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    The Average Church Goer GIves at 2.56%

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    The Average Church Goer GIves at 2.56%

    2.56%.  Seriously.  The new study just released said that if people would only give 10%, there would be an extra $161 BILLION dollars to work with...

    The report, published by Illinois-based research firm empty tomb, inc., also found that congregations continue to keep more money for their own needs instead of "benevolences" beyond the four walls of a church.

    The good news.  The general population gives just 1.8%, on average, to any kind of charity.

    said churches have become complacent -- "lukewarm" is the term the Bible uses -- and are no longer challenging themselves to do extraordinary things. There is a "lack of vision" and churchgoers have a hard time seeing how their contribution to missions can affect the world or its problems.

    "One of the changes that seems to have happened to the church in the United States is that it has moved away from vision," she said. "It's not challenging itself to be great. Don't go to safety, go for faithfulness."

    Example A: the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation's largest Protestant body, which has set a goal of recruiting 2,800 missionaries to contact all "unreached" people groups, but has not laid out a financial roadmap, or price tag, for how to get there, she said.

    One solution the report offers is through the idea of "wholesale billionaires" -- individuals with an ability to donate large sums of money -- and "retail billionaires" -- individuals whose small contributions, when combined with others, can add up for big impact.

    The report suggests that if wholesale billionaires make a pledge to match the total amount given by retail billionaires, congregations will see the impact of their individual contributions, and be more inspired to give.

    (OK, they lost me there... I understand, but that's kind of a weird way to go with the research).

    What do you think?  Have you done the research?  What does YOUR church give, on average?




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    1. Pastor Matt on Mon, October 12, 2009

      There are a few things we need to clear up here.  First, the Pastor is NOT the modern levite - do be objective when you look at it as this is one of the ways in which pastors justify asking for 10% and the whole 10% to be given to the local church.  It is absolutely not the case any more.

      Second, we believe in the priesthood of all believers and there is no requirement to give whatever you give to your local church.  If you believe in its vision and values then I’m sure you will give to them, but do not feel condemned because you feel called to give elsewhere instead.

      Third, Paul’s example in life was to support his ministry with secular work - it is a good example and placed him squarely in the same arena as the people he was ministering to: wanting to minister more yet being constrained by the often mundane tasks he had to do to stay alive.

      Shane, I respect you and your heart, and I have nothing against paying people for the service they provide, a worker is worth their wages of course.  I think you represent the exception to what I’m talking about - my argument is more with the big churches that abuse their position to pressure attendees & members into stumping up more cash so the pastor can grow his kingdom and feel successful.  You certainly represent the other side of the coin - for you I’d say that the writing is on the wall.  If you’re not being paid at all for the work you’re doing for the kingdom I have to ask just what are you doing preaching 4 times a week to the same people if they can’t afford someone to do that?  If we’re talking about rank and file Christians then you’re being taken for a ride, if you’re talking about a ministry then you need to train others up to take on some of what you’re doing.  I don’t know enough of your situation to speak into it more than that, but it sounds like you’re on your own there in terms of local support.  Is God actually providing for you to do this?  If not then you’d better think of pulling the plug on something somewhere, or delegating parts of what you do before you burn out.  I appreciate you’d like to fast more but you need to get your people to fast more, not just find opportunities to do it yourself.  So far as praying continually goes I wonder if you have come across Brother Lawrence (practising the presence of God) who prayed continually whilst doing mundane tasks and chores and connected with God in a way I dream of emulating.

      Anyway, my point is that Kingdom of God transcends finances - if you want to see a difference then get your people to fast and pray regularly.  Sure, money may help, but money doesn’t come close to what the Spirit of God can do in a community.

    2. Leonard on Mon, October 12, 2009

      Matt, forgive me but I still do not see what you are doing that is so different.  I do hear a lot of criticism of what is, but what are you doing that is so different from everyone else?

    3. Shane Allen on Mon, October 12, 2009

      Thanks Pastor Matt.  I do get paid a small amount but not even close to meeting all our needs.  I feel the Lord is providing in that I do have extra work that I can take on in lawns etc. to get paid and I believe that God has provided those.  I do feel close to the burnout point.  Grays hairs have increased lately and am seriously considering closing one of the evening services to give me a break.  I battle between the Sunday night (which seems the hardest for me) or the Wednesday night.  I like that the people have that midweek boost but then Sunday is the Lords day.  Been at the Church 2 1/2 years and only had 12 members when I took the position.  IT was a turnaround Church for sure.  So much more too say but will have to post later.  Please keep me in all of ya’lls prayers.  Couldn’t afford to go on vacation this year… I just want one week to go away and relax… don’t even care if it is a “vacation” spot… just want to relax the brain and revive.  Anyway… hope that doesn’t sound like a complaint.  God has been abundant in his blessings toward my family.  We have a great Church it is just that everyone is poor, out of work, almost homeless and we are feeling the crunch with them.  Will post again later.

