The New Tither Money Back Guarantee

Orginally published on Tuesday, November 07, 2006 at 6:21 AM
by Todd Rhoades

We've discussed the 'returning of tithes' a couple times here at MMI; but LifeChurch.tv is taking a little different spin on the idea. This is the first time I've seen this type of thing where the deal is spelled out beforehand. Take a look at the agreement... you must be a new tither; it must be documented; etc. What do you think? Could/would you try this in your church?


1.  I understand that this form must be completed and received by the LifeChurch.tv Finance Team prior to the beginning of the Three-Month Tithe Challenge Period.

2.  I understand that my household qualifies for participation because we have not been tithing for the last six months. 

3.  I understand that if paid at a physical LifeChurch.tv Campus, my tithe must be paid by check, or by completed offering envelope, so that my tithe can be properly credited. 

4.  I understand that I cannot seek a refund prior to the end of the Three-Month Tithing Challenge Period, and that I cannot seek a refund for any contributions made prior to the beginning of the Three-Month Tithing Challenge Period. 

5.  I understand that any request for refund must be received by the Finance Team within 30 days of the end of the Three-Month Tithing Challenge Period. 

6.  I understand that I must log in prior to paying my tithe online, so that my tithe can be properly credited.

7.  I would like to test God’s faithfulness by accepting the Three-Month Tithe Challenge. I agree that for the three-month period I state below, my household will contribute to God, through LifeChurch.tv, a tithe equal to 10% of our income. At the end of the three-month period, if I am not convinced of God’s faithfulness to bless my life as a result of my obedience to His Word, then I will be entitled to request a refund of the full amount of contributions made during that 90-day period.

Here are a couple of other posts we’ve done in the past that are similar…

Should a Church Return a Tithe?

The Tithing Money Back Guarantee

So… what do you think on this one?


This post has been viewed 2051 times so far.

  There are 40 Comments:

  • Posted by

    I think these kinds of things are questionable myself. The blessings that God gives me in the New Covenant have nothing to do with the tithes. Although I think that the tithe is a great starting point for giving and remains a biblical standard for us to follow, I think too much Old Testament emphasis on it is given. The tithe today is TOTALLY different from the tithe in ancient Israel. (Yes, I agree… a little… with what Bernie is no doubt about to say on this one… in some limited sense… but… I still tithe and recommend it...)

  • Posted by Daniel

    Yeah… I’m not sure this one sits well with me.  God is not one to be tested.  If you acknowledge God’s rule, then you tithe as a symbol of that acknowledgment.  It’s not an “ok God, I’ll maybe give you money, but only if you back it up from your end.” It’s about obedience, not whether or not tithing ‘works’ for you.  I think this is catering waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyy too much to our stupid American individualist mindset. 
    My two cents.

  • Posted by

    If there’s a tornado watch going on in the area, I’d be real nervous about sitting next to the guy who asks for the refund.

    On a more serious note, don’t you think that if God is not proving himself faithful they’ll give up before the 3 months? Will God prove faithful if all we’re looking for is Him to give us something back? I would be real uncomfortable with this.  In fact, not sure I want to even be NEAR that church at the next tornado watch.

  • Posted by

    Biship Dave wrote: In fact, not sure I want to even be NEAR that church at the next tornado watch.

    What are you saying?  You think this is a bad idea since most of the campuses are in Oklahoma?

  • Posted by Leonard

    The only place inth Bible God said to test him was in this area.  Test me in this and see.  Now he did not offer a money back guarantee but he did say test him in this area.  Unless of course you don’t believe in tithing.

  • What kind of scoundral will ask for a refund? If they have a good heart, and really believe the false tithe message these preachers are putting forth, they are more likely to leave quietly and feel rejected by God.  They’ll think there is some kind of sin in their life that God is judging them for.  They have then been rejected by both God and the church.  That’s what legalism does.

    What ever happened to faith? I think the biggest reason for teaching the Old Testament tithe is because Preachers see this as a great revenue source.  If they had faith in God, and faith in people to provide (like the missionaries all over the world have to do), then they wouldn’t teach this false doctrine of “Christian tithing.” However, church leaders, unlike missionaries, haven’t yet figured out the differences between wants and needs.  God provides for needs, generally speaking, but not always the wants.  It’s so easy to finance the ‘wants’ by resorting to the false doctrine of ‘Christian tithing’.

    I’m not opposed to generousity.  I’m for it.  I’m for a higher standard called stewardship, illustrated by the parable of the talents.  Preachers should preach that we are to devote all (100%) our time, treasure, and talents to the Lord, not just 10% of our income.

