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Church Tithes Continue to Decrease

Church members continue to give less of their income to churches despite increases in membership, according to a study released today by Empty Tomb Inc. "The church as an investment in people's lifestyles is losing market share," said Sylvia Ronsvalle, co-author of the study, "The State of Church Giving Through 2004." Church members gave 2.56 percent of their income in 2004, down from 3.11 percent in 1968, according to the last study on data analyzed by Mrs. Ronsvalle and her husband, John L. Ronsvalle. Both figures are well shy of the biblical 10 percent tithe...

Church giving increased from 1998 to 2001, recovering to early 1970s levels before decreasing to the current average.

The study also found more than 85 percent of contributions to churches funded the general operations of the local congregation, while about 15 percent went toward “benevolence,” which was defined as for “the broader mission of the church, beyond the local congregation.”

“Both of these numbers raise the question, ‘Has the church lost its vision?’ “ Mrs. Ronsvalle said. “Is the church turning into a club, or does the church see itself as salt?”

Brian McAuliffe , chief financial officer and director of operations at Willow Creek Community Church, thinks increasing church attendance may cause per capita giving to decrease.

“A lot of times people who are new to churches don’t understand giving back to God,” he said, whose South Barrington, Ill. “It may take a couple of years before someone feels comfortable and says, ‘Yes, I really believe in this, and I want to give to support that.’ “

Mrs. Ronsvalle said giving began declining in the 1950s when poor Americans became a minority.

“When everyone was poor, you obviously gave. You knew that your kids were one step away from it,” she said. “When we all started getting comfortable in this world ... ministers found that people weren’t so excited hearing about the poor.”

The study estimates the cost of global evangelization—helping to stop global childhood death, providing primary education for all children worldwide and addressing poverty in the U.S.—would cost $15 billion annually, or 28 cents per American Christian per day.

“It’s a question of leadership,” Mrs. Ronsvalle said. “Who can galvanize people to say, ‘We don’t want to live in a world where people are dying?’ “

The Rev. Frank van Dalen, executive director of the General Synod of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church’s foreign missions board, said increasing funding for missions prompts giving to the local church to increase.

“The local budget is never harmed by giving to missions,” he said. “Giving starts to drop when you become focused only on your own needs.”

[from The Washington Times]

FOR DISCUSSION: How is your tithing and giving at your church?  Is it up or down per capita?  Do you even track such things?

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This post has been viewed 3178 times and was added on October 24, 2006 by Todd Rhoades.
Filed under: Church Administration  Finances & Stewardship  
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  There are 92 Comments:
  • Posted by

    Giving, in terms of absolute dollars, is marginally up at our church versus prior year; however, giving per capita, is likely down. I believe that’s due to the majority of our new members being young families on tight budgets. I also believe (though I don’t have absolute proof), that our giving over the past 3-4 months has been lower than prior months because our pastor has included tithing/law references in almost all of his sermons over that same period. We reap what we sow...every time.

  • Posted by

    We don’t preach about money very often. We don’t make it a big deal. We tell first time guests we don’t want their money… every week. And we don’t seem to have a big problem with it. I think when you hammer tithing home all the time, people get tired of hearing it and tune you out. Talk about stewardship, how everything belongs to God, and model it… then see what happens…

    And… {{The study also found more than 85 percent of contributions to churches funded the general operations of the local congregation, while about 15 percent went toward “benevolence,” which was defined as for “the broader mission of the church, beyond the local congregation.” “Both of these numbers raise the question, ‘Has the church lost its vision?’ “ Mrs. Ronsvalle said. “Is the church turning into a club, or does the church see itself as salt?”}}

    Now, in a sense, the general operations of the local congregation ARE benevolence… I think the statement about the chruch losing its vision is spurious at best…

  • Posted by Linda

    Someone pointed out the number of self-storage places popping up everywhere.  I think that’s where people are storing their treasures.

