Monday Morning Insights

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    Does this make you uncomfortable?

    Does this make you uncomfortable?

    OK... a couple of statements I want to make about this video before you watch it.  First of all, ignore the comments popped in momentarily by Ed Young, Jr.'s critics.  I don't think Ed is the anti-christ; nor do I think he's heretical.  Second of all, I try to put myself in this room while this is happening (or imagine it happening at my church.)

    Those disclaimers aside... watch this video and let me know what you think.

    I'll put it out there... this made me very unconfortable.  Should it?

    I'm not uncomfortable because I'm not a tither.  (I am).

    The security of me putting my banking information in an offering plate makes me uncomfortable.

    The waving the cards in the air makes me uncomfortable.

    The 'just do it' mentality makes me uncomfortable.

    Is that ok?  Should I be uncomfortable?

    I mean... there ARE things I should be uncomfortable about.  But I'm not sure whether I give my church my bank routing information is one of them.

    What do you think?

    Is this an approach that you would/could take in your own church?

    Is this just a new and great way to introduce people to the practice of tithing?

    I'd love to hear your thoughts.  


    PS -- for the record, I think an automatic withdrawl is fine; although it puts my commitment on auto-pilot.  It is definitely a convenience.  So is online giving.  






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    1. Peter on Wed, November 03, 2010

      Not sure what I think of it overall, but there is something to be said for encouraging people to tithe through some sort of automated method (online giving, schedules, whatever). If people are in the habit of just having their tithe come out, they’ll likely take that into account more easily than if they have to remember to write a check periodically. More on-topic, just reminding people that they can do this doesn’t really get results. Most people won’t take that, go home, and then actually set up that automated giving. To that end, I can see why this might be brought up.  Of course, I can understand the discomfort as well.

      As for the security of the information, with Fellowship, I’m not as concerned. I’m relatively confident they would have all sorts of safeguards in place just because of their size and their place in the spotlight. I’d be more concerned with your typical US Church - those in the 200ish attendance range. Most of those churches wouldn’t likely have thought through all of the ramifications of proper handling of that information. And that is most likely just due to a lack of manpower.

      That being said, I’d be more likely to set up something with my bank. More of the $$ goes to the church and it’s free w/ my account.

    2. Jeremy McKinzey on Wed, November 03, 2010

      I agree with Ed.  Many people in our churches do not tithe and they really expect God to bless them.  It is a command of God to tithe and to give.  The blessings like he said could or could not be money, but there will be blessings for obeying the command of God.

    3. Josh Hatcher on Wed, November 03, 2010

      So is Ed Young going to pay for all of the bounced check fees people incur using the automatic withdrawal?
      Because I GUARANTEE you there will be a lot…

      The way he “pressures” them all to fill out that card…. he should be taking some responsibility.

      I’m actually a FAN of Ed Young. but I don’t particularly like this.

      I also despised Jerry fallwell’s “everybody take out a dollar”
      when I was at liberty.

      They raised 30 thousand dollars in one offering at chapel service… but it just felt kind of cheap and manipulative.

    4. Scott on Wed, November 03, 2010

      I’m not a fan of the automatic tithing information. Sure, your tithe is automatically given to the church. But is that truly conscious giving to God? Every time I write a check, I’m making a choice to be obedient and give. If it just automatically goes to the church, I’m fulfilling an obligation and don’t need to think about it anymore. Is giving without really thinking about it truly what God asks. Isn’t this rote giving part of what God called out against the Israelites? Is it truly about the tithe or the GIVING of the tithe? I have money automatically go to my savings account - and I truly never think about it, ever. I’m not sure I would want to feel the same way about giving to my church/my God. Just my two cents.

    5. Peter Hamm on Wed, November 03, 2010

      Every man should give cheerfully what God has put in his heart to give. I’m uncomfortable with this being the way to encourage people to do this.

      I personally believe the tithe is an Old Testament concept that is not a New Testament command. That said, I think that 10% is a GREAT starting point for giving. I recommend people use it that way, and I recommend that all believers at least tithe, not to get a blessing from God, but because of the blessing God has given them.

      that said, this video was obviously edited and placed to try and be critical of Ed, so I can’t really trust the content, and can’t be sure of the motives.

      Ed is right on about much of what he says, just don’t know that I would do it this way…

    6. Leonard on Wed, November 03, 2010

      We hold people upside down at the door and shake them to make sure we got it all.  It is quite effective.

