December 9, 2008
When I saw a pastor stand up before the congregation and state I'm giving $10,000.00 this year, I almost fell over. There are some in that congregation that don't make that kind of money in the first place. There are certain things that go on in the church and in most churches that need the attention of all who go there. To start with what about Angel food ministries and childrens camps for the summer. Mission groups within the youth and for some of our retired who want to serve. Money is needed for all of this as well as the up keep of the church. We need to give to our church, but as God wants us to do, give not only of our money, but our gifts and talents as well. I have seen over the years that the talk of money in the church discourages some to even come to church. In God's Grace John
I give a bit to my church but not much (actually nothing this year). I fall into the category of people that have a significant number of friends and family that are self supporting missionaries. I am fine giving to my church, but it is a very well off church, and my last church was even better off. So I have gotten into the habit of tithing or more but directly to friends and family. I have had a couple people try to argue that what I am doing is not tithing. (Frankly I don't care what you call it). But most of the scriptural support that they want to use for giving only to the local church doesn't really make sense. Most of the OT scriptural support is to the temple or to the theocratic government for the support of poverty reduction. Neither of those really corresponds with the local church. The NT support is even less convincing. NT scripture talks about giving to other churches, directly to missionaries, to those in need and to family. If the money was given directly to the local church it was usually for convenience of getting the money to someone else. While I am not at all opposed to giving to the local church, local churches do a lot of important christian work, the breakdown of denominational structures means that much of the work of international missions is being done by small groups and individuals that are forced to spend significant amounts of their time raising funds instead of doing the work they are called to.
This is no surprise to me. My wife and I give part of our tithe to the church, but we also give it to organizations such as Doctors Without Borders, Amnesty International, and our local Salvation Army. We feel it is our duty to support our local parish, but I feel uncomfortable knowing that most of our church donation goes to building upkeep and staff wages.
I'm in the midst of writing an article dealing, tangentially, with this topic. Here are some resources I've found that you might be interested in:<br><br><a href="http://www.worldmag.com/articles/11176" rel="nofollow">http://www.worldmag.com/articl...</a><br><a href="http://emptytomb.org/" rel="nofollow">http://emptytomb.org/</a><br><a href="http://missionissues.wordpress.com/2008/02/28/spending-god%E2%80%99s-money-in-church/" rel="nofollow">http://missionissues.wordpress...</a><br><a href="http://www.veitchsmith.com/2007/09/30/why-dont-christians-give-more-to-missions/" rel="nofollow">http://www.veitchsmith.com/200...</a><br><br>I give to my church and to missionaries. My wife and I regularly try to increase our giving (which is what the article I'm writing is about; I'll try and remember to link to it from here when it's done). Though she grew up as pastor's kid, we're both convinced that churches don't allocate their funds properly. In essence, they don't give enough to missions. Sure, salaries and buildings have to be paid for, and programs to a degree, but isn't the church's â€” no, isn't GOD'S purpose to seek and save the lost through Christ? Yes, that can be done through the local church, and SHOULD be done through the local church, but the local church ends up too often spending too locally.<br><br>The first link above talks about how, based on figures from the last fifteen years, the average church only spends TWO PENNIES on overseas missions. That . . . <br><br>is pathetic. God didn't say "Spend most of your money on Jerusalem and Samaria, and give whatever's left to the Ends of the Earth." Granted, God also doesn't say HOW we should allocate funds specifically. <br><br>However, doesn't it make sense to be significantly (i.e., more, WAY more than two pennies on the dollar) supporting cross-cultural mission efforts when we consider that that money goes towards establishing, oftentimes, the Gospel where it's not heard at all? Where there is no church? People are always saying "But there are needs here." Yes there are. But people in America have the opportunity to find a Bible preaching church and learn the Word. They can watch TV shows about it, listen to radio that talks about Jesus. Millions in the Middle East and East Asia can't do that. <br><br>To the ends of the earth, and more than two cents.
