance with biblical priorities. On average, what percentage of the church budget goes to fee the poor? On the other hand, when we have a church dinner in which the food is supplied by church funds, how can I justify claiming all of my church donations as tax exempt?
When I would teach/preach on “tithing” as a New Testament practice, I would ask the listener (read: giver-to-be) the following question: “If in the New Testament we find no reference to “tithing” let alone a stated percentage to give to the “church”, and if it is our understanding (perhaps even our practice!) that it teaches a level of grace that compels us to claim that God owns all of our beings, including our money, does it make sense that God would expect us to make LESS than 10% our standard?” Because it was my pastoral experience that congregants rarely supplied at least 10% of their income to God- be that through their local church or to other worthy causes.
While I appreciate Obscuritus’ reply, Shelly makes a good point. The NT standard is to give everything to the church (your apostolic leaders), lest you die (Acts 5).
A tithe is a calculation.
God is not after calculated givers. He is not a claculated Giver. His grace is overflowing.
That we don’t give like that exposes us and our great need of a Savior.
As I understand, the average tithe across our church is approx 3%. So it is about being generous and responding to God’s overflowing grace to us.
I struggle to think that on average that is all we can prioritise to God or have we lost sight of His grace. I say this as a challenge to me too. And also recognise that some people out there are really struggling.
For some of us, we have created the struggle. We have tied up our finances by mixing our needs, God’s provision for these and our wants all together. Also a challenge to my family.
We know that Christ established the Church and so surely the local is God’s idea for the distribution of ALL His gifts = other charities are a modern idea. If that is the case, then feeding the poor, social justice, preaching the gospel to ALL people groups must be high on our agenda as a local church – and building disciples to do this. I see little evidence of this as an output relative to the injection of cash, but see lots of buildings and programs.
So there are many orgs like World Vision, and missionary societies dotted around the place – is this because the local church is not doing it’s job and therefore there is a gap that these orgs fill? I see this as an issue for 2 reasons:
1. it promotes a kind of disconnectedness between God’s people and His work.
2. we are making double the investment in running multiple organisations and consuming better directed $$$.
Don’t get me wrong, absolute thumbs up to those who work in such orgs, but why do I have to go to another org from my church to serve in this way? Or perhaps if I was working for World Vision, why do they go their own way to meet on a Sunday?
For those who say there is no NT basis for tithing, and that you give out of the generosity of your heart:
What percentage do you end up giving?
I used to not tithe, and I “gave generously” when there was a need. That was $50 here and there, probably $1000 a year, at most (approx 1-2%). I started tithing, and after a couple of years of tithing, my heart changed regarding money. I am much more generous now than I ever was before. I now give about 22 – 24% of my income, cheerfully.
The parable of the sower talks about three types of thorns that choke out the word: the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches and the desire for other things. These three things are directly combatted by three spiritual weapons: prayer, giving, and fasting. By not encouraging your congregation to tithe (or pray daily, or fast regularly), you are doing them a disservice.
I wish i knew if you had a wife or kids because i’d like to ask you a few questions pertaining to your relationship with them?
1 What percentage of your income are you investing in the ones you love?
2 Have you also kept a scorecard of how much you’ve given them?
Jared, it’s not a scorecard, it’s a budget. Are you insinuating that anyone who knows how much they spend on different categories is “keeping score”? That’s just silly.
The bottom line is that if I were taught that tithing was old testament and not relevant for my life, I would still be living paycheck to paycheck, thinking I was living generously when in reality I didn’t learn to give generously until I learned how to give God the firstfruits of my labor.
A pastor who teaches their sheep that tithing is not required makes as much sense as a pastor who teaches them that prayer is great but unnecessary.
I’ve got nothing against budgeting, so keep up the good work with that.
I see a pastor who teaches that tithing is required makes as much sense as a pastor who teaches that circumcision is necessary.