  • If the churches would go back to their roots and focus on personal evangelism they would not have to worry about money. That is how it worked in the book of Acts and the early church before AD325. When are you going realilze that the NT church is NOT called a storehouse. Even the OT temple storehouse only held tithes to feed the 1/24 tribe for one week at a time as it rotated its ministry time.  The tithes went to the Levitical cities whee the other 96-98% of them lived as farmers and herdsmen raising the herds they were given as tithes. Things have changed poeple. The Levites who received 90% of the tithes were NOT the ministers. They were the builders and the servants!  Now all beliefers are priests.  They whole system is diffeent, Heb 7:18. See my web site: Should the Churchc Teach Ttithing.?
    Russell Earl Kelly

  • Posted by Matt

    Well, I feel compelled to post a reply.  I’m not a pastor (nor do I play one on tv).  Before I go on too much more that this is one of my hot button issues.

    If we examine Matthew 28:20 (part of the great commission) tells us to “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” The way I read this, we disobey when we don’t teach people what the Bible says.  So, should there be a sermon every once and a while about tithing?  You bet.  People need to be taught.  Can you do it too much?  Sure, but I have never been at a church where this was a problem.

    What should they be taught?  Well, how about this:

    1) God owns everything
    2) He gives us what we need (and what He wants to on top of that)
    3) Everything we have is God’s
    4) We are simply stewards of God’s “stuff”
    5) He wants us to give back to Him

    How much to give back?  Well, I believe that if people are going to tithe, they should give 10% of their pretax income to the local church (and by the way, why not write the check for an even $5 or $10?  Don’t write a check for $123.45...write the thing for $124...or better yet $125 or $130).  Anything else (the building fund, the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, deacon benevolance fund, special offerings for pastors who preach our revivals...the list goes on and on) are an offering and are above and beyond.  What about those who can’t tithe you ask?  I say anyone can tithe...well, I guess with one exception.  If someone out there gives their kid 1 penny or 1 nickel, you can’t title off of that....Anyone else can and should tithe.  The person with that little unit of money ought to simply give it all.  (As an asside, I plan to teach my kids to tithe and five offerings.  Once they get that down, I plan to give them their allowance in denominations that don’t

    If anyone ever asks my opinion about tithing, I tell them what I think.  The pastor should be very clear when teaching about this issue too.  I believe we rob God if we don’t title (see Malachi 3:8).  I remember very clearly being a kid, being given money for the offering plate, trying to hold some back, and my dad explaining that very simple principle to me.  If you don’t give 10%, don’t call it a tithe.  Don’t take part of your 10% and give it to the building fund...that should be an offering.  Don’t take part of your 10% and give to the guy who preached your revival...that should be an offering (offering = above and beyond the tithe).

    What about the people who say but “God loves a cheerful giver?” I say quit making excuses and start tithing.

    In the end, I see it as a heart issue.  If your heart is right with God, there isn’t a problem.

    Oh, one more thing....I cringe when someone prays over the offering and asks God to bless those who give and those who don’t.  Why should we ask God to bless those who are robbing Him?

  • Posted by

    Interesting that in my denomination, it’s generally the opposite - people numbers are decreasing, yet giving is the same or higher. But the larger point for me, is that it’s down from 3.11 percent to 2.56 percent.  It’s not like it’s down from 15% to 5% or something. A quick calculation leads to the result that for a $40,000 income (not taking into account inflation or anything, just a simple comparison), the decrease amounts to about $5/week. Maybe inflation and the value of $40,000 in 1968 and 2004 affects it more drastically. But it’s still not that big of a change.