    When preachers focus on tithing like this, they are missing the holistic approach.

    Here’s a good book on the subject:


  • Posted by

    Why do Chrisitian churches continue to put themselves into the Jewish ceremonial/civil law box? And why don’t we hear the same fervor around dietary laws, burnt offerings and circumcision? I think if churches focused on Christian giving (2 Cor 9:7), they might indeed see more in the church bank accounts than they do under this “money back guarantee” method.

  • Posted by


    We might agree. Although I think that the tithe is still a good biblical starting point for giving to the local church, I agree strongly with your aversion to this kind of teaching (although I like this author, Groeschel, very much to be honest… Chazown is a great book to recommend to people I think...). To put tithing into a legalistic Old-Testament box is just nuts! I like the way McManus put it when somebody asked him if his church was a “grace” or a “law” church. The question was clarified “Do people have to give 10%?” Erwin answered, “Oh, no… not at all, we’re a grace church… people can give 15%… 20%… as much as they want!” We misunderstand generosity and stewardship with teaching like this.

    And yes… I tithe… It’s a joy to do so… not an obligation… I do NOT expect blessings back, although God has blessed me so much that sometimes I can’t stand it!

    And although we don’t totally agree Bernie… know that you specifically have made me look at this issue in a more biblical light and that has changed my thinking somewhat, especially in how I present the idea of giving to the local church… Your insights have been VERY helpful to me in this regard… even if you are responsible for global warming…


    Thanks brother!

  • I think we’re straying from the point, although I agree that God’s standard is to give all that we have to him, rather than a mere 10%.

    As a program that has potential to influence people to try tithing for the first time, I think this is innovative, daring, and most importantly, I think it will work. Will God bless those families within the three months for them to consider the tithing “worth it”? I doubt it… (and that’s not the point anyway) but at least they have a chance to see that they can contribute without breaking the bank, and that they still have enough to get by. They also get to understand that tithing is an act of worship and faith, and they’ll have the opportunity to participate in that.

    I think Lifechurch is on a roll… between the internet campus, the mysecret.tv, and this, they’re really starting to raise the bar for churches in creativity. Whether that translates into people meeting Jesus and learning to follow him more closely remains to be seen. I think it will.

  • It’s true that most (the vast majority) of Americans are rich and can afford to easily give 10%.  However, there are those who can’t.  There are those who are truly poor.  In the Old Testament, the tithe provided for them.  They did not tithe; they received a portion of the tithe.  It’s a shame to rob the poor in the name of Christ.  The Christian tithe-teachers teach the opposite-- the poor should tithe to get blessed by God.  And don’t forget to eat your tithes in thanksgiving to God.

    Deut. 14
    22 Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year. 23 Eat the tithe of your grain, new wine and oil, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks in the presence of the LORD your God at the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name, so that you may learn to revere the LORD your God always. 24 But if that place is too distant and you have been blessed by the LORD your God and cannot carry your tithe (because the place where the LORD will choose to put his Name is so far away), 25 then exchange your tithe for silver, and take the silver with you and go to the place the LORD your God will choose. 26 Use the silver to buy whatever you like: cattle, sheep, wine or other fermented drink, or anything you wish. Then you and your household shall eat there in the presence of the LORD your God and rejoice. 27 And do not neglect the Levites living in your towns, for they have no allotment or inheritance of their own.
    28 At the end of every three years, bring all the tithes of that year’s produce and store it in your towns, 29 so that the Levites (who have no allotment or inheritance of their own) and the aliens, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied, and so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.

    Also, Jesus said when you give to not let your left hand know what your right is doing.  This money-back guarentee violates that on so many levels…

    Matthew 6:2-4 (New International Version)
    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.

    What’s the point in even saying we should start at 10%.  Why not teach true stewardship (100% dedication of time, treasure, talent) from the very start?


    PS: Thank’s Peter.

  • Posted by ianmcn

    Whatever your theology says about tithing, lifechurch is at least putting their money whether their mouth is! Too often pro-tithing preachers are accused of preaching it to make an easy and reliable buck, a pro-tithing church doing something like this should surely be commended?!

  • Posted by matt

    About two years ago, the church I work for was about to purchase it’s first building (mainly office, we still meet in a high school despite our explosive growth...roughly 3K in membership) and it was agreed upon that we did not want the church to ever go into serious debt.  An old TGI Friday’s headquarters became available, but we had to come up with the funds in under two weeks, plus or minus a few days.  It was not expensive by Dallas standards, but it was still a hefty chunk of change.