First of all, I do not believe in tithing in the New Testament Church. As an devout believer and a pastor myself I believe the whole system of tithing in the church is liken unto systematic extortion. Scripturally it is fundamentally opposed to the concept of grace through faith and constricts the right to give freely and cheerfully. I am all for proportional giving as a believer, just not as a matter of tithing but simply as New Testament giving. Churches for the most part (as the larger the organization is concerned) seem to be in a virtual race for worldly-ship. Besides, older folks shouldn't have to tithe anyway. Retirees have already given proportionally in terms of the increases that secured their on their SS checks in the first place. That's like double taxation. Oppression and concession have absolutely no place in the local church. Greater missions deserve greater portions. Not to over-head as some would suggest.
Arshield, there's a lot of advantages to your system of giving that church tithing can't match--mainly, the wonderful personal connection to the ministries and people you're supporting. I always appreciate it when my church brings in representatives from the ministries it supports to talk about what they're doing, but that just isn't the same as using your resources to support friends and loved ones in the ministry. Don't listen to anyone who tries to tell you that isn't biblical!
I can fully understand people giving this way. As long as they are giving to God I personally don't have a problem with it..<br><br>Andy - did you get the book review I sent you several days ago? Are you still doing those with the recent switch?
I think giving to our church is exactly what the tithe is for. We need to support the church that is feeding us and those around us. Without that, all the programs that we all love so much go away, the church goes away, and then where does that leave us? People talk about scandal in the church - where does my money go - etc. etc etc., but that isn't up to me. I give my tithe to my church and know that God is ultimately in control.<br><br>What I give to other organizations outside my church is what I consider my offering - everything above and beyond my tithe.
Certainly for our church, we believe very much in the giving of tithes and offerings, based on passages in the OT (ie Malachi 3:8-12) and also the example of the NT. We also believe that the tithe is something that should be going to your local church, and not outside. Your giving outside can be part of your offerings, but should not take away from your tithe.
In answer to the main question, our church also has a minority of people tithing, and because of job losses, etc., overall giving is down. We need to seek God's provision for our ministry needs.<br><br>The issue of church as "middleman" concerns me. The Bible does not speak to parachurch ministries being the vehicle to accomplish God's work in this age. The Bible does speak much about the work of the church (and I subscribe to the concept of local churches, not mega-denominations). <br><br>I recognize that there are some abuses in some churches. But if a church is acting biblically, the "personal connection" of participating in outreach and ministry should be just as powerful in a local church as it is with those outside the church.<br><br>(Just to clarify, as God provides, my wife and I do give to missionaries and ministries where we have friends outside the church. But the local church is our first priority.)
I think it's important for the tithe, the first 10% to go to the church, to be used as the church is lead by God. Maybe I wouldn't feel the same if I couldn't see the amazing fruits of what those tithes and our time serving does within our city. But out church is absolutely AMAZING at using our tithes and time to touch peoples' lives here and throughout the world.<br><br>Our church is very good about teaching that the first 10% is to be given/used by the God and the church, and any other giving beyond that is the offering/giving to be given as we are led. My husband and I have never felt like our church begged for money or just wanted our money or were reaching in our pockets. They've just taught, and led by example, the principles God laid out. Our church is passionate about giving to those in need and that passion gets passed to you and you really want to see God's money used to bless those in need. That's what keeps our giving at the church and not the internet... we can SEE LIVE how that money is touching peoples lives. Yeah giving on the internet helps, but you never see the real effects of how it helps. <br><br>Maybe showing the people of the church what their money did this month, this quarter, this year will help them see that the church is a good place for their giving. As well, challenging the congregation to see what happens when they give 10% to the church as the Bible teaches. Our church is made up of a lot of "new to Christ" people, so understanding those principles is new to them. Our pastor challenges those who have never tithed or have really gotten away from it by saying the church will re-imburse everything they tithe for a three month period if they give 10% every month and they feel worse off at the end of that three month period then before . <br><br>Oh, and we also have the option to tithe online to our church which helps with those not wanting to write checks. There's even the option for auto-withdrawals, like you'ld pay your mortgage with, though I personally thinks that takes away from it being a monthly/weekly deliberate decision that I make to give to God.
