I always wonder whether my offering in the plate is mean or not. Today I stayed for the Annual Meeting of the parochial council, and there was a long (and very dull) analysis of every line of the church's balance sheet. I was frustrated that there was no "so what" ideas offered, just a fairly passive hand-wringing that the outgoings outstrip the incomings by about 20%, and that's without needing to do anything major like a roof or a hall refurbishment.
I know someone who doesn't put money in the plate at all, and says she considers that she gives lots of her time and is involved in things, so doesn't feel she also needs to give money. I am not so sure - the things she does for the church are not the sort of things they would otherwise have to pay for (e.g. maybe someone professional to run the crèche), and she definitely could afford to give money. But I would never say that to her, of course it's up to her what she does with her money.
I know that in times long past the rule of thumb was as high as a tenth (tithe) of your income, or did that mean a tenth of your disposable income? How would you place a value on your time for things like helping a Sunday service go smoothly as a door person, or for more 'outreach' things like running a group that appeals to people who don't do a Sunday morning service?
Our Church in the past has produced budget figures of "outgoings that need to be covered by the collection, divided by average weekly congregation" to give people a baseline concept of what the church needs to raise, but it's always emphasised that it is always down to each individual's thinking and finances and no-one should ever feel they "owe" more than they can afford, etc. I've never heard of anyone saying they don't give money as they give of their time - I don't equate them at all. I volunteer in various capacities, according to the time I have, and I give money according to the finances I have. More of one doesn't equal less of the other. How odd. When I've thought of what to give, one method I've used which works for us, is taking an average of what it costs to be members of everything else anyone in the family does (cubs, Scouts, swimming lessons, youth clubs, etc.) then I give that amount, per family member, per week of the year. That's my gift aided, annual commitment, then I do what I can for special appeals or fundraising alongside that.
we give direct to church - 10% of take home pay (ie after tax and NI but not after mortgage etc) (church claims gift aid on this)
also give financially on top of this to building project, youth work - direct to church, and to other charities connected to church - missionaries, Christians against poverty. regular giving
then specific Christmas/Harvest etc gifts on top of that
time - both DH and I serve at church on Sundays in different capacities - me most weeks, DH once a month. We lead a small group, I help run a midweek kids group, I pray for people in our home on a very regular (weekly/fortnightly) basis, youth cell happens in our house.
Gosh Panda, now I definitely think my offering is mean!
I could see the 'indicative pro rata' suggested amount calculation working, if the congregation is fairly uniform in terms of wealth, but where is that true? And those who can afford more would have to realise they are at the better off end of the congregation.
I think each member of the church should give however much they think. What would be the point (spiritually) of them giving but resenting it? Surely that could just result in them turning away from the church.
By all means study and discuss what the bible has to say on such matters but the resulting behaviour is reflective of how much they have understood / how much revelation they have had.
They should give (time/money/both) in proportion to their faith.
PandaG I could've written that! I personally give no money to the church - I'm not a tax payer but DH is, so he gives the money so it can be gift aided. I do give a lot of my time. I know some people in our church tithe (10%) and some give far less. An old vicar I knew thought that giving should be sacrificial- ie you notice you don't have that money- and can't have something you want. It's also worth remembering that some people don't put actual physical money in a collection plate as they give by standing order. It makes them look as though they're not giving, but they may actually be giving £000s! I think churches are often very hesitant about asking for money as they don't want to appear like they're always asking...
The AGM figures were something like £23,000 in "planned giving" i.e. standing orders including the tax reclaimed, and £3000-3500 in the Sunday plate. So I get entirely that it is not how heavy the tin is, but my friend does neither.
We give about 10% of DH's income but not all of it to the church - we also sponser a couple of children through Compassion & took that into account when we decided how much to give to the church. We also give money occasionally for a specific need within the church if we're made aware of it & can afford to.
On a monthly basis between us we: help set up on a Sunday, do some of the children's work, play in the band & do teas & coffees. I spend 2 days a week helping out at toddler groups & we both help at annual/sporadic events as needed.
I suppose we don't really see it as a big sacrifice. We're part of our church community & these are the things we need to do to help. The money comes out as soon as DH's pay comes in so we never take it into account. Things have been a bit tight financially recently but, out of all the things we've discussed cutting back on, it never occurred to us to stop giving what we do. We just don't see it as 'our' money. As far as we're concerned, the church needs both the man-power & the financial resources to be able to effectively serve the wider community in the way that we do. We're lucky enough to be able to give both time & money so that's what we do!
Absolutely Rake the 'indicative pro-rata' suggestion is pre-empted by lots of speil about some people who are earning and others are retired and obviously some having higher outgoings than others etc., etc., but some people like a kind of "what are you expecting from me" figure from which they can they decide to give more / less / the right amount. It might be that the 10% figure is your starting point, or it might be that pointing out what everyone gave 5 years ago came to £x in total, which then covered the outgoings, but the outgoings for this year are actually £x + 10%, and people need to search their hearts and do their sums to see if the congregation can match that by it's giving or if people would be happy to see cuts in the expenditure. Sometimes you have to have uncomfortable conversations about the membership, or attendance being down from what it was,, but the expenditure going up.