    So we presented this opportunity to our congregation and gave them all two envelopes.  One envelope was for any contribution they felt willing to make towards this special purchase.  The other envelope was for them to write a return address on and was given back to us.  The deal was this, if we did not receive enough funds within the allotted time to purchase the building, we would return every person’s donation envelope back to them using the second envelope.  And we meant it.

    Thankfully, God provided more than enough money (surplus returned of course).  So now we have a fantastic facility as well as no debt.  It also helped free up money in the bank so that our permanent worship facility now under construction is also being built debt free.

    We don’t really refer to a “tithe” per se at Watermark.  We don’t even pass a plate.  We have drop boxes as people exit.  God has always provided more than enough.  I pray we can continue to honor him with how we allocate our church’s generosity.

  • Posted by

    I think Bernie’s right.  This “promotion” of LifeChurch does violate the principle of giving secretly described in Matthew 6.  (Though I’m not sure how it’s any less secret than handing in a check to a church instead of cash for the tax deduction).  However, the latter portion of that verse does say that “Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, WILL REWARD YOU.” This seems pretty clear about the reward aspect of giving, but I still think it would be better for Christians to give privately and out of the generosity of their own heart without there being some gimmicky, limited-time offer to bait them.

  • If people really want to test the “give to get” tithing doctrine, just get to know people who are on the mission field working with people in abject poverty that is heart-breaking.  For example, in African villages where women work as prostitutes so they can feed themselves and family.  Missionaries go there and feel helpless.  They learn to associate with them in their poverty.  They learn to identify with Christ through suffering.  When these missionaries finally adjust to the new realities on the ground, they encounter “re-entry shock” when they come back to America for a visit. 

    Luke 9:23, Jesus says:
    If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself, pick up his cross, and come folllow me.

    That’s why I am so against prosperity teachers like TD Jakes, John Hagee, etc.  These people live in luxury (and condone it) when they know full well the hardship of their brothers and sisters in Christ in other parts of the world.  (I read TD Jakes’ book, and know that he knows of the situation in Africa, for one example.) It’s sick!  But they say you give your minimum 10% to God, and can enjoy the rest.  By their actions, they preach that once you give the minimum, there’s no such thing as “greed” because you did your duty.  However, if one understands “stewardship,” then greed is readily visible and seen for what it is.

    James 2:15-17 (New International Version)
    15Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

    Yes, Nora, Jesus promised a reward, but no where does it speak of a money situation-- being rewarded in dollars.  The tithe-teachers misrepresent this.  Whenever they say such things, look up the passage and read the context.  It never refers to tithing.  If you think I’m wrong, show me the N.T. passage.  I’m willing to learn.


  • Posted by

    Bernie, I think you misunderstood me.  I wasn’t referring to a monetary reward, and I don’t think, in rereading the article, that LifeChurch is either.  The covenant merely refers to a blessing of some sort.  However, I’m not entirely convinced that the blessing is going to come within a 90 day window of time either.  It may be a reward reserved for the “hereafter”.  And I agree with you about the prosperity teaching as well, Bernie.  I do not view it as Biblical either.  That said, the Holy Spirit could have a very special blessing in mind for the people who choose to participate in this covenant.  I think an attitude of expectancy in God’s people (especially newer believers, as this Covenant seems to imply). is always very pleasing to God, so I don’t want to second guess what he is going to do here.

  • Posted by

    I’d be in favor of a program that could get people giving more/10% so they can see that they CAN live without it, but I’m not sure about offering to refund the donation.  There’s just something about the refund thing that doesn’t sit well.  Like paying the old Popes for indulgences or pardons to have your sins forgiven.  If you’re not satisfied with the amount of blessings you receive from God you can get your money back.

    Not to sidetrack the discussion, but I would be interested in Bernie’s take on the Matthew 6 right hand/left hand, giving in secret thing. Or anyone else’s opinion.

    Are you supposed to keep what you give secret from the rest of the congregation?  Is it ok that the church knows what you’re giving if you hide it from the congregation?  Doesn’t passing the plate/basket violate this in every way?  If you take a deduction on your taxes isn’t that letting the government authorities know how much you gave?  Are you supposed to keep it secret from the IRS too?  If my wife and I give separately do we need to keep the amounts secret from each other?  :-#

  • Posted by

    Well, that didn’t work.  The gibberish at the end is supposed to be a smiley face with a zipper for a mouth.