Frankly, I think your own church should be the first place that you give; God ministers to you through your church, and so you should be giving back to God by giving to that church. Church members should feel a certain responsibility for the care of their church, spiritual and financial, rather than leaving it all to the pastor or someone else. <br><br>My husband and I always give to our church first, and only occasionally do we shift our tithe to some other cause that we feel is really worthy. Usually any giving we do outside of the church is in addition to our tithe. In turn, our church helps support many other ministries and missionaries, so I know my charitable giving is being used to serve the poor and advance the Gospel far beyond our congregation.<br><br>As a side note, I listen to Christian radio occasionally (Bott Radio Network), and I really appreciate that many of the ministries on the air make it clear that they want their listeners to give to their churches first, and only give to their ministry anything above and beyond their usual tithe.
Why does it make you uncomfortable that your tithe goes to the building and the staff? You wouldn't have a church without someone paying those bills. I am not picking on you! But I think many people under-appreciate the fact that their own church IS a ministry, and all ministries require overhead costs.
I've just finished a book called Eating Sacred Cows and written by a pastor. It can also be read online for free if you google it. <br>This pastor does a study on tithing and of course uses all the scriptures. Now I had tithed for 10 years consistently and to my local church but after reading this book am convinced that tithing is not scriptural. There is so much evidence there.<br>Even if tithing were scriptural it is not being done correctly as you'll see in the book.<br>I'd suggest a quick read of this book online(It's not very long) and odds are you'll agree with it.
Membership in a church is a blessing accompanied by a responsibility to give to that church. Gifts should be financial as well as prayerful and service-oriented. My strong belief that Christians should tithe directly to their churches and consider any other charitable giving to be above and beyond that does not rely on a particular passage of Scripture, or the placement of a passage in the OT or NT. Tithing is simply part of being in a church community, and it is a wonderful way to participate in that community.
Religious organizations brought in 103 billion last year. (<a href="http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/charity/2008-10-07-charity-faith_N.htm" rel="nofollow">stats</a>). The problem is that the church is hardly doing anything practical with the money they have already.
I can testify that I am guilty of this.<br><br>If the pastor is not working for the gospel and the programs of the church are not gospel centered and burdensom, then I prefer to divert funds to somehwere more fruitful. I will still give to the church but my generosity will go elsewhere.<br><br>He who doesn't work sjould not eat!<br>Some people say it is a little harsh, but would Jesus take the 5 credits and give it to the servant with 1?
As far as I can tell, my Church does not donate anything to the poor. Our money is for our building and our ministry and mission. Thus, members have no choice but to support other works in order to help the poor and oppressed. I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing - why on earth should a church be the middle-man?<br><br>I think Church's who are struggling financially need to ask if they are doing the right things with their money. If they use it to build up God's Kingdom and communicate it appropriately they will have the buy-in of the kingdom people.
I'm assuming from your comment that you believe that the Old Testament is no longer applicable in a believer's life??? In that case, can you say that we no longer have to live by the ten commandments? Or that the promises in the OT are not ours to claim?<br><br>I have to disagree with you. Yes, we are saved by grace and we are not "under" the law anymore. However, Jesus did say that he was not here to do away with the law but to fulfill the law. I firmly believe that we, as adopted sons of God, and grafted into the Jewish olive tree, are to live by every commandment and can claim every promise in the the OT. No, I do not believe we have to follow the laws of sacrifice in the OT, because Jesus was the final sacrifice, but neither can we ignore the word of God as a whole. Besides all that, if the OT does not apply to us, the prophecies of the OT would have already been fulfilled and we would be in error by referring back to those prophecies.<br><br>I hope I am making some sense here!!! Anyway, my main point is, that you can not pick and choose parts of the OT to believe in and live by. If you pick and choose which commandments you want to live by, then why would you think you can claim all the promises?<br><br>I am not trying to say that all of this applies to you personally, I am just trying to make a point. I am not a minister, but my late brother was an Assembly of God pastor for many years and I gave my life to the Lord at an early age (and as the Apostle Paul said -- I am the chiefest of sinners -- I can honestly tell you that I have many faults and am a work in progress, but I love Yeshua (Jesus) with all my heart.
