Giving Money to your church - do you? Why or why not?

(35 Posts)
Earlybird Wed 08-Aug-12 20:22:18

Do you think we have a biblical and/or moral obligation to tithe, and if so, why do you think so? How do you decide how much to tithe?

If you don't tithe, do you give significantly to your church in other forms (time, talent, etc)?

I've been thinking about people who give to churches, and why some do (even if it causes strain to their budgets and schedules) and others don't (or give only a fraction of what they could manage).

racingheart Wed 08-Aug-12 21:58:30

I never did when I went to church regularly. This was because I had no income of my own, and DH was pretty tight with handing me enough to live on when he was in control of our finances, and he is not a believer. Instead I gave massive amounts of time to church, volunteering for many hours a week. I felt like a second class citizen. People who didn't tithe weren't included in the church register (an address directory exclusive to the church family.) It's a very wealthy church and I got fed up of being sidelined despite offering my time when I had no money, even though my children were very young.

I stopped going to that church, and even though I ran its youth groups for over five years, not one person has ever dropped by or phoned to ask why we stopped going. However I do know that people who tithed and dropped out had doorsteppers really pressurising them to return.

My faith in God is still as strong. I just have no respect for the church.

ICompletelyKnowAboutGuineaPigs Wed 08-Aug-12 22:13:24

My church accepts people tithing, but the amount is up to the individual and no record is kept if who gives what.

Some people give more time than money and vice versa. Others give the same amount monthly as a percentage of their income and for others it varies according to needs.

I personally believe that people should contribute to their church but this can be in any way they seem fit. The bible does call for us to contribute to the upkeep of the church but doesn't give a particular amount and I think this should be honoured.

Racingheart The church you were out sounds quite judgemental and unChristian to me. Have ypu found a new church?

Earlybird Thu 09-Aug-12 04:09:50

'' The bible does call for us to contribute to the upkeep of the church but doesn't give a particular amount and I think this should be honoured. ''

Really? I was under the impression that the Bible called for us to tithe/give 10% of our earnings, though i can't cite where it says that.

If the Bible doesn't give an amount, I wonder where the 10% figure came from. That is considered the 'correct' amount in our church - that is, if you are doing what God has instructed.

stressedHEmum Thu 09-Aug-12 09:42:19

The 10% figure comes from the story of Jacob at Bethel where he dreamt of the ladder to heaven and promised God 10% of all his stuff in return for God's protection and provision. The 10% figure then carries on through the Mosaic Law. So Israel was required to tithe.

The NT doesn't talk about tithing, instead it talks about free will offerings and giving to God as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion. Also we are to give according to our means (1Cor 16:2). Taken along with the scriptures in Acts, which make it clear that the more affluent supported the poorer members and that meals etc. were taken communally, it becomes clear that we are under obligation to support the church but that this obligation is not prescriptive.

My church doesn't tithe. We give as we are moved. Some give much more than others. I give probably more than I can afford, tbh, but because I am involved in running the place, I know how precarious our finances are and I don't want the church to close. I give about 10% of my money in cash, but I also give hours and hours of time, I bake very regularly, knit etc. for fayres and the like and provide resources and materials for different groups and events, so it's probably about 20% of my income once all the other stuff is taken into account. However, I don't for one second think that makes me any better than someone who only gives a couple of pounds a week

I do it because I feel that everything that I have comes from God and that I want to show thanks and to further the work of His Kingdom in my area. Part of that is trying to contribute to the upkeep of the church.

DutchOma Thu 09-Aug-12 10:14:57

The point about tithing is that it is a blessing. I know that, because we have done it for years.
When you first start it seems an enormous amount of money to give away, but when you think about it, once you have given 10% away, you have nine times as much left over.
A 10% discount on a purchase is nice, but it is not a significant amount.
I can honestly say that we have never been desperately short of money in our life, but when we didn't tithe we were shorter than when we did. Don't ask me how that works, like most issues of faith there is no reasonable explanation for it. The only way to 'prove' it is to try it.

niminypiminy Thu 09-Aug-12 11:55:10

I give money to the church. We're not asked to tithe -- but to give as we can afford. I give probably more than most people at the church because I know how precarious our financial situation is. But I don't give as much as I could, to my shame. I give 5% of my income away, not just to the church, but to other good causes. My aim is to increase that percentage gradually to 10%. But it is a sacrifice, no doubt about it.

noisytoys Thu 09-Aug-12 12:20:55

I have tithed in the past, I want to tithe again because I know it's the right thing to do and the 90% we would have left always stretches further than the 100% but we are in so much debt and have so little to live on my head is saying no its such a constant battle and I get so worn down by it sad

DutchOma Thu 09-Aug-12 12:49:07

Noisytoys would it be possible for you to ask for some help from Christians against Poverty? They can help you get out of debt and support you in your battle to keep your head above the water.

