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Do you give regularly to your church?

(58 Posts)
AtYourCervix Sun 17-Jul-11 18:34:46

Financial I mean.

Could I be ever so nosey and ask how much a month?

I've never done a regular direct debit giving thing - more sporadic if I have extrra and I'm wondering how much is acceptable. (by no means well off but could find a bit extra iyswim).

mufti Sun 17-Jul-11 18:41:57

i give a tenth of my income as that is bible based, tithing
and a little extra on top as an offering

PandaG Sun 17-Jul-11 18:44:48

similar to Mufti - 10% ish of household income, monthly by DD, plus extra to specific church projects as and when, for example at the moment our church has bought buildings, so we are committed to giving an extra x per month to the building fund.

cat64 Sun 17-Jul-11 18:57:16

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glitterkitty Sun 17-Jul-11 19:02:20

£20 a month. Plus DS puts a few random coins in the plate (£3ish) each week.

Agree regular payments is the way to go, that way the church can plan ahead.

Bunbaker Sun 17-Jul-11 19:02:49

I have a direct debit for £10 a month. I can't afford any more than that.

AtYourCervix Sun 17-Jul-11 19:03:43

thanks cat. i knew about the tithing 10% but that might be pushing it a bit and thought it might look stingy to give less. your last paragraph sums it up though..

PandaG Sun 17-Jul-11 19:08:34

agree 10% seems a lot, but we have got used to that now - took a long time ot work up to it! Much better to give a little, but do it regularly so the church can plan, as cat says. Whatever you give won't look stingy, don't worry about that!

onepieceofcremeegg Sun 17-Jul-11 19:13:55

We are Christians and give a regular amount to the church via direct debit.
We also sponsor 2 children via a Christian charity. And we give quite generously for ad hoc things during the year (e.g. cheque during Christian Aid week, several friends have been sponsored by us for church/Christian things)
The money we give monthly to the church is less than 10%, for me it is giving generously rather than a strict tithe that is the underlying message. If we add the other money we give I estimate it is around 10% in total of our income.

PositiveAttitude Sun 17-Jul-11 19:20:23

You dont need to worry about what other people think is stingy or not. Nobody, other than the person who reconciles the church bank statements will be aware of who gives how much. Well, that's how it is in our church, anyway.

As the person who does this in our church I am really not bothered about who gives what. SOme people give a lot, some give less, but it is not up to me to question what they do with their money and I don't know what they are giving to as well as the church.

stressedHEmum Sun 17-Jul-11 19:38:04

50pounds a month and the kids put a pound each in every week. It's all I can afford (more than actually) but giving is supposed to be sacrificial so it's good to feel the pinch. I also give in a lot of different ways at other times. I bake for the monthly teas and any other events, I am organiser for CA and give separately at those services as well as putting in my envelope, make regular donations to the GB and BB and give a reasonable sum to the Christmas Fayre etc. Probably amounts to about 1500 pounds in total a year so almost 10% of OHs salary, but our church doesn't tithe. We believe that your giving is between you and God, no-one else matters.

The main thing is not the amount but a regular, stable amount that the church can use to plan. I am involved in our church's finance committee and we encourage all our members to commit to giving a regular amount, even if it's only a pound a week because we need a regular, dependable income. Just as a matter of interest, we worked it out that, in our church, for us to break even we would need every member of the role to give 6.50 a week, every week. Obviously, this figure has never been mentioned to the congregation and some people give more than this, some give less. But our local Presbytery moderator has been heard man times singing the "fish supper/woman's magazine" theme. If you can spend a fiver a week on a mag/chippie tea/whatever then you should value your church and minister to the same degree. It's not a view that is endorsed by others within the church, though.

Bunbaker Sun 17-Jul-11 19:40:53

I also donate for the Church and summer fairs and deliver and collect the Christian aid envelopes in my village. Does that count as well?

JumpJockey Sun 17-Jul-11 19:45:51

We give monthly by standing order, plus DD1 gets a few coins to put into the collecting plate. The weekly newsletter gives details of the various collections and about 1/2 comes by standing order now, they find it so helpful knowing what will be coming in and it's more efficient for them. We also have a Caford box on the mantelpiece, and if an emergency appeal comes round (EG the current African crisis) we'll try to give to that as well.

Though I must admit we generally walk past the guys on the door when it's Second collection for the apostleship of the sea, or something similar blush

stressedHEmum Sun 17-Jul-11 19:54:16

RE things like Christmas Fayres and the like, money spent at them goes directly to the church, so if you spend 20quid, the church gets 20quid, plus any money they make from things that you have donated.

Money given in CA envelopes or for special collections like that doesn't go to the church so it's a separate issue. In our church there are a few services a year when we donate all the money in the plate, except the stuff in envelopes, to CA. So money given during those services might not go to the church either.

onepieceofcremeegg Sun 17-Jul-11 21:09:31

Bunbaker it all counts imo. Some people will be very definite and say it should be 10% and to the church.

I tend to think that there's not much (or anything) about tithing in the New Testament, so to give generously is the important thing imo.

GnomeoNameo Mon 18-Jul-11 11:41:35

We give £22 per week by direct debit, gift-aided, and extra for any events held - fetes, coffee mornings, social events, etc. - or any special fundraising efforts or church building projects.

If everyone gave £6.50 per week, the Church would have no financial headache.

It is important to remember to review giving, esp. if your income goes up or if a separate direct debit (as for a building project) comes to an end.

stressedHEmum Mon 18-Jul-11 12:23:34

That's the thing, Gnomeo. We are not allowed to suggest an amount for giving, even though our wee church has a monthly deficit of over a thousand pounds a month and is literally haemorrhaging money and we know that average givings of 6:50 a week are all that's needed to sort it out.