    Matt, I need to respond to you - I agree 100% with your 5 points about what to teach. But at the same time, the New Testament church is not under the same law as Israel was, and I don’t believe it should be taught as a law. You say that those who say “God loves a cheerful giver” are making excuses. It’s God who said that, my brother. And immediately preceding that, the phrase God inspired through Paul is “not reluctantly or under compulsion” (2 Cor. 9:7). I would argue that if the 10% (or whatever number it is) is given because of heavy-handedness, guilt, threats,or other type of coersion, God would rather not have it. I agree with you that it’s a heart issue. That’s why we simply cannot make it into a law. Can and should we teach on tithing/giving? Absolutely. Can we make it binding and a compulsion of law? Not if we take into account the New Testament.

    In responding to the questions of the pollsters, as others have said, let’s not forget that the OT tithe was for “those who minister in the temple” (Lev. 7, Num. 18, Neh. 13 and elsewhere). So it was not for work “beyond the congregation”. I think we need to be careful in extrapolating that too far.

    For what it’s worth,

  • Hi Matt-

    Matthew 28:20 doesn’t teach that Christians should tithe. Tithing isn’t taught anywhere in the New Testament.  Jesus said the Pharisee’s were right in tithing, but they were also right in keeping all of the law.  Jesus lived under the law at that time, as well as all his followers.  (The major break came in Acts 15 at the Jerusalem council.) No Christians keep the law today, and we shouldn’t, unless we want to be like the foolish Galatians. 

    And don’t go to Malachi-- it wasn’t written to Christians.  The New Testament sheds new light, which you will never get from the Old Testament, such as teaching that the blessing to Abraham and his seed is fulfilled in Christ (see Gal. 3:29), and us, in Christ.

    And yes, the Lord loves a cheerful giver.  Also, if it’s not given cheerfully, He hates it.  He’d rather not have a gift, than get one under compulsion.  It’s one of the worst things to give a sacrificial gift with the wrong attitude.


    Have you died to the law (the written code) yet?
    Romans 7:4 ... 6
    So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God.
    ,,, But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law, so that we serve in the new way of the spirit and not in the old way of the written code.

    The tithe was part of the Law given to Moses-- see Deut. ch. 26.;=&NavBook=de&NavGo=27&NavCurrentChapter=27

    The foolish Galatians starting living under the law too, and were rebuked for it:


  • Posted by Leonard


    I am not so sure that God would not want you to give if you couldn’t with a good attitude, I rather think he would want you to change your attitude. 

    I do not think Matt was saying that tithing was a part of Matthew 28 but that we are to teach them everything Jesus taught.  I believe that his premise is that Jesus taught tithing. 

    As for giving in the New Testament several words apply, Sacrificial, generously, cheerfully, liberally, sow generously etc.  As for a strict tithe I do not think you can attribute the tithe only to the law since Abraham tithed and Cain gave an offering to God so did able.  It was a first fruits offering. This is one reason why I do not believe that the tithe went away in acts 15.  Which was not about the tithe but about circumcision and not making it difficult for gentiles to be saved?  With Acts 15 came still restrictions of some foods and blood and immorality. 

    Personally I believe 10% is a great starting place.  I am not sure that I am comfortable saying now that you are under grace, give less.  (I am not accusing you of saying this, but many people who wish to do away with the tithe do.) Rather I would say that under grace I am compelled to even higher standards of generosity. Just my 2 cents.

  • Hi Leonard-

    My position is that “stewardship” is superior to a Christian form of Old Testament tithing.  Stewardship (per the parable of the talents) means you devote everything to God, not just 10% of your increase in financial income.

    Leonard said:

    I am not so sure that God would not want you to give if you couldn’t with a good attitude, I rather think he would want you to change your attitude. 

    God does not want sacrifice or tithe with a wrong heart.  Would you like to receive a gift (Christmas or birthday) from anyone begrudingly?  It negates it.  All our sacrifices should be given joyfully.  That is a basic precept.  Giving under compulsion is against a basic precept.  We agree the attitude should be right; get it right before giving to God.  Forget about the self-interest because of worrying about income for the church-- care more about the individual’s heart and that he’s giving for the right reason.