      I like automated giving, it has helped a ton of people get disciplined to become givers.  I know of several in our church that never gave consistently until automated giving.

      I didn’t like this approach…  not sure if I agree with Ed on the blessing part either.  The blessing in Malachi is a corporate blessing on the nation as God’s people, it was not a promise to every individual that they would get a bigger barn filled if they tithed. 

      So my lack of enthusiasm for this is stylistic and content.

      That said, I think it is impossible to become mature in Christ without a faithful and regular and biblical plan to give.

    7. Jesse Phillips on Wed, November 03, 2010

      Todd, again, thanks for bringing up these discussions.  You’re a wise man.  I love your heart!  I love your openness.

      I personally don’t like this.  I’m sure you’ll disagree but I think the modern concept of “tithing” to a church & a staff is unbiblical.  The tithe is an Old Testament concept to keep the temple & sacrifices going.  We’re under a new covenant. We are all priests now.  No more sacrifices or temple (our body is the temple).  The New Testament concept is giving 100% - but not to a church, to our neighbor & those in need in sacrificial love.  This is what the early church did & they were a lot more like Jesus than us. Tithing is actually a relatively new concept, only like 500 years old, or so.

      Churches & staff around the world are woefully wasting God’s money.  The way we do church costs soooooo much money & is not producing disciples who look much like Jesus.  So I don’t like this.  I think we’d be better off to use our tithes (& more) to love our neighbors, help the poor, take care of orphans and widows, this is a better testimony than a big building, lights, bands & programs.

    8. Leonard on Wed, November 03, 2010

      Jesse, I agree it is 100% and this was also true in the OT.  With this as a standard, it is a safe thing to say that Christians waste tons more money that churches do. 

      We say it all belongs to God but we spend it all on ourselves… or 97.5% to be exact. 

      It we really believed it all belonged to God, wouldn’t we give a not more away, live on much less, drive more reasonable cars in keeping with our ability to afford them, live in homes that were more in keeping with our ability to afford them… 

      Besides I want people to tithe so I can get rich…  smile

    9. Dave on Wed, November 03, 2010

      I think the general concept is fine to encourage tithing and auto withdraw (I do both too). The execution, imo, is manipulative and over-reaching.

      “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver “(2 Cor 9:7).

    10. Todd Rhoades on Wed, November 03, 2010

      “The way we do church costs soooooo much money & is not producing disciples who look much like Jesus.”

      Jesse… you’re on a role today!  Love it.

    11. Peter Hamm on Wed, November 03, 2010

      �The way we do church costs soooooo much money & is not producing disciples who look much like Jesus.�

      I don’t believe, however, that one has a causal relationship with the other. We are producing disciples who look like Jesus here.

    12. michael on Wed, November 03, 2010

      teaching people to give regularly, generously, proportionally, as they have purposed in their heart and pay attention to God is good and Biblical.  if you’re a church leader, teaching people to take advantage of modern tools out of convenience or obedience is good and strategic.

      but there’s something a little off here and it appears to be crossing a line.  what does this look like to people who are far from Christ?

    13. Dale Schaeffer on Wed, November 03, 2010

      I’m with Michael on this one. Church leaders should teach people to honor God with their finances, and to invest in things that have eternal impact.

      That said this video is very uncomfortable to me.  It seems to ignore those who are not Christians in the room.

      Todd - anytime you use a check you’re giving that party your account and routing information…so I have a pretty high level of comfort with sharing this information with my church.

      That said, I prefer setting up recurring contributions on my end rather than putting it in the church’s hands.  You can automate via other means that do not require the church to initiate the transaction like an ACH does.

      Thought provoking post…thanks!

    14. Todd Rhoades on Wed, November 03, 2010

      Dale… I agree… you do give routing information when you give via a check.

      The problem I would have is putting a signed automatic withdrawl slip with my signature on it in the offering plate.

      Again… just the whole thing seems a little too high pressure to me. 

      And I would feel the same (I think) if the same method were used for evangelism, baptism, or anything else for that matter.


    15. JohnnyE! on Wed, November 03, 2010

      You know I think what makes me uncomfortable, having worked at Fellowship Church before, is that people are becoming lazy.  They rely on automatic withdraws rather than taking the time to prayerfully write out the first ten check every time their paycheck comes.  If it is automatic, how can we be prayerful and cheerful to what God has done for us, when we won’t even think about or see it until or statement comes.

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