  • Posted by

    I wonder where the arbitrary 3 months come from?

    I like the faith of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abendnego. They said, “But even if HE DOES NOT [caps mine]...we will NOT… worship the image of gold you have set up.”

    Think about it.

  • DanielR said:
    “Not to sidetrack the discussion, but I would be interested in Bernie’s take on the Matthew 6 right hand/left hand, giving in secret thing. Or anyone else’s opinion. “

    I think the big picture is to keep giving between you and God.  Don’t sweat the details.  However, tracking giving in order to see the monetary return is foreign to Biblical New Testament teaching, I think.

    There was a wise Rabbi (Maimonides) who created a whole philosophy of giving-- describing giving on different levels, from the most imature to the most mature.  This Rabbi is so esteemed in Judaism, that he has been called “the second Moses.” You can read about it here:

    Note that the highest form of charity would be “teaching a man how to fish rather than giving him a fish” kind of idea.  The lowest form is unwillingly giving a donation.  Then there’s the levels in between.

    His Jewsish ideas of charity are much more advanced than the simple tither’s theology.  However, I think Jesus’ stewardship teaching (parable of the talents) is the best.  Jesus doesn’t give a lot of details, though, and Maimonides does.

  • Posted by

    Hello all,

    This article caught my attention since our church is currently involved in a giving campaign to purchase land and build a building.  Something happened recently that did not sit well with me.  Recently commitment envelopes were passed out and the pastor brought his wife up to the stage.  They talked about the building and the potential the church has.  He encouraged us to give.  But here is the sticking point, he revealed his salary and the dollar amount that he and his wife planned to contribute for the next three years. He also revealed the total contribution of the staff.  He used 1 Chronicles 29 as the Biblical pattern.  His contribution turn out to be roughly 35% of his salary.  I discussed this with my wife and we feel he was being manipulative in this approach.  Can anyone shed any light on this?

  • Posted by


    I agree… unwise… manipulative? perhaps, but unwise nonetheless… imho. Any other opinions?

  • Posted by

    Tim, I, too would be uncomfortable with this.  At the very least, it violates the giving in secret principles described in Matthew 6.  Nora

  • Posted by Leonard

    I think there is potential for manipulation but I do not think that the intent is manipulative.  It is to go first.  Leaders who do not lead in this kind of stuff are asking people to do what they will not do.  Sort of hypocritical. 

    My take on Matthew 6 is not that we should make all of our giving top secret but that we should not give and toot our own horn.  The principle behind giving in secret has to do with the Pharisees who would literally blow a horn announcing their gift for the needy.  It was a show of self righteousness.  If a pastor stands in front of his congregation, tells his worship guy to hit it and unveils a total board like a telethon, well that might be included here.  But if a pastor says, I give and I feel as though God has asked me to give this much over the next three years.  I am not sure how I will do it but I will and I am asking you to sacrifice too… That does not fall under the preview of Matthew 6, not in context or meaning. 

    I told my church I was going to give an extra amount of money towards a buffer we needed as a church.  I had dozens of people thank me for going first and leading.

  • Posted by


    I agree with you about the leaders setting the example, but here is where I believe there is manipulation.  We were not told how much to give toward the campaign.  He stressed that and claimed I can’t tell you how much to give. Then he reveals his significant gift.  Would he have revealed the dollar amount and his salary if it wasn’t so significant?  For example if he felt led to give $1000 over three years as apposed to $30,000 would he have told us? Or was he trying to guide the congregation in a pattern to achieve the campaign goal?  I guess the bottom line is does 1 Chronicles 29 set the pattern for this type of giving?  I have really been struggling with it this week.  I want our church to build, but I would rather not get there being manipulative, deceptive in our approach.


  • Posted by

    Tim, I agree.  I’m not confortable with that at all.  A person or pastor living comfortably may be able to afford 35% while a person or pastor with 7 children to care for may not be able to afford 35%.  If he has a wife but no children and I have a wife but no children I should also give 35% right?  Whether I can afford it or not?  And if I have a wife and two children, should I drop that to 30% or maybe 25% (5% for each child)?  If he’s going to donate 35% this year, what’s he going to do with that 35% next year, since he can evidently afford to live without it?  This just sets all kinds of alarms off, manipulative, bad precedent, wrong message, violates scripture, etc.  When you start revealing and discussing amounts and percentages you open up a can of worms.  While we have a responsibility to support the church and the work the church does, we also have a responsibility to support our families and it’s up to each of us to decide what we can afford to give.

    my 2 cents

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