    Leonard said:

    As for a strict tithe I do not think you can attribute the tithe only to the law since Abraham tithed and Cain gave an offering to God so did Able.

    Abraham did not tithe 10% of his increase every year to a priest.  He gave 10% of the spoils of war, one time, to a Priest of another city.  He didn’t keep the other 90% either.  So Abraham is in no way the model of a tithe for the Old Testament Priesthood or New Testament.  As for Cain and Abel, you are confusing sacrifices and freewill offerings for the tithe.  Please don’t
    also confuse “first-fruits” with the tithe, as it also has nothing at all to do with 10%.

    Acts 15 was all about liberation from the law for Christian living.  Tithing was instigated only when the Jews moved into the promised land, because the Levites did not gain a share of the land (they got tithes from the Holy Land instead, from crops and flocks).

    I’m not saying to give less.  I’m saying to devote all money and talents to God.  As for how much to give to the local church, people should pray about it.  The poor should not tithe as a way to get rich or prosperous-- that’s false and dangerous teaching. Teaching a Christian version of Old Testament tithing is too hard on the poor, but for most people, too easy on the rich, which most of us are.

    My position is that “stewardship” is superior to tithing, and that teaching tithing is wrong and counter-productive and confuses/destroys the true definition of stewardship.


  • Posted by John Burton

    The reality that tithing is so low in this nation is unacceptable.  Pastors need to be held accountable for not declaring the hard truths… including this one.  The fact that it would even be considered a ‘hard truth’ is mind boggling.  It’s one of the most elementary Christian disciplines, yet people are leading small groups, ministries and other teams without even demonstrating this most basic of behaviors. 

    We simply need a radical reformation.  An unapologetic call for every believer to pray with passion double digit hours a week, to be at church every time the doors are open, to tithe and give extravagantly, to serve with love and zeal, fast regularly, etc. 

    People who don’t love to pray, give, serve and embrace the Word of God really need to take some time and question their position in Christ.  Why don’t they love to be with God intimately in prayer?  Why don’t they trust God with their finances?  Why do they resist?  These are serious issues that pastors need to address.

    We’re so afraid of losing people due to offense.  I once heard a church planter say that he refused to teach on tithing for the first three years of his church’s life!  What in the world is going on?  If the people aren’t used to giving, and used to hearing the pastor continually emphasize the importance of extravagant giving, how will they respond when God calls them to give $10,000?  How will people move to 20% giving and more?  Part of Kingdom advance includes a wild financial flow… into and through all of our hands.  It’s critical we teach this or we won’t have the funds to do what we’re called to do.

  • Hi John Burton-

    The Apostle Paul wrote:

    Romans 10:2
    For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge.

    Tithing should not be promoted, because it is not just unbiblical, but it is contrary to true stewardship teaching (true stewardship is devoting everything to God, not just 10%).  Tithing (10%) is not even useful to teach as a starting point for Christians, as it brings in elements of keeping the law, leading to legalism.  It would be helpful to teach the idea of tithing to show how it was done in the Old Testamant, as an (inferior/primitive) example of giving, but it’s wrong to bring it into the New Testament church.  Just my opinion.


  • Posted by John Burton

    I tend to agree with you.  In the OT, people gave much more than 10%.  To be outdone in giving by those under the law should never be.  I once heard someone say that if we are outdone by them, it’s a ‘disgrace to grace’.  Grace gives us the supernatural power to do the ‘impossible’.  It should not only be taught, but expected that every person gives and gives and gives.  I don’t buy into shying away from talking about money because people are tired of the televangelist approach.  If you look at it, the most basic of biblical mandates, if enforced by church leaders, will bring great offense.  Do we tone it down?  If we call everybody to pray an hour a day or to give a few hundred dollars above and beyond the norm, or study the Word every day, etc., it causes discomfort.  Welcome to the life of a beliver.  So, yes, we must expect our churches to be 100% churches- 100% attending, 100% praying, 100% giving, 100% serving in a ministry, etc.

