An excellent question, an unpopular response(?)

In a Writer’s group I belong to on Facebook, the following post link was posted and comments solicited.

**DISCLAIMER** while it is nominally about churches, religion, and tithing, it also holds some basic financial truths, but be warned it is framed in the context of churches, so if you’re not interested, you might want to stay away.

The orginal post is here: “Why isn’t my tithe enough again?

While I haven’t commented on my own religious opinions/beliefs/practices in this group or in this blog, I guess I’ll go ahead and add my 2 cents and probably reveal some things about myself in the process.

First, People are correct when they say that small churches need to do this kind of thing. Small, local, one-off churches just do not have the resources that “corporate” religious institutions have. That doesn’t mean you should feel compelled to give above your tithe, it just reflects the reality of their situation, which you must balance with the reality of your situation. If you can’t give more, you can’t give more. If the church can’t understand that reality, then maybe it’s not really the church for you. Chris Moore’s son was correct when he said that families cannot just have a fund-raiser or ask for money when they can’t pay their bills, so why can a church, which is really just a big family in Christ, so different?

Second, every organization of any size will have financial issues, running the gamut from residual debt incurred by previous administrators up to and including outright embezzlement/abuse of funds. That is not a statement about churches; it is a statement about humanity. However, since church funds come solely from the flock, it might be plausible, as a way of helping your church of choice, to suggest a quarterly financial report about the financial flow. This is not unreasonable and should not be seen as such, as it is your money that is being brought in and sent out of an organization you belong to. Any organization that refuses to provide such basic information is, again, perhaps not an organization you might want to frequent.

Finally, if I haven’t managed to anger anyone with this discussion, which is NOT what I’m trying to do by the way, let me add: since people are honestly and thoughtfully asking why a church can ask for more money to do things the flock doesn’t agree with or understand, even though they already give a lot toward such things, ask yourself how you would feel about the situation if the word “church” was replaced with “government.” Every principle is the same, financially speaking, and seems relevant given the current state of debate in America, and even more so in Europe.

How much of ourselves are we supposed to give — to our detriment — to support organizations’ goals? At what point do we accept that we must be responsible to our families FIRST, and then to those organizations outside our homes (and yes, God my dwell in our hearts, but his churches are up the street and around the corner)?

When, in any situation, is enough, enough?


4 thoughts on “An excellent question, an unpopular response(?)

  1. A few thoughts: First, I don’t know why you would think anything in this post would anger anyone. It is thoughtful and insightful, and very well written. (So okay, enough for the sucking up.) It’s not quite accurate to say that if a family can’t pay it’s bills, it can’t just have a fundraiser or ask for more money. Most people can and do utilize credit (e.g. credit cards), at least in emergency situations. In my experience,churches are loathe to use credit and incur debt because their income is so unpredictable, since most (or at least many) people do not actually tithe (that is, give ten percent, or even a set amount each month). And you said “How much of ourselves are we supposed to give — to our detriment — to support organizations’ goals?” This is the thing about tithing that is a little incomprehensible, even to me and I’m a dyed-in-the-wool believer: If we are faithful to God, God is faithful to us. I cannot explain this because it is completely illogical and I fully expect it to elicit eyerolling from anyone who reads this response who has not experienced it, but I can tell you from many personal experiences that when I am faithful in tithing, somehow I always have enough money for the necessities of life, even when I shouldn’t. And it’s not like I open the mail and there’s a check in there. I don’t know how it works, but it does. So I have never, ever suffered detriment by tithing. However, there have been times when the church has asked for over-and-above gifts for certain things and I have been unable to give much — always a little, but sometimes not much. Because God does expect us to be good stewards and care for our families, too. (As an aside, and this is getting way too long so I’ll shut up after this), one difference between the church and the government is the obvious: Church giving is voluntary. You can’t end up in jail for tithe evasion.


  2. Mark,
    I am not sure I follow your first comment. I have been in several small churches which have never taken up secondary offerings. Rather, they have made due with the tithes coming. Perhaps I misunderstand your point though?

    I love the idea about transparency. I like to see this sort of information about any organization I contribute to, and even about my employer. It is especially true in the church in my mind, though I cannot honestly tell you why it feels more important for a church.

    I have experienced unbelievable things by being faithful to give from a generous heart too. The money seems to just be there, for reasons and in ways that are completely illogical. It does sadden me that so few are willing or interested in giving to their local church. I wonder if it’s a discipleship issue, or just plan selfishness.


  3. Oh my goodness! an amazing article dude. Thanks Nevertheless I’m experiencing subject with ur rss . Don’t know why Unable to subscribe to it. Is there anyone getting similar rss drawback? Anybody who is aware of kindly respond. Thnkx


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