"in its 2008 report found 33.4% of estimated total giving, $103.32 billion, went to houses of worship" (<a href="http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/charity/2008-10-07-charity-faith_N.htm" rel="nofollow">source</a>)<br><br>â€œChristians worldwide in 2007 gave . . . $370 billion, to Christian causesâ€ (<a href="http://www.generousgiving.org/page.asp?sec=4&page=660" rel="nofollow">source</a>)<br><br>For some reason i don't think the extra 139 billion that would be brought in to the church if everyone tithed would make a difference. 370 billion is given worldwide to christian causes. That's unbelievable! <br><br>Another stat is that 85% of what churches bring in never go out the door. As a matter of fact only 3% of what is brought in actually goes towards the humanitarian aid of the unsaved. ONLY 3%?! and we are worried about people <a href="http://churchtithesandofferings.com/" rel="nofollow">tithing</a>? For what?! So we can spend more on ourselves?
My 10th belongs to my local church, with whom I am very pleased. My offerings most times exceed my tithes and it goes as close as my local library and as far as many nations around the globe via many different christian organizations. At one time my offerings were to as many as 20 different organizations, now it is limited to less then 10. I beleive the first 10th belongs to my local church for it maintenance, survival and growth. I also volunteer my time to people & organizations outside my local churc. I beleive what I am doing is correct. I believe my churc affiliation is where I am suppose to be and my 10th is to the lord via my local church. I have found my quality of living to be very comfortable in spight of my limited income because resorces seem to find me and my needs are met because I am a tither.
We are entrusting by faith our tithe to the appointed leaders of the congregation we belong to. Either we think that the Lord put us in that church, under that leadership for a reason, or He didn't. If you don't feel your church is handling the money right, then don't be passive aggressive and not give, talk to leadership, get to the bottom of it, MATTHEW 18 it.<br><br>I find it funny that most arguments come from a selfish desire to do what "feels" right. Rarely, and I would probably argue NEVER, does the bible recommend actions based on feelings. <br><br>Here's the truth... God owns the cattle on a thousand hills. If you tithe to your church and want to give to World Vision, He will definitely provide for both. Tithing/giving is the only thing that God asks us to test Him with. So, think of it more as an obedience thing than a choice. God settles the argument pretty simply in Malachi 3:10 - Yes the Mosaic Law is fulfilled by Christ, but how much more should we give under the freedom of grace as opposed to the rule of the Law?<br><br>Lastly I'm only speaking from experience. I used to "split" a tithe. Then I started giving to the church I attend and giving gifts above and beyond that. God has provided in so many tangible and intangible ways. We are always provided for. I always need to remember that it's NOT MINE, it's His and the Church is the bride of Christ. Far too often in this age of "church bashing" and the minimization of the power of the local church, we start to treat Her like a step-child rather than a beautiful bride. <br>
Why are you at this church if you don't agree with what they're doing? You're tithe is more than just your money, it's your talent and time as well.
I agree wholeheartedly. Thank you Terri. Yes, you make complete sense.
It's not about what we think personally. It is a matter of Biblical principle. It's about discipline and sacrifice of the resources that already belong to Him, of which He blessed us with. How do we ever know what God can do monetarily if we don't get out on a limb in faith sometimes and commit to tithing in the Biblical sense, not what we make up to be acceptable?<br><br>Seriously guys.....think about this.