  • Posted by John Burton

    Oops… let me qualify- I do believe tithing is biblical, but the heart of your point I do agree with.  Maybe a new thesis needs to be nailed to a wall… ‘minimum expectations for a Christian’?

  • John Burton said:
    “Maybe a new thesis needs to be nailed to a wall… ‘minimum expectations for a Christian’? ”

    No way.  You will find people then living to the minimum.  For example, if you preach that a Christian should give at least 10%, then a follower can feel smug by giving 20% or 30%, or even as RW impresses people, giving 90%.  (I threw that in there for you, Todd wink

    These people will never know what it’s like to devote and give their entire life to God.

    Luke 9:23
    “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and come follow me.”

    It’s like saying what the minimum is to be saved.  It’s not about minimums.  Where’s the heart in that?  The “hard message” is that we need to die to self, and live for Christ (Gal. 2:20, Romans 7:6).


  • Posted by John Burton

    What we don’t realize is that the minimum, really, is WAY extreme.  If we people had the understanding that the average biblical life is light years above the bar that we have set for ourselves, it would revolutionize the definition of New Testament experience.

    The point is this:  There should be a healthy system within our churches to ensure people are coached to the biblical norm.  At our place, I talk about barometers a lot.  For example, if we aren’t craving to be on our face in prayer, it’s a barometer of our intimacy with God.  There’s a problem.  If we aren’t giving at least 10% with the desire to give much more, there’s a problem.  The life of a believer is very much marked by significant works… God will judge us based on works, and we need to communicate this to the church.

  • At, they have a new video today about the prosperity gospel.  It’s called “Preachers: Christians should be prosperous.” They talk about tithing to be blessed.

    They interview prosperity teacher Creflo Dollar, who has a church of 29,000 members.  Evander Holyfield is one of them.  They also mention that Joel Osteen, who they say has America’s largest church, is also a prosperity teacher.

    What does this say about the state of Amerca’s churches?  I know, Peter Hamm, you discount these guys as nuts, but I think you might be surprised at how many in your church listen to them on TV and believe them, especially since the prosperity teachers aren’t usually opposed, by name, in the local churches.  The cancer is spreading,,, from America to throughout the world.

    Much of the root of it comes from false teaching about tithing-- as a give-to-get scheme, based on a faulty interpretation of Malachi.


  • Posted by John Burton

    A basic biblical mandate is for us to ‘be blessed to be a blessing’.  There are some very simple realities- God loves to bless his people, it takes a lot of money to run ministry, God chooses to facilitate that money through people, etc.
    The principle of sowing and reaping is biblical.  Of course, we need to have a good heart in the matter, but to eliminate financial principles from our lives is a mistake.  Is there a reason to resist financial gain?  Is there something to be gained in poverty?
    God has anointed specific people as ‘kings’… people with great governmental authority in a region.  These people carry a great responsibility to ensure thousands or millions of dollars are funneled into ministries.  It’s a critical need, and people like Kenneth Copeland and others meet an important need in the church- how to break the spirit of poverty and to be blessed to be a blessing.

  • “Tithing is a minimum expectation.” Now--Everybody repeat it as many times as you can until you believe it.  In fact the Southern Baptist Position Paper requires its paid employees to teach exactly that!

    Ignore 1 Timothy 5:8. Who cares whether the children have any food or heat or electricity or water.  Who cares whether the medical bills get paid! Give it to the church first.  HYPOCRITES ALL OF YOU!!! Tithes are not “firstfruits” in God’s Word.

    Do a quick word study of “money” in Genesis and you will discover tht money was already essential for everyday life.  Then why are there 15 Bible verses describing the tithe as food and not money?  Why? Why? Simply because tithing was NOT a “minimum expectation” except for farmers and herdsmen! 