Earlybird Thu 09-Aug-12 13:22:47

Our church is preparing to ask people to consider their giving and make a commitment - whether by tithe or other methods.

I wonder how they can speak about an 'obligation' or 'responsibility' to give without making members of the congregation for guilty or pressured.

Any thoughts on that?

pantaloons Thu 09-Aug-12 13:33:10

We were sent a leaflet a while ago from our church about titheing. It went to everyone regardless of whether they already gave etc. I do agree with giving to church and we do so, but the leaflet they sent out was quite judgey and tbh a little bit on the woe betide/threatening side in it's nature. I was really surprised as the church is really friendly and open, as is the vicar. It just didn't fit with what I thought "my" church was. If anything it put me off giving and going as I really don't like to be leaned on or made to feel somehow less because of my income/outgoings.

So on the asking front Earlybird I know a good way to turn people off, but not sure how to persuade them to give!

ChitchatAtHome Thu 09-Aug-12 13:33:59

We don't give exactly 10%, but we do give a set amount via a Standing Order, and also give varying amounts when we attend our services. This way if we visit another church we can give some to them as well.

But we also give more for special appeals, donate time and 'goods', and participate in lots of aspects of church life.

Earlybird - our church has asked for a commitment so that they have an idea of what their income will be for the year, on a monthly basis, and can plan accordingly. That is why we give a set amount by standing order. I think most people can understand why this is desirable for a church. I know some members of large churches make 1 very large donation a year (bonus time!) and that is all they give. Different people do it in different ways.

I like giving weekly because I also give my DS something to put into the envelope, and he sees DH and I giving to the church and is also able to give. When he starts getting pocket money there will be an expected 10% that he needs to give to the church out of it. If he earns his own money, then I would like him to give some of it, but won't expect 10%. Teaching by example is the best way.

stressedHEmum Thu 09-Aug-12 16:44:47

Earlybird - our church runs at a fair sized deficit every month and we struggle all the time to meet our expenses. We decided not to run a planned giving campaign at the moment because of the current climate but we have taken some steps to encourage more giving.

The first thing that we did was to start printing a summary of income and outgoings in our weekly order of service (just total figures), highlighting the monthly deficit. This brought the situation to people's attention, although only those who actually come to church.

A few months after that, we put an article in the magazine which goes out to every member, whether they attend or not, explaining the situation, the different ways of giving, gift aid and the like. As part of the article we asked if members could prayerfully consider their givings while recognising that mostly people give according to their circumstances and acknowledging that some people may wish to reduce their contribution rather than upping it.

As a finance committee, we definitely encourage giving by standing order because that ensures a regular income which allows the church to plan, most people appreciate this fact anyway. Other people commit to putting a certain amount in their envelope every week, which is also good. What's important is a regular amount coming in.

The steps that we have taken so far have seen an increase in the amount of givings and a reduction in our deficit, so it has been quite successful so far, although there is a long way to go. Most of the success has come through not making people feel pressured to pay a certain amount.

I'm actually dead against tithing because I think that it's unscriptural but I also thing that the idea of it puts people off giving/coming to the church at all. To give back to God is a very great blessing but one that we should enter into freely and without coercion, imo.

ClaireRacing Thu 09-Aug-12 21:27:58

Yes - it is biblical and the church needs money to run.

madhairday Mon 13-Aug-12 16:34:53

I firmly believe that tithing is biblical and that it releases blessing. Having tithed for years and years we have always found our 90% stretching further than we could have imagined, somehow. It's been hard at times, esp when dh was a student and I cannot work, but these are the times we saw the most blessing financially. There's this wonderful verse in Malachi:10" Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it."

I have seen again and again in people's lives the truth of this. And I am not simply talking about western rich Christians. People in Sudan, in Uganda. Also, I am not only talking about financial blessing. I totally do not believe in the prosperity gospel. I think blessing comes in many forms. We've always had just enough - sometimes by the seat of our pants - sometimes with unexpected gifts coming in to make up shortfall. I don't go with the whole honour-God-and-he'll-give-you-a-Porsche thing. But that's a whole other thread grin

I also think 'tithe' doesn't simply mean '10% to your church'. I think it means what you can manage (cf the widow's offering) and think that giving some to church and some to chosen charities is important as well. I also want to know that the church itself is tithing and giving to charity. If it is only worried about money for its' roof, for eg, that is not to me an authentic use of 'tithe.'

DutchOma Mon 13-Aug-12 21:01:47

You say it so much better than I could MHD. It is entirely our experience. We have never been short of anything we really needed.
And once when we were really short of money, we found £50 in an envelope on the doormat. Never knew who sent it, so it came straight from God.
Tithing releases blessing.

ClaireRacing Mon 13-Aug-12 21:09:01

MHD,

Our church passes on 10% of income to mission partners. When we did a reordering, the 10% paid for 3 similar projects in our partner diocese in Tanzania.