Agree completely, as I tithe and give in the same manner. Two different catagories....
With all do respect, don't think I'll be agreeing Mark. I am led by the Holy Spirit to convince me of scriptural understanding. In addition, I try to interpret scripture with scripture although I do use study guides and a Strongs Exhaustive Concordance, if my external resouces don't jive with what I beleive God is revealing to me....I don't buy it.<br>Thanks anyway.
I would ask the same question as Charlie. Why are you at that church?
Steward, you cannot rank or gauge in percentages the lives that are touched (by Christ)in church and filter into the world to carry out the great commision of spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. That is why I am comitted to tithing......it's not an option for me. <br><br>In addtion, I trust God to do with that money what He sees fit and I trust the staff at my church. <br><br>How much is a child raised in church and saved by Christ worth when he is called to full time missions. It doesn't take one penny of money going outside the church for that to happen.
I haven't read the book but I do believe that present day tithing is not done scripturally. My understanding is that tithing is voluntary, in the form of taxes, levy, good deeds,etc. Also there is no scripture in the bible that says the storehouse is the church. I pay well over 10% of my earnings in taxes and social security which goes to support other programs for the less fortunate, and the elderly. In these present days the government has made itself the storehouse and makes every working person pay their tithes whether they want to or not. <br> We place a lot of emphasis on tithing going to the church. Tithing is supposed to be taken out first (which is what the government does, 10% for federal taxes). We also give 6.25% to social security and 1.45% to medicare to help do our share in caring for the elderly and the future youth will do the same for us. So you see I know I am tithing and giving back more than 10% of my earnings for the benefit of others. The government recognizes this also that is why they allow you to claim charitable contributions on your taxes because you are paying above and beyond the tithing amount.<br> Now on another note if the government does not do what it is supposed to do with the money that does not fall back on me. In the same since if I donate to the church and they do not do their part in allocating the money as it should be, that does not fall back on me because I did my job. If God has blessed you with the ability to get a job paying $100,000 and the 10% is taken out on the top and given back, who's to say the 10% is for God's will regardless of who it goes to (the government or the church).<br> All I can say is I never bring home 100% of my income. I only bring home 67%. Therefore my tithing duty has already been taken care of.
Since everyone has different opinons, I believe every believer should seek out thier ow n personal direction from God themselves, on what and how to give. <br>Think about this<br>-----------------------God is not going to send you to hell for not paying "tithes"<br>-----------------------You are not promised heaven for paying "tithes"<br>we need to focus more on our soul salvation, what truly matters
If you think the government is the storehouse then you also claim the government as you God. This is clearly a mind that is not in submission to the authority of God. <br>Tithing is not just a rule, but an act of relationship and an act of worship. If you think that paying taxes is an act of worship, you are greatly mislead. <br><br>So many people think they are smarter than God, and want to add to His word, or take away. The local congregation is suffering because beleivers think they are smarter than God and want to justify their disobedience.
In the same since if you claim the church to be your storehouse then you must claim the pastor to be your God. You can justify tithing to be what ever makes you feel good at the end of the day. But the fact of the matter is the bible has been rewritten by man, the King James version, what is that about? Someone comes along and rewrites the bible according to his version. Well that's fine, who am I to judge him if people follow what he says. I don't believe any one tries to be smarter than god, we are all just trying to interpret the bible the best way possible and it is hard enough for us to interpret the bible without everyone telling us our view is incorrect because it does not fit into their understanding. The first time tithing was mentioned in the bible was in Genesis 14:16 (And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people.) this tithing was not from his personal possessions but from war. Never once does tithing mention money. As humans we have already added to gods words and taken away the meaning of his verses. Local congregations do not suffer because people think they are smarter than God, they suffer becasue they aren't helping parishoners understand God's true words and they themselves are not following the correct doctrine. Parishoner's do as the Pastor does, and a lot of Pastors need to be a good example.<br><br>
I am kinda in a tough spot tonight. I have my tithing checks all made out to my church, but I got some news last night that a good friend of mine is going through some medical issues with her daughter. When she told me about the hospital bills and then her purse being stolen I felt over whelmed to a give the money to her. She has no idea that I am considering this but I just feel like this month it should go to her family. I do feel bad though, like Im not supporting the church...I dont know what to do...any advice?...for those of you that are are going to say pray about it...I have ( : ... but I feel like I am hearing what I want to hear.