Our presbytery has to cut something like 14 ministries in the next couple of years because the CoS as a whole is running out of money. Everyone knows this but we still aren't allowed to ask for more money. We can talk about reviewing giving (which should be done regularly), we can say that we are short of cash, we can even run givings campaigns. But we can't actually say "Please give a bit more or the church will close/we'll lose the minister/be linked with somewhere else. It is so frustrating.

cat64 Mon 18-Jul-11 12:59:12

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stressedHEmum Mon 18-Jul-11 14:20:32

It's CoS policy (quite firm) not to ask for or mention amounts. When the finance committee brought this up a a Board and Session meeting in our church recently, The place descended into chaos and fighting shock because other members of the session felt that it was inappropriate for people to know any details of the financial circumstances of the church. We had very carefully and sensitively prepared a letter to go out to everyone on the role, not mentioning actual figures but explaining that there was a serious deficit and asking people to prayerfully review their giving. The opposition was so strong and, quite frankly, nasty and vitriolic that the chairman of the finance committee resigned from the whole church, 3 other elders left, the Clerk to the board resigned and the minister was signed off sick with stress. A very Christian place, my church.

Personally, I think that things should be laid on the line to congregations. Ours needs 6.50, others will need more or less, but if people don't know that, nothing will change. Sadly, I am in the very small minority on our Kirk Session, the rest of them seem to think that they are Secret Squirrel and that no-one else should know anything. They come out with all this tripe about gossip seeping out into the community and lessening the church's standing/rep in the community. To be frank, our church has such a poor rep within the Presbytery, anyway, because of various difficult situations, and is such an irrelevance within the community because they won't engage in any real outreach, that their fears are a load of nonsense. Some people would apparently see the church bankrupted than let any info slip out. That is even more frustrating than the COS belief that we shouldn't ask for specific sums.

cat64 Mon 18-Jul-11 14:32:11

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stressedHEmum Mon 18-Jul-11 15:08:58

Would be VERY frowned upon and I would probably end up pretty (even more) isolated, to be honest. I have mentioned the figures involved to some close friends within the congregation, but we all give more than the 6.50 anyway and are all giving as much as, if not more than, we can afford. If anyone asks me directly, I usually avoid mentioning actual amounts (don't want to put a price tag on church because all you get is mutterings about only rich people being able to afford to come) but I do make it clear that people should review their givings on a regular basis and that, if we don't start bringing in more money, the future is not looking too bright.

The problem with my particular church is that it has been run by the same people FOR EVER. It's a relatively new church (less than 40 years old) and a lot of the people on the session were there when they were setting the church up: raising funds, planning the place, building it.... They think that the church is THEIRS, the money is THEIRS etc, etc. and no-one else is allowed any input. The business with the finance committee, which is a very new thing (9 months or so), is that they see it as a threat to their control and imaginary power, so they are fundamentally opposed to anything that we try to do. They also don't want the congregation knowing anything that happens, perhaps because it would show them up for what they really are as opposed to what they pretend to be. This is the whole problem in the Presbyterian church, elders are ordained for life and some of them get carried away with their own supposed status and fictitious power. They forget that we have a privilege of service to God, Christ and our congregation not ourselves.

cat64 Mon 18-Jul-11 19:06:38

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stressedHEmum Mon 18-Jul-11 20:22:17

Yes, Cat, it's very sad, actually. We have lost 2 ministers in the last 3 years because of it and we are currently not allowed to call another one. I have watched the Sunday School dwindle from abut 40 kids to just my 3 younger ones and a couple of their friends, and the congregation sink to under 40 on an average week. All because of the sort of short term thinking that grips the Session.

PandaG Tue 19-Jul-11 06:38:16

that is so completely different to my church (joint cofE/Baptist). At the begining of each financial year it is explained from the front what the budget is, and what the projected income is, so as a body the church knows what the financial state is. We are a big church, and do a lot of outreach stuff, and the last couple of years it has been very tight, and budgets (and some staff) have been cut. HOwever, knowing the financial state helps the congregation to see the need for regular, committed giving.

stressedHEmum Tue 19-Jul-11 08:06:17

Panda, I think that actually might cause a riot in my church. There was open rebellion in the Session when the minister held an after service meeting with the congregation to try and talk about the future, finance etc. Certain members set themselves so firmly against it that their behaviour actually led to her having a nervous breakdown and retiring from the ministry after being with us for less than 6 months. They had already forced her to abandon any plans she had for introducing modern worship/youth church/new music/outreach and community social events and a whole host of other stuff. Mentioning finance to the congregation was the last straw for them and they treated her so badly and with so much malice that the poor woman will probably never be the same again. I am actually ashamed to be associated with them and can only think that God has given me the challenge of rising above these people.

The finance committee is now dissolved because those of us who were left after people resigned couldn't face subjecting ourselves to the level of abuse that was being meted out any longer and all the plans that we had have been swept away. SO, in reality, our church is actually acting illegally in the handling of it's finances under the OSCR rules, but there is no explaining this to some people because "we've never done it that way, before." A core group of Elders just want to keep total control of everything and maintain the absolute status quo, even though it is obviously not working. We haven't even bought any new Sunday School stuff for about 10 years and my 14 year old is doing the same worksheets now that he has been doing since he was about 8. There is no concept of a modern Sunday School or a Youth Church and then they wonder why kids don't come.

I think that your church has the right of it, Panda, congregations need to know the financial circumstances of their churches. Then they can see the need for regular giving and plan accordingly. Financially, the most important thing for any church is to have a regular, dependable income so that budgets can be drawn up, commitments kept and plans made. Without that, churches can't really function properly and members need to know that.

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