    4. Peter Hamm on Mon, October 12, 2009

      pastor Matt says [Paul�s example in life was to support his ministry with secular work - it is a good example and placed him squarely in the same arena as the people he was ministering to: wanting to minister more yet being constrained by the often mundane tasks he had to do to stay alive.] And yet, Peter seemed to be a full-time ministry worker… and not only did Paul not condemn that, he ENDORSED it… So Paul’s example is obviously not prescriptive…

      I think you’re in a blessed and unusual position, Matt, and I think you should be slower to throw stones at the pastors of “mega-churches”. The ones I’ve been acquainted with are totally above-board and working to build God’s kingdom, not theirs…

    5. Steve Long on Mon, October 12, 2009

      No one has shown me where in the New Covenant that we are asked, commanded. or even encouraged to tithe or give 10 %. Romans 12, ‘give liberally’ (if you are a giver), I Cor. 9:7 do not give grudginly or under compulsion (yeah, we are instructed NOT to give if we have a bad attitude about it. Never heard anyone preach on this), but instead give purposefully and cheerfully.
      My version of the New Testament may have omitted the commands to tithe so I think that this is my best opportunity to be set straight on this matter by someone skilled in rightly dividing God’s express intention about how and what we give. I wonder why preachers/Ministers/Pastors are so brave to teach 10 percent as God’s God standard when He was MUTE on the subject in the New Testament. Whenever He did speak through the N.T. writers he ALWAYS aimed at the heart and not the percentage. Only clergy folks like this 10% number because then no faith is required for them to receive their daily bread. (Go Franklin Graham!)

    6. Roger on Mon, October 12, 2009

      Matthew 23:23 Jesus commended the Pharisees for tithing the smallest things saying they should do that and more.

    7. Roger on Mon, October 12, 2009

      Are we throwing out the Old Testament?  Why carry it around if it has no relevance?  It was the only Bible Paul had, the only one Jesus could refer to.  Maybe we shouldn’t just ignore it.

    8. Steve Long on Mon, October 12, 2009

      I may be mistaken but after Jesus rose from the dead He releived us of the obligations of the Law otherwise there would be no New Testament (Covenant). This was confirmed later in Acts 15 when the issue of what the church was to do with Old Testament observances was thoroughly discussed by the brothers in Jerusalem. Their subsequent finding (in agreement with the Holy Spirit of God makes no mention of the tithe. They did specify these thing though: “28It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: 29You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell.” These were Jewish brethern and the interesting thing is that they made no mention of the issue at hand, circumcision but they did mention meat from strangled animals (you may have eaten chicken that had its neck wrung) and eating food sacrificed to idols which was not an Old Testament issue. Perhaps we should keep the Sabbath Holy too. See, to me the definition of ‘follower of Jesus’ starts to become murky when we start making extrapolations from the Old Testament that God did not make…even obliquely. The case cannot be made that God wants followers of Jesus to tithe. It is only a conclusion that extrapolators of O.T. writings arrive at without the support of Jesus or the writers of the New Testament. Jesus commanded us to pray, ‘give’ (not tithe) tell others the good news, baptise others, serve one another, share communion in His name, and obey HIS (not Moses’s) commands. (He never commanded tithing). Anyone who teaches tithing does so by their own counsel and not God’s.

    9. Shane Allen on Tue, October 13, 2009

      Actually didn’t Jesus strengthen some of the OT laws.  In OT you had to kill in Jesus you just have to hate and you are a murderer.  In OT you had to committ Adultery the very act in Jesus you just look and you sinned.  HMMM.  Has every one totally ignored those that have already mentioned that JESUS… YES JESUS IN THE NEW COVENANT TOLD THE PHARISEES THAT THEY TIITHE OF MINT AND CUMMIN AND SO THEY SHOULD.  He didnt say they no longer had to do this.  Can someone rightly divide what Jesus meant.  I think if we are good followers we will give more than 10%.  All you anti 10%ers.  My question to all of you is do you give 10% or more or do you give less or do you give at all.  I suspect you give less.  Most people that argue against a certain thing in the NT is because they don’t do it and don’t want to do it.  I have paid tithes plus offering and I support missions above that because sinners are not going to support the work of God but Christians.  I am a firm beleiver in tithes and I think that every Christian pays at least tithes if not more.  If you say that you don’t pay tithes then I still say that all “Christians” at least pay tithes.  Check your self to see if you be in the faith or not.  Are you really trusting Christ.  If so I would think you would want to support that work liberally.  Call me a legalist if you wish.  I am one happy legalist that loves Christ and the change he made in my life and I want to support the work that is being done in the local church and my all those that call upon his name.  I am not saved becuase of my works but I do good works and pay tithes becuase I am saved.