It is very important for the church to tithe as well as receive tithes.

Hopeforever Mon 13-Aug-12 21:39:18

We too tithe as a church, to local and overseas.

Members of the church tythe, we do no fundraising for everyday costs, only for the building when we get the villagers involved if they want to preserve the village church.

Like MHD, we find that having given a minimum of 10% we always have the money we need. We have also been amazingly blessed over the years, in terms of money and peoples time and help.

I see all money that we 'earn' as belonging to God, he asks for us to give 10% back then we can do what we like with the rest. Seems a very good deal to us!

stressedHEmum Tue 14-Aug-12 10:43:06

In my branch of the church, as I say, we don't practise tithing even at corporate level. Our Church "Head Office", sets an amount for each individual church to pay to the Missions and Ministries fund based on income. That money goes towards paying for stipends etc. Obviously, some churches then pay far more than others. We also pay presbytery dues and the like.

The rest of the money coming into a church is used for the upkeep and running of the church buildings and groups. Charitable donations in our church come from donating special offerings taken during certain services and are separate from the normal church givings.

ClaireRacing Tue 14-Aug-12 13:31:52

The Church of England operates the same way through a system called Parish Share. Parishes pay their share dependent on their usual Sunday attendance, so bigger churches pay more than smaller one. This money goes towards running the diocese, paying clergy (vicar and curate) and vicarage costs.

The money, whether it goes to Parish Share or stays within the control of the church treasurer, it all has to come from parisioner giving.

Ragwort Tue 14-Aug-12 13:40:34

Our church doesn't having a tithing system but I give as I can through the 'envelope scheme'. Also give time and energy.

I give because I am well aware that the church has a lot of overheads and it is my Christian 'duty' to support it. Also, it is something I do every week (like a hobby I suppose grin) so of course I am happy to contribute to the running costs.

We also have separate, regular appeals for different charities which I like to support.

I used to live in a small village which had a beautiful old church but very few church attenders (I went to a different church) - the vicar wrote an excellent letter once saying that they wanted to keep the church going (esp. for christenings/weddings & funerals - better worded than that of course) but it cost something like £26 per member of the parish p.a, I thought it was so well put and immediately contributed my £26 - I wonder how many other people did? Just remembered I still contribute to that church by standing order even though we moved 4 years ago grin.

StillRabbit Wed 15-Aug-12 15:29:29

Our church doesn't tithe. As I am a non-taxpayer it is my husband who officially makes the our donations using the gift aid envelope system so the church can get an extra 22%. Our donation varies week to week, sometimes just a couple of pounds, occasionally £5 or £10. I also "give" non financially, I take and type up minutes for the priest, I am on the cleaning rota and I organise fund raising events for the parish. I don't feel morally obliged to give a certain percentage of our family income and the Roman Catholic church never seems to mention a suggested amount either.

Earlybird Thu 16-Aug-12 03:00:02

My sister and her dh have always given/tithed 10% of their household income. It was difficult for them to manage when they were young and newly married, but they sacrificed other things in order to reach the goal. Now that they are professionally successful, they continue to tithe 10% of their income which amounts to a significant sum. She also was very conscientious about giving the church 10% of her inheritance from our grandparents.

I have not been nearly so disciplined or generous. I give regularly, but have never given enough that it required me to scrimp/do without in other areas of our lives.

The subject of tithing 10% has always made me feel guilty -as if it is something I am supposed to do, but don't. Even when I give generously, I always have an uneasy feeling that it is not enough, and more a gesture (i.e., giving money that I won't 'miss') than a true commitment.

DutchOma Thu 16-Aug-12 07:29:14

Do the sums Earlybird, try to give 10% for a set period of time and see how it feels.
We had a sermon about tithing many years ago when the minister promised to bail anyone out who got into financial difficulties when tithing in the next year. I don't know whether he had to bail anyone out, we started again at that time and certainly did not have to rely on his generosity. Don't forget, 10% is 10% of whatever you have and God is well able to bless you with His generosity.

SlightlySuperiorPeasant Thu 16-Aug-12 11:34:03

DH and I both pay 10% of our incomes. DH pays net, I pay gross. We've both been taught, and believe, that tithing is a commandment and a law of abundance and thanksgiving - "Thankyou for giving me the 90%" - rather than a 'sacrifice' of the 10%. We also believe that the true definition of sacrifice is giving up something good for something better.

In terms of time, talents etc. we have both made commitments to put what we have at God's service. The ways we actually do that include cleaning the meeting house on a rota system, being involved in community service, service to other members of our local church congregation, making time for family prayer and scripture study, giving lifts to church activities and fulfilling designated responsibilities (I run the youth group for girls aged 12-17, DH is responsible for missionary work and for pastoral guidance to leaders of another congregation in the same geographical area). DH has also served as a full time missionary for 2 years.