    Guess waht.  The poor were not required to tithe. Guess what: Jesus did not tithe! Horrors!  But those who have more to give should give much more than 10%. Live by 2 Cor 8:12-14 instead of the Old Covenant.

  • Posted by

    John Burton writes

    “For example, if we aren’t craving to be on our face in prayer, it’s a barometer of our intimacy with God.  There’s a problem.  If we aren’t giving at least 10% with the desire to give much more, there’s a problem.  The life of a believer is very much marked by significant works… God will judge us based on works, and we need to communicate this to the church. “

    John, please tell me you don’t preach like this to the unchurched. I would hate to think that someone comes away from a message or a church so discouraged by how far short of the mark they are that they just give up. I’ve seen it too many times. The simple fact of the matter is that for manyh “intimacy with God” is something that is GROWING, not something that is accomplished. And that the person whose life is not “marked by significant works” is eventually going to experience that… but I don’t want them to be discouraged and give up.

    We like to say here that a healthy church is made up of one-third mature committed Christ-followers, one-third “newbies” who are learning how to become the mature comitted Christ-followers, and one third unbelievers who are still sorting it out. I’m afraid the way you are teaching you will frighten away two of those groups. I want them to stay around and eventually grow into real committed followers of Jesus.

    Russell, I hope you weren’t calling US hypocrites (in all caps)… we try not to relate that way here at MMI.

    PS… Just got back from a Third Day/David Crowder/Hyperstatic Union show. 3rd day was good, HSUnion was good, David Crowder was SUBLIME! What a great evening of worship!

  • Posted by John Burton

    Messages to the unchurched can certainly be slightly different, though I believe the messages to the unchurched will become more cutting and unapologetic.  Peter’s sermon in Acts 2 was quite in your face.  However, I propose that we must get back to preaching and teaching the believers in significant ways so we will have something to truly present to the unsaved.  If we as leaders don’t let believers know that to live for Christ requires a messy death, and a cross on our backs, we’ll never break out of the rut the church in this nation is currently in.  I think pastors (in general, not pointing fingers) don’t preach the hard message often becaue they don’t live it.  How many pastors pray 2-3 hours a day?  How many pastors tithe (I think we’d be shocked), how many churches give at least 10% of everything that comes in to other ministries?  I’m simply saying it’s time for the prophetic and declarative word of God to resound again.  The unsaved aren’t looking for a nice, relevant word… they want a supernatural, mind blowing, earth shaking eruption of the fire of God to consume them.  Then they will believe… then they will spend their first day as a believer on their face in the prayer room and it will never end.  If we expect this of the newly saved, the rest of this nation’s believers have a lot of catching up to do.

  • Posted by Leonard

    John Burton when you use Peters message in acts 2 as an example I think it misses something.  Here is why.  We live in a different society that Peter preached to.  He preached his message to a Jewish culture that had probably either seen Christ crucified, heard of it first hand from someone who did.  In his audience was possibly some of the people who shouted “hosanna,” then “crucify him” a week later and 50 days after that, “what must we do to be saved.” Our culture does not know God in any way shape or form like this.  The 21st century person does not believe the bible, does not know who Jesus is, does not have any or at best has very little familiarity with faith.  To be prophetic to this culture would IMO be more harmful than good.  Prophets by and large were for God’s people, calling them to God’s things because of God’s love.  Rarely were they calling pagans to repent although Jonah is an exception. John 3:17 has some meaning for me on this subject of the prophetic voice.