    10. Steve Long on Tue, October 13, 2009

      You can construct the argument however you wish i.e that Jesus ‘strengthened the law’ where I would say he simply illustrated the futility of the law to get at core issues that human beings had. Roger mentions that Jesus commends the Pharisees for their observance of the tithe and that is not exactly what happens in that passage. Matt 23:23, “” Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.” He uses the tithe as an accusation that they have majored in the minors and minored in the majors. Notice “neglected the weightier provisions of the law.” Jesus aimed his comments at a group that like Himself lived under the shadow of the law. That is why he was able to say that he came to fulfill the law, not abolish it. It wouldn’t do for the Son of God to violate the very laws that he was born under. Followers of Jesus are not born under the Law that Jesus was born under. We are under grace. The Apostle Paul is even more blunt in His assessment of those who try to drag the law into Christ Following when he says,
      (Galatians 3) “1You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? 3Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?”
      I will concede this Shane. Your tithe is a blessed tenth because it is clear that you purpose it to be so. The attitude of the heart, not the percentage, makes it holy. I return to my original premise though that a case cannot be made in the New Testament that followers of Jesus should tithe. (Do a little digging around and you might find that there were three tithes in the Old Testament totalling about 23.1/3 %.) You don’t hear this taught from the pulpit as a standard for giving though because they wouldn’t be aimed at the church economy. One would improve your party life and the other would help the poor and needy. If you are really ambitious about this subject and desire to be an O.T. tither perhaps you should also consider these other tithes as part of your spiritual worship.

    11. Steve Long on Tue, October 13, 2009

      I do have one more question for Shane and Roger. Would this passage from Matthew 6 have any application to the discussion here? ” 1"Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
      2"So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 3But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Perhaps our giving should not be measured by a C.P. A. Maybe God will meet our needs as we meet the needs of others so no accounting on our part needs to be made.

    12. Roger on Tue, October 13, 2009

      I am still having a problem with tossing from the OT anything not mentioned in the NT.  Malachi was a direct word from God that addressed tithe and offerings.  I just know as one has said that the practice has blessed my life.  I have never set it as a goal, but every year it comes out that I have (between tithes and giving) given no less than 25% of my gross income.  It has been as high as 45%.  Maybe it’s not so much the law I am keeping as it is the fact that God is a giver and when we come into relationship with Him we become givers. I don’t just give to the church.  I give to community organizations, give extra large tips when God impresses me to do so, etc.  I would guess most of you arguing against tithing are not so passionate about the new covenant as you are stingy and wanting an excuse not to give.

    13. Pastor Matt on Tue, October 13, 2009

      Roger said>  I would guess most of you arguing against tithing are not so passionate about the new covenant as you are stingy and wanting an excuse not to give.

      I take exception to this and I imagine others do too.  I also give generously (I gave 20%+ for a few years at one point despite my incredibly low income and the huge sacrifices involved for us as a family to do so in order for the church to buy some new buildings - but that’s another story) but I do not “tithe” any longer - now I am not bound in any form if my giving drops below 10% (as it has on occasion) or feel superior when I give 20%+, I no longer give to my church but instead give to practical ministries (the church has an external income stream also).

      It is great that you have the income to be able to give 45%, but in reality (I hope) you’re just giving what God asks you to give to the organisation you feel God leading you to give to.  In other words I hope you’re living by the Spirit of God, and not by the law that Jesus fulfilled in himself.  That’s what I do differently (someone was asking what I do differently), and that’s what I assume other anti-tithers on here are doing too.

      Personally my vision is that the vast majority of the income church that I run would be used for work in the local community, but not salaries.  I really believe that we pastors (well, for my church) should be entirely self-supporting.  Sure we may have to pay someone to do some admin, but so much should be done by the church (the people I mean) rather than by paid employees, and ministerial & pastoral staff (in the vision God has given me) should be self-supporting.  Everyone else in the church is expected to be ministers but be self-supporting, I don’t really see why the pastor should be an exception to that - it means he or she can’t do as much in the church as they have before but in my experience that is a good thing - it means other people have to get involved and step up to the mark.  I doubt it will catch on as a model to too many places though.

    14. Pastor Matt on Tue, October 13, 2009

      In fact, I really have no idea how much we give any more - that’s one thing God taught us - to stop counting how much we give generously and without keeping tabs.

    15. Peter Hamm on Tue, October 13, 2009

      Somebody wrote above (forget who) [The case cannot be made that God wants followers of Jesus to tithe.]

      That statement could be greatly misunderstood. Jesus doesn’t want 10%. He wants everything. But using the “abolition of the tithing rule as an excuse to give less than 10% is, imho, hilariously misguided.

      So… you really believe in grace? Then give more than a tithe, not less!

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