Hellsbells42 Sun 26-Aug-12 22:31:50

After much ignoring of god on my part I finally decided to start a standing order today. I've been with this church for about a year and an ashamed to say I have given not much in that time. My husband is a non-believer at the moment, and so wouldn't support me giving. Therefore I've done it on the sly, giving from my own acc only. It's not quite 10%, probably about 7%.
I do volunteer my time but not at church.

We struggle as much as anybody else and we are supposed to be saving for a big adventure, but we can never seem to get there due to one big financial need after another. I feel like god is strongly telling me to give this money and then he will sort out the savings.

mercibucket Sun 26-Aug-12 22:40:49

I 100 percent believe the whole 'prosperity bible' teachings some of you allude to, to be evil in origin and involve judicious 'use' of the word of the bible with no interest in the meaning
Please google it - there are a lot of well-written articles, much better than I could manage, that demolish the idea that you give to receive. That is not a Christian approach.
I am of course not saying anyone who believs this is evil. I'm saying we are being tempted towards money and away from christian belief.

Anyway, back to titheing. No, we don't. We give to charities but just give time to church

stressedHEmum Mon 27-Aug-12 10:14:53

Oh, I really, really hate the whole prosperity gospel thing. I too think that it is evil and that the idea doesn't come from God. We don't give to receive, we give to give back to God what is His in the first place, to help the work of the Kingdom and as an expression of faith and gratefulness.

I saw a programme once where the "pastor" was asking for a "seed" of $52. He basically promised that anyone who sent him the money would get a fortune in return and have all their money worries solved by God. it made me so very angry.

HellsBells, my husband is an atheist and gets absolutely raging about me giving money and time to the church (even the £1 coins I give to the kids for SS collection). He refers to it as a tax on us when we are already poor. He doesn't know how much money I give and I am actually ashamed of that because it feels deceitful.

crescentmoon Mon 27-Aug-12 10:22:16

Mosques are run like benevolent Gulf dictatorships, you pay no tithe/tax but you the regular worshipper have little say. The few mosques that have formal collections are much more democratic, and I think there is an argument for the tithe system based on that alone. We rely on philanthropy of wealthy individuals to support upkeep but then these 'uncles' run the mosques the way they like.

Solola Tue 28-Aug-12 19:51:07

Very interested to read this thread on tithing.

Do people who give the 10% believe that this should all be given to the church you are a member of, and any giving to charities on top of that?

We have always given approx 10% of our income as a 'tithe' but split it between the church we are members of and to other charities too.

To be honest I get much more excited about giving to overseas charities as I know from experience our small gift can go so much further and make more of a difference overseas.

DutchOma Tue 28-Aug-12 20:15:54

Part of the money the members of the church give is given to both inland and overseas ministries. Not sure quite how big a percentage, it is worked out by the Baptist Union. It is up to every member how much to give, we have found it a blessing to give 10%, not as a way of 'getting blessings back'; I don't know how it works, but it certainly works for us: we have never been short of anything we really needed and still been able to support people on top of the tithe. God is very good and we have been blessed.

Bumblequeen Fri 07-Sep-12 11:25:40

I have always given the church I attended 10% of my income and have continued to do so after marrying dh.

It goes without saying that we pay God's tithe and live on the remainder. Our finances have been tight for the last three years due to debt/child care costs etc. We have very little disposable income but we always have enough food to eat (albeit cheap food), clothes to wear.

I do not see the 10% as being mine and I have set up a S/O each month.

I know people who pay God's tithe as and when it suits them. I.e. If they have an occasion - holiday/child's birthday party they will refrain for some months.

SlightlySuperiorPeasant Sun 09-Sep-12 22:32:48

Solola DH and I both see charitable giving as something you do on top of the 10% because that 10% doesn't really belong to us so it would be being generous with someone else's money IYSWIM. The church uses that 10% for all sorts of things, including a very well oiled humanitarian aid programme, but it's good to give to causes you support on top of that if you can afford to.

OsmiumPhazer Sun 16-Sep-12 13:43:14

I tithe at my CofE church £20 monthly DD as well as £5 each time I visit with my son. I want to keep my church going and this is the amount I thought reasonable and affordable to my family and I right no

Vespula Mon 01-Oct-12 17:44:41

My elderly mother just had a letter like this, quoting some stuff from the bible then "suggesting" she should give them 5% of her income. I was so disgusted at this appalling attempt to fleece old ladies by trying to induce some kind of moralistic guilt that I tore it up, but it seems they are following up by sending someone round to talk to her and presumably make sure she signs on the dotted line. This, in my view, puts the church on the same footing - or worse - as bankers mis-selling financial products. At least bankers aren't implying that their clients will be eternally judged if they fail to comply!

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