  • Posted by John Burton

    First of all, a prophetic voice is simply a voice with the words of God in it.  We speak what God wants said.  That, in my opinion, is critical if we hae any hopes of penetrating such a complex and resistant culture.  God’s prophetic must usually flys in the face of relevancy… it offends, shakes and challenges.
    Second, do our evangelism strategies appropriately communicate to people exactly what will be required of them if they get saved?  The rich young ruler wanted desperately to follow Jesus- and was rejected.  He was informed of the cost.
    Simply trying to get someone like that to repeat a sinner’s prayer can have devastating results.  Do they know that to live for Jesus will cost everything?  If they know this I believe the numbers of legitimate salvations will increase significantly.
    The fact that ‘mature’ believers are shocked when presented with the reality that a deep life of continual lengthy prayer every day should be a part of their lives causes great concern.  They should have know this by now!  Who didn’t tell them?  “Mature’ believers that shrink back at the message of extreme living were mishandled by evangelists and pastors very possibly.  I knew an evangelist that got irritated when I told him he must be in the prayer room several hours a week.  If the evangelists don’t want to be with God, just what are they imparting to the unsaved?  The newly saved person’s first step should be into the furnace of prayer… the place where God burns hot.  If an evangelist doesn’t know how to be with God in this way, he better figure it out.  The dying generation is looking for an encounter.

  • Posted by

    John, I appreciate your fire and passion, but I wonder at some of your conclusions. “How many pastors pray 2-3 hours a day?” So, the guy who prays 1 and a half is missing the boat? I think prayer is CRUCIALLY important, but your remark comes across, in context, as a bit “legalistic"… I know some GREAT men of God that don’t spend that kind of time in prayer on a daily basis, although I’ll admit I know NO great men and women of God who don’t spend SOME time…

    Also, “God’s prophetic must usually flys in the face of relevancy”. I disagree… God’s word is ULTIMATELY relevant. This is why Paul changed the way he communicated it based on what town and culture he was in on a particular day, and that’s why we do, too.

    “The rich young ruler wanted desperately to follow Jesus- and was rejected.” No I don’t think he was rejected. I think he did the rejecting.

    “he fact that ‘mature’ believers are shocked when presented with the reality that a deep life of continual lengthy prayer every day should be a part of their lives causes great concern.” Again, I appreciate your focus on prayer and its importance. But asking a new believer in this media-saturated society to be engaged in hours of prayer daily is setting them up for discouragement and despair. Perhaps they should start with a good solid focused 15 minutes… then move on up to a half hour or so… Setting the bar so high on the “correct” way to “do” life as a follower of Christ can be very dangerous in my experience.

    One of your comments, though, really got me.  “how many churches give at least 10% of everything that comes in to other ministries?” If one admits to the biblical-ness of the “tithe” (and not all here do), even then, that is talking about individuals tithing, not organizations such as the church. If a church is not giving 10% of its “income” into other ministries, I just don’t see that they are being disobedient… Especially if the best use of their resources is in THEIR house, THEIR community…

  • Posted by John Burton

    This is my concern… really, prayer is so overwhelmingly experiential that when people start their journey with God from that platform, there is no convincing anybody whether to go there or not.  I"ve met many new believers that were overpowered by the presence of God that they outpaced many mature believers.  Prayer is deeply interactive… dreams, visions, etc.  I agree to simply sit down and talk into the air with a laundry list of needs is terribly boring and ineffective.  But, to hear God’s voice and interact with him is what keeps people burning hot day after day.

    I think it was Leonard Ravinhill who said, “Pastors who don’t pray two hours a day aren’t worth a dime a dozen.”

    Without the supernatural power that results from such a deep prayer life we won’t accomplish our missions.  BUT- here’s the terrifying part.  If a pastor or any believer for that matter makes an argument against lengthy prayer… something is really wrong.  Yikes!  To ever say we don’t want to enjoy God on our face in the prayer room reveals at least a misunderstanding of the amazing and tangible experience of being in his presence.

  • Posted by Leonard

    Can a person experience the presence and power of God apart from this 2 hours of on your face before God?  Does the bible teach us that we need to spend two hours on our face before God to be worth a dime a dozen?  I am not arguing against a deep prayer life, I think I am arguing your definition of a deep prayer life.  It feels like you are defining something in a way scripture doesn’t but putting the authority of God behind your definition.

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