I agree with this statement from Sandy: "I don't believe any one tries to be smarter than god, we are all just trying to interpret the bible the best way possible and it is hard enough for us to interpret the bible without everyone telling us our view is incorrect because it does not fit into their understanding." Some people say they rely on the Holy Spirit to give them understanding of the Bible. That doesn't seem to produce common results across the board, hence all these interpretations and denominations within Christianity. I personally believe that the individual (their personality, experiences, etc.) affect how they interpret the Bible, even if the Holy Spirit is involved.
Hebrews clearly teaches that tithes and offerings and Sabbath are finished (fulfilled/completed) with Christ. That Christ is superior to these. Why sacrifice blood offerings for sin since Christ has shed his very own blood? Why sacrifice a ...portion of our income? Why rest only one day of the week to give honor to God? We are to enter into His rest. The message of Hebrews was that Christ is here. The law is complete in Christ. He put an end to those things. We should not harden our hearts to Him. He wants radical devotion to Him, to the point of giving all of ourselves. There are no 10% Christians. The law does not compel us any longer. Only He can compel us.If God tells me to give and I do not, then I have sinned; just as in the New Testament times when Ananias and Sapphira were struck down dead because they withheld some of their money and lied they had given all of it from the sale of a piece of land. So it is important to fulfill our promises (or be released from those promises by the one we promised). Actually it is better to not make an oath. However, if the pastor says that everyone is obligated to give at least 10% of their income, then how would it be "giving freely." It would be an obligation, and therefore by definition not free. Giving "freely" doesn't mean just giving a lot without holding back. It means I am free to give, not obligated to give by law/torah.Â The law was written for sinful men to teach them what is right and good. But now that the perfect Jesus has come, why should we live by the law and not the Spirit? The law is not a teacher any longer for us. By dying to what once bound us, ...we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code. Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set us free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. What this means in practicality is that each of us listen to God directly for guidance.
In Reply to Jeff (comment #8334)
What do you think the the charities use money for? They need upkeep for the building and staff as well, correct? *confused*
In Reply to John (comment #8332)
I give my tithes to my local church, but recently I feel like not to giving to our church, Here's why? I have written to pastors of other church when we used to go those churches to relocation and back now to my old church. I have mentioned to my emails and letters to those pastors and even our current pastor about my problem with my husband who is so addicted to gambling and he didn't care if we lost our homes 3 times. I have written to these pastors if they can mention in the pulpit that gambling is a sin 10th Commandment Thou shall not cove and quoted a lot of scriptures . But to my disappointment these pastors didnt even respond to my letter. One of them even mentioned to the pulpit if you problems don't write him a letter go to Jesus he can help I can not. Hello, I know that and I have been praying to Jesus about that but I thought that if someone can just tell in the pulpit this sin then he will think twice before he gambled all our money. But no pastors don't even mention that this is a sin and a lot of christians goes to casino, few of them them mentioned casino in front of me while we were waiting for the service to start. One of them said, she goes to her husband gambling just to submit to him. There a lot of christians who are addicted to gambling and I think pastors should addressed this problem, otherwise they will not receive any TITHES AT ALL because the christians are giving to the Indians the tithes that is supposed to belong to the church. Common Pastors, a lot of Christians will go to hell and their Blood is in your Hands for not making